The breaking news that grabbed the headlines

Dec. 27—From local cases that created national attention to cold cases that found resolution, plenty of crime and breaking news stories made the headlines in 2023. Here are the top five:


When Indiana State Police Supt. Doug Carter stood in front of a packed room last year and announced that authorities had made an arrest in the February 2017 deaths of Delphi teenagers Abby Williams and Libby German, the news made national headlines.

And so has what’s transpired since in the case against Richard Allen, who is currently facing two counts of murder and is awaiting a jury trial in October 2024.

When Allen was first arrested in late 2022 for his alleged connection to the girls’ deaths, Logansport attorneys Bradley Rozzi and Andrew Baldwin became key leaders of his defense team.

And then suddenly in October, they weren’t.

Instead, Rozzi and Baldwin were officially disqualified from representing Allen due to what Special Judge Fran Gull called “gross negligence,” after an associate of Baldwin’s reportedly leaked evidence — mostly crime scene photos — to a media outlet.

That man, 41-year-old Westfield resident Mitchell Westerman, reportedly confessed to authorities that he photographed the evidence, but he told investigators that Baldwin had nothing to do with it, according to court documents.

Westerman is currently facing a misdemeanor charge of conversion, and he is due back in court next month.

As for Baldwin and Rozzi, Gull told the pair in open court during an October 2023 pretrial conference that she didn’t feel comfortable allowing them to continue representing Allen, adding that she had “great concerns.”

Gull then appointed Fort Wayne-based contract appointed public defenders, Robert Scremin and William S. Lebrato, to represent Allen for the duration of the court proceedings.

The move was considered a “major shakeup” in the case, per Tribune archives, and it prompted Rozzi and Baldwin to take their plea of remaining on the case to the Indiana Supreme Court.

That case is currently ongoing.

It’s been a year since Allen was arrested for the deaths of German and Williams, who went missing on Feb. 13, 2017, near the Monon High Bridge in Carroll County.

The next day, their bodies were found along Deer Creek.

During a police interview, Allen admitted to being on the bridge the day the girls went missing, though he stated he never saw the girls.


Clad in an orange jumpsuit while sitting next to his attorneys, Miami County resident Kegan Kline appeared mostly expressionless during his sentencing hearing last July inside Miami Superior Court 1.

And by the end of that eight-hour hearing, Kline — who pleaded guilty to 25 counts related to child pornography and exploitation earlier this year — learned he would spend the next 43 years in the Indiana Department of Correction.

Kline was initially arrested in August 2020 after police launched an investigation that reportedly revealed he was using social media platforms, namely Snapchat, Instagram and Kik Messenger, to speak with underage females, according to court records.

Kline reportedly conversed with those females via a fake social media profile known as “anthony_shots” and one also known as “Emily Ann,” court records noted.

During an interview with police, Kline reportedly confessed he did create the profiles, titled “Emily Ann” and “Anthony Shots,” adding he would often contact girls he knew and some he did not.

Along with conversing with the juvenile females, Kline told police he was also sent around “100 sexual pictures” from girls ranging in age from 15 to 17 years of age, a probable cause affidavit stated.

Along with serving his 43-year sentence, Kline will have to register as a sex offender for life.

His case is currently under appeal.


On Feb. 7, 2013, Kokomo resident Destiny Pittman was shot and killed inside her residence in the 800 block of James Drive.

Investigators at the time believed it to be a home invasion.

But for 10 years, the case grew cold, until authorities arrested two brothers earlier this year they believed to be associated with her death.

Joey McCartney and Jesse McCartney both faced several charges, including murder and burglary, and they were both scheduled for jury trial in 2023.

Jesse McCartney was first up.

The August 2023 trial saw several witnesses take to the stand, including a woman who said she was inside the vehicle with Jesse outside Pittman’s house the night Pittman was killed.

But in the end, it took a jury less than 90 minutes to acquit Jesse of Pittman’s death.

Jeffrey Elftman, Jesse’s attorney, spoke briefly to the Tribune after the verdict was rendered, noting Pittman’s death was a tragedy.

“I hope they find the real killer,” Elftman said.

The Tribune also spoke with Howard County Deputy Prosecutor Thomas White Jr., who stated that the prosecution would have to “regroup” for Joey’s trial, which was scheduled to begin in December.

However, that trial never came, as the Howard County Prosecutor’s Office filed for dismissal in the case without prejudice.

According to the website, dismissal without prejudice means the Howard County Prosecutor’s Office can still refile charges against Joey McCartney at a later date.

However, it’s unclear at this time whether that will happen or if the office will now move forward to build a case around other individuals they believe could have been involved.

Anyone with additional information regarding Pittman’s case or any other unsolved investigation is asked to contact the KPD Hotline at 765-456-7017. You can also report tips anonymously to the “Kokomo PD” mobile app or text them to “TIPKPD” at 847411.


In July, an 11-month-old boy was reported missing from an apartment in the 300 block of West Walnut Street.

A few days later, the boy was located safely in Ohio in the care of his non-custodial mother and grandmother, who were both taken into custody in connection with the child’s disappearance.

Per a probable cause affidavit filed in the case, the boy was recently removed from the care of his mother — 32-year-old April Spence — and placed in the care of his father, though Spence was still reportedly allowed supervised visitation.

Spence reportedly had visitation on July 12, according to court documents, though she reportedly called to cancel it.

Then on that morning, as highlighted in the court documents, Small’s father reportedly left the child in the care of a relative while he went to work.

Around 10 a.m., according to the relative’s testimony to police, she went to the bathroom, came back out and the child was reportedly gone.

The car seat and diaper bag were also missing, per court records, leading the relative to believe Spence had allegedly taken the boy.

Further investigation — including surveillance footage — led police to also believe that a black 2013 Ford Escape, driven by 61-year-old Robin Spence, April’s mother, was seen around the area at the time the alleged abduction occurred, the probable cause affidavit stated.

At that point, authorities issued an Amber Alert.

Investigators were able to reportedly track Amber Spence’s cellphone to Mercer County, Ohio, which in turn led them to the 11-month-old boy.

Both Spences are currently facing charges of burglary and other charges for their alleged connection to the case, according to court documents.

Robin Spence is due back in court next month, while April Spence is reportedly still in Ohio awaiting extradition.


On Nov. 15, 2006, officers responded to a residence in the 1400 block of South Armstrong Street in reference to a person who had been shot, according to Tribune archives.

When authorities arrived on scene, they located the body of 20-year-old Chad Rouse, and authorities stated at the time that it appeared he had been shot in the back.

During their investigation, officers also spoke with a female witness at the scene who reportedly stated she saw an unidentified male enter the residence with a handgun, per KPD’s media release and Tribune archives, and an argument between Rouse and the male reportedly ensued.

For 17 years, though investigators never gave up hope of making an arrest in the case, the case itself grew cold.

And then earlier this year, investigators arrested two individuals they believed to be responsible for Rouse’s death.

Kevin L. Maddox, 49, is now facing formal charges of murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, a Class A felony, and a Class B felony charge of conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, per court documents.

Police also say 36-year-old Amber Brigham is facing preliminary charges of conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, a Class A felony, and aiding, inducing or causing robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, a Class B felony.

The pair were taken into custody without incident in a joint effort by the FBI Indianapolis Violent Crimes Task Force, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.

They are both due back in court in February.

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