Niles man in possession of stolen motorcycle sentenced to jail, probation

Published 7:33 pm Monday, December 19, 2022

NILES – A Niles man found to be in possession of a stolen motorcycle was sentenced to jail and probation Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.

William Matthew Hombaker, 41, of Niles, pleaded guilty to receiving, concealing or possession of a stolen motor vehicle and was sentenced to three years probation, 90 days in jail with credit for three days served, $658 in fines and costs and $10,227.45 in restitution.

The incident occurred Sept. 2 in Niles.

The victim spoke before sentencing and said he had to find the stolen motorcycle himself.

“It was an unusual motorcycle and he totaled it,” he said. “He feels entitled to take what doesn’t belong to him.”

While the victim asked the judge to sentence Hombaker to prison, Berrien County Trial Judge Sterling Schrock said doing so wouldn’t help to make the victim whole by getting his restitution paid.

Hombaker previously was sentenced in Indiana for driving while intoxicated and killing another person. Questions were raised Monday whether he still has any of that sentence to serve.

For his part, Hombaker said he didn’t know the motorcycle was stolen when he obtained and he also didn’t think he had any more of his Indiana sentence to serve.

“You didn’t know you were supposed to be in prison and you didn’t know it was a stolen motorcycle,” Schrock said. “You knew it was stolen and you didn’t tell police … You owe over $10,000 for your irresponsible behavior. You got the motorcycle and didn’t do anything other than trash it.”

A Buchanan man was sentenced to jail and probation for assaultive crimes.

George Cox, Jr., 41, of Buchanan, pleaded guilty to attempted assault with a dangerous weapon and was sentenced to two years probation, 120 days in jail with credit for 68 days served and $198 in fines and costs. He can serve the remaining jail time in the Tri-Cap program and is also eligible for the Swift & Sure program when an opening is available.

The incident occurred Oct. 12 in Buchanan.

Assistant Prosecutor Jerry Vigansky said Cox’s record with six prior felonies speaks for itself. Defense attorney Scott Sanford acknowledged that his client’s record was “not so great” but said that his current problems stem from alcohol abuse.

In another assault case, a Galien man was sentenced to jail and probation.

Shawn Michael Chase, 38, of Galien, pleaded guilty to interfering with electronic communications and domestic violence. He was sentenced to three years probation, credit for four days served and $958 in fines and costs on the electronic communications interference charge and 30 days in jail with credit for four days served for domestic violence.

The incident occurred Oct. 3 in Galien Township.

The victim spoke before the sentencing and said it wasn’t the first incident of violence between them, but that it was the worst. In her victim impact statement, she had indicated that he had damaged the cartilages in her throat when he choked her.

Chase said he was deeply sorry for his actions and was seeking help to change his behavior.

Judge Schrock told Chase that he needs to change his behavior and get help or his own children will grow up modeling his behavior and assaulting others.

“Minimizing your behavior to protect your parental rights will only perpetuate it,” he said. “Until you deal with it, you won’t get beyond it.”

David Frohwerk, 45, of South Bend, pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a motor vehicle and was sentenced to two years probation, 120 days in jail with credit for 69 days served, completion of the Twin County Probation Program and $258 in fines and costs. He can serve the rest of his jail sentence at Twin County.

The incident occurred Sept. 4, 2021 in Niles Township. He took the car of an acquaintance without her permission.

Robert Robbie Reyna, 49, of Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to interfering with electronic communications and was sentenced to two years probation, credit for two days served and $598 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Aug. 23 in Niles. Reyna had contact with family members even though there was a personal protection order against him.

Reyna has nine previous felony convictions including several for domestic violence and has been sentenced to prison twice. “You better open your eyes and recognize your issues,” the judge said.

Damon Lamont Smith, Jr., 24, of Mishawaka, Indiana, pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon and attempted resisting and obstructing police and was sentenced to 30 months probation, credit for 23 days served and $258 in fines and costs for the weapon charge and credit for 23 days served for the attempted resisting charge.

The incident occurred Sept. 30 in Niles Township. Police stopped his car and found him in possession of ammunition, a 50-round drum and a firearm.

“You put yourself in the situation where you could be in custody for the next five years,” Schrock said. “… I’m willing to take a chance and see if you can change, but if you don’t meet the requirements of the program it is a no brainer that you will go to prison.”