LaPorte woman sentenced for false carjacking report

Published 12:02 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2024

NILES — A LaPorte woman who falsely accused a man of stealing a car in Galien was sentenced to credit for time served. She was one of several area residents sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.

Hanna Marie Johnson, 28, of LaPorte, pleaded guilty to making a false report of a felony and was sentenced to credit for two days served, 40 hours of community service and $638 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Feb. 23, 2023 in Galien Township when she accused a man of stealing a car.

“You put him in a situation where he could have been arrested and sent the police on a wild goose chase,” Berrien County Trial Judge Jennifer Smith said. “The recommendation was for a jail sentence but I think you have realized that you didn’t make a wise choice.”

Randy Wayne Shafer, 66, of Elkhart, pleaded guilty to second offense drunk driving and was sentenced to 18 months probation, 30 days in jail with credit for two days served, 120 days tether, 240 days community service and $1,565 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Aug. 18, 2023 in Niles Township. He has two previous drunk driving convictions.

Michael Godfrey Thackston, 37, of Galien, pleaded attempted fleeing police and operating without insurance and was sentenced to credit for two days served, 60 days tether and $935 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Aug. 26, 2023 in Niles Township. Police clocked him going over 100 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone on his motorcycle. Thackston fled the scene because he did not have insurance for his motorcycle.

Judge Smith said she took into account that Thackston might lose his job in giving him credit for time served.

A former area resident who now lives in Wisconsin was given credit for time served for a home invasion that occurred in 2021.

Levester Jones, 69, of Wisconsin, pleaded no contest to third degree home invasion and was given credit for five days already served and $658 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred July 16, 2021 in Niles when he went into the wrong apartment when he was drunk. He has since suffered a stroke and is confined to a wheelchair.