Dowagiac man gets probation for meth possession, vehicle theft, assault

Published 5:00 am Saturday, August 26, 2023

CASSOPOLIS — A Dowagiac man was sentenced to probation in connection with charges from five separate incidents dating back to 2021.


David Helmke, 39, of Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of meth, possession of ammunition by a felon, possession of meth with intent to deliver, possession of analogues, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.

He was sentenced to four years probation, credit for 18 days served and over $5,000 in fines and costs.

The incidents occurred in 2021 and 2022 and involved stealing and damaging a truck, strangling a former girlfriend, attempting to hit another person with a pipe, possessing meth and ammunition at locations in the Dowagiac area.

Funk noted that Helmke pleaded to several dangerous felonies including drug offenses and noted that his sentencing guidelines called for prison. Defense attorney Greg Feldman said his client has changed over the last year after he was shot himself in a separate incident. He said Helmke is now sober and has a job.

“You have one year of no criminal activity versus 15 years of non stop criminal activity,” Judge Herman said. “Now you want me to believe you’re a changed man. I’ve seen a lot of fox hole converts. I will go along with the plea agreement, but you need to appreciate that if you so much as jay walk in the next four years, you won’t get the minimum six to 10 years, you will get 20 years.”

In other sentencings:

  • Willie Brown, 67, of South Bend, pleaded guilty to third offense drunk driving and was sentenced to probation, one day served and $2,393 in fines, costs and restitution. The charge can be reduced if he is successful on probation. The incident occurred Feb. 28, 2021 in Howard Township.
  • Christina Perry, 51, of Decatur, pleaded guilty to possession of meth and was sentenced to two years probation, credit for 23 days served and $2,268 in fines and costs. The incident occurred in July, 2022 in Dowagiac.
  • Sarah Segovia, 34, of Niles, pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and was sentenced to 18 months probation, $1,648 in fines and costs and credit for two days served. She was also sentenced to driving with a high blood alcohol content and was sentenced to credit for two days served and $550. The incident occurred March 19 in Howard Township. Her blood alcohol level was over three times the legal limit.
  • Kevin Williamson, 51, of Union, pleaded guilty to possession of meth and was sentenced to 18 months of probation, credit for one day served and $2,088 in fines and costs. The incident occurred Feb. 28 in Milton Township.