CIRCUIT COURT: Elkhart man accused of wife's murder appears in court
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CIRCUIT COURT: Elkhart man accused of wife's murder appears in court

Jun 26, 2023


Elkhart County Courthouse

GOSHEN — Police have arrested Matthew Thompson, 36, for the death of his wife 27-year-old Ciarra Thompson on Aug. 18.

Police were called to 1426 Cone St., Elkhart, at 7:16 p.m. Aug. 19, for a report that Thompson’s wife was unconscious, not breathing, and bloodied. According to court documents, Thompson reported that he’d found Ciarra on the kitchen floor and she would not wake up.

Ciarra was already deceased when officers arrived on scene, and Elkhart County Homicide Unit was called in. In the charging affidavit, officers stated they found blood throughout the living room and kitchen of the home, with a large amount saturating the living room couch, and noted that some of it had been cleaned up. Detectives also noted that Ciarra had open wounds on her head and neck.

Speaking to detectives, Thompson admitted that he’d cleaned up some of the blood, but initially denied causing harm to Ciarra, the affidavit reads. He did eventually admit, according to investigators, that on Friday, Aug. 18, he’d punched Ciarra numerous times on her head and shook her. After his last punch, the affidavit reads, Ciarra struck her head on the kitchen counter before falling down on the kitchen floor. Thompson told police that Ciarra had been in the same place she’d fallen when he called police.

Thompson was arrested by Elkhart City Police and booked into the Elkhart County Jail Aug. 20. He had an initial hearing on Thursday and a public defender was appointed. The trial is currently set for May 6, 2024.

A defendant in a murder trial was denied a continuance of jury trial during Thursday’s Circuit Court proceedings.

Alvin Sanders III, 21, and Da’Quavion Wiley, 18 are scheduled for a joint jury trial on Sept. 18, but Sander’s public defender Jeffrey Majerik asked for a continuance expressing to the court that Sanders’ family has expressed intent to hire Peter Britton to defend him in the upcoming trial.

Sanders and Wiley are believed by Elkhart police to be responsible for the May 1, 2021, shooting of a 15-year-old boy, who was found outside a McKinley Avenue home, shot in the neck.

In March, attorneys agreed to continue from Wiley’s April 3 trial, to Sander’s scheduled for Sept. 18, and approved a joinder request for the men’s trials, although defense attorneys did not agree, and told the court that based on evidence, Sanders would be more culpable than Wiley and that being in the same courtroom would be detrimental to Wiley’s case.

Sanders’ defense asked for the continuance last week as well, at that time hoping to hire a new attorney or go to trial pro se. Since then, Sanders has agreed not to attempt to go to trial pro se, but his family is raising funds to hire the South Bend-based defense attorney.

Christofeno told Sanders and Majerik that he’s not thrilled with the continued requests and has no intention of continuing the trial, stating that parties have known for many months that the trial was expected to go forward on Sept. 18. He refused the continuance and said instead that he would continue to have trial status conferences each Thursday until the jury trial date.

The court scheduled an additional status conference for Aug. 31. The trial remains scheduled for Sept. 18.

A woman accused in a robbery on June 7 failed to appear in court.

Carrie Bets, 40, and Immanuel Bostic, 29, claimed they had permission to be at 26317 C.R. 4, Elkhart, and that the home had been sold to them. Bets had a status conference in Elkhart County Circuit Court Thursday but failed to appear.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the homeowner’s Realtor contacted police on June 7 stating the house appeared to have been tampered with since he’d last seen it. He told police that, he noticed the blinds had been drawn despite being open previously, and he saw clothing and other items inside that had not been there during the home’s open house on June 3, and the homeowner confirmed to him that no one should be at the home. The “For Sale” sign had also been removed, along with the lockbox on the front door.

Bets and Bostic were found exiting a bedroom, and while they were being detained Bostic told police they had just bought the house. During questioning, the affidavit reads, they told police they’d been staying there since May 31 but knew nothing about the open house on June 3, and that a man named Mike had given them a tour of the home and permission to stay there, but the Realtor and homeowner confirmed no one named “Mike” was involved with the residence in any way. They reportedly admitted that meth and paraphernalia found in the home did belong to them, as well as the food in the fridge, court records stated. Appliances and other items using electricity in the residence were identified, which would result in the property owner being charged for utilities.

Bets and Bostic were arrested on charges of burglary, residential entry, theft, and possession of meth and paraphernalia.

A bondsman was ordered to produce Bets, and the jury trial remains scheduled for Feb. 19.

A South Bend man accused of taking part in the robbery of puppies almost seven years ago was expected to appear in court Thursday, but defense attorney Vicki Howe informed that the defendant had passed away.

Steven Wrice, 35, faced two counts of robbery and two counts of criminal confinement for the case that was filed in May 2017.

Wrice was accused of joining two others in robbing two women amid a disagreement over who would keep puppies that were born as a result of Wrice’s dog mating with one of the victim’s dogs. He allegedly attacked one of the victims with a choke grab before the mother dog and the puppies were taken, according to details in the probable cause affidavit in the case. The incident occurred in February 2017 at a home where Wrice and the other two attackers had lived but had moved out of about a week prior.

The other two, Precious Murry and Jamail Sallie, were also charged in the case. Murry and Sallie both pleaded guilty to their role in 2018 and 2019, and were sentenced. Wrice was taken into custody on a warrant in late October2021 and bonded out just a few days later.

As a result of Wrice’s passing on April 30, Christofeno dismissed the case.

Dani Messick is the education and entertainment reporter for The Goshen News. She can be reached at [email protected] or at 574-538-2065.


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