Shelbyville man sentenced to prison in child sex case

A Shelbyville man is going to prison for 40 years after his conviction for sex crimes against a six-year-old child.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana, 38-year-old Justin R. Potts pled guilty to four charges related to the exploitation of the child. That happened while he was already required to register as a sex offender for previous offenses.

Potts had been convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor in Hancock County in 2014 and sentenced to 7 years in prison. he was required to register as a sex offender until 2026 but failed to register in 2019.

In December of 2021 and January of this year, Potts lived with the victim and while the victim was under his care recorded videos of sexual abuse. The video was uploaded to his google account which prompted a notification to the the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The Indiana State Police and the United States Secret Service quickly investigated the account, traced it to Potts, and executed a search warrant leading to his arrest and detention.

Potts pleaded guilty to three counts of sexually exploiting the victim and to one count of committing those offenses while required to register as a sex offender.

Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana commended the U.S. Secret Service, Indiana State Police, the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office, and federal prosecutors for rescuing a child from ongoing abuse.

Christmas Wonderland set for Saturday in Millhousen

The town of Millhousen will be holding its Christmas Wonderland celebration on Saturday.

Money raised during the activities is used to help struggling families by purchasing Christmas gifts to be delivered on Christmas morning.

The Millhousen Knights of St. John will be holding a craft show from 10 to 5 on Saturday. Stone’s Restaurant will have several activities including a kid friendly buffet from noon to 8, hay rides with the Grinch and a visits from Santa from 4 to 7 and music on the front porch from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

You can find more details at stonesfamilyrestaurant.com. If you want to take part in the craft fair you can call 317-418-1486.

Brick Street restaurant receiving state grant for preservation

A North Vernon restaurant will received more than $61,000 from the state for renovation of its historic structure.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch announced yesterday that the Brick Street restaurant was one of 10 sites around the state to receive a share of more than $728,000 through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs Historic Renovation Grant Program. The program is designed to preserve and rehabilitate historic properties to further incentivize downtown economic development across Indiana.

Eligible properties for this grant program must be at least 50 years old and either listed on the register of Indiana historic sites and structures, be listed or eligible for listing to the National Register of Historic Places, or be listed as a contributing resource in a National Register District. Awarded properties will receive funding for the renovation and preservation of exterior features.

The North Vernon restaurant was built in the 1870s and was home of the Couchman Fur business for much of the 1900s. It is set to receive $61,693 to preserve and restore the original façade, including masonry work and to replace non-historic windows with period appropriate windows. According to the agency, the Brick Street Restaurant has preserved the historical atmosphere of the building and has become a local hometown dining establishment.

Jennings standoff ends with wanted man’s suicide

Police say a wanted man took his own life after a nearly 12-hour standoff with police yesterday in Jennings County.

According to reports from the Indiana State Police, 38-year-old Cory D. Jenkins was found dead inside a home on County Road 550W after the standoff.

The incident started at shortly after midnight, when Jennings County deputies went to the rural home after being alerted that Jenkins was there. He was wanted on multiple felony warrants. When deputies arrived, he barricaded himself inside with a handgun and held several family members against their will. A gunshot was heard from inside the home, although no one was injured.

More deputies and state troopers were called to the scene, including the county and state police SWAT teams and negotiators. Law enforcement was able to help three family members escape after they climbed out of a window. A fourth family member was finally allowed to leave the home.

Negotiators talked with Jenkins and tried to get him to surrender. He was seen several times inside, holding the weapon.

Police say Jenkins took his own life shortly after noon Thursday.

The incident remains under investigation by Indiana State Police detectives.

Funeral services to be held for slain Hope teen

Jesse Bragg. Photo courtesy of Norman Funeral Home.

Funeral services for 18-year-old Jesse Bragg will be held at 6 p.m. this evening at First Baptist Church of Hope.

Bragg died Saturday night after a shooting at a Elm Street home in Hope.

He was the son of Jerry and Mary Bragg and a senior at Hauser High School. According to Norman Funeral Home in Hope, Bragg attended C4 at Columbus East High School and was employed at Hucks in Hope.

Visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the church. Cremation will follow and inurnment will be at Haw Creek Baptist Cemetery in Hope at a later date.

Flat-Rock Hawcreek Schools will dismiss at 2:25 p.m. today to allow students, staff and their families additional time before the services.

Norman Funeral Home obituary page.

Accused shooter claims he thought gun was air pistol

Joseph T. Kidwell. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department

A teen accused of shooting and killing another Hope teenager told authorities that he thought the weapon was an air pistol when he pulled the trigger.

That’s according to court documents filed against 18-year-old Joseph T. Kidwell of Fowler is facing a felony charge of reckless homicide in the death of 18-year-old Jesse W. Bragg of Hope.

In a probable cause affidavit filed Thursday with the court, Bartholomew County Detective Terrance Holderness outlined the reasons for Kidwell’s arrest. He said that at about 9:52 p.m. Saturday, there was a 911 call saying that someone had been shot at a home on Elm Street.  Witnesses were still performing life-saving measures when Hope police arrived on the scene minutes later.

They found that Bragg had been shot once in the center of his chest, with the bullet exiting through his left shoulder area. The two Hope police officers continued performing life-saving measures on Bragg until medics arrived and he was declared dead.

According to the court documents, Kidwell was arrested and interviewed by detectives at the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, where he said he had fired one  shot at Bragg, thinking that it was not a real firearm, but an air pistol.

Witnesses told deputies that Kidwell grabbed the pistol, racked the slide and pointed it at Bragg, who was seated on a couch across from Kidwell, before pulling the trigger. A .40 caliber handgun was found at the scene and a .40 caliber projectile and spent casing were also found and seized by authorities.

Police also found alcoholic beverages and a green leafy substance that smelled of marijuana at the home. A second pistol was recovered from the scene, along with an air pistol.

Better Business Bureau warns of social media scams

The Better Business Bureau serving Central Indiana is warning about scams that prey on those during the Christmas season.

According to the consumer protection group, one of the more common scams is misleading or deceptive ads on social media. You could see ads claiming to be a local small business, asking you to support a charity with an order, or offering a free trial of a product.

However, the Better Business Bureau sees many reports from people who paid for an item they never received, or who thought they were getting a free trial, but instead have signed up for a monthly subscription service. And there are would-be customers who receive counterfeit items, or those that are much different than they ordered.

Online purchase scams are the most common complaints reported to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker and the ones with the most victims.

You should check out the company before ordering or signing up. You can get more information including business profiles and reviews at www.bbb.org/local-bbb/bbb-serving-central-indiana.

Bartholomew landfill rates per ton increasing on Jan. 3

The Bartholomew County Landfill will be increasing its dumping fees after the start of the year.

The Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District is announcing that dumping fees will increase to $34 per ton, starting on January 3rd. The landfill fees are currently $30 per ton, for loads over 200 pounds.

The landfill is on East Bartholomew County Road 450S.

If you have any questions, you can contact the Solid Waste Management District at 812-376-2614 or visit their website at www.bcswmd.com

Two new officers sworn in for Columbus department

Columbus Police Department is welcoming two new officers, sworn in this week.

Officer Kathryn Bunnell is originally from Idaho and graduated from Whitworth University in Washington State. She served in the United States Army reaching the rank of sergeant. She joined the Riley Police Department in Riley, Kansas where she served for nearly three years.

Officer Christian Walker attended Roncalli High School in Indianapolis and later graduated from Indiana State University. Walker previously worked as a corrections officer at the Johnson County Jail.

After an orientation program, Bunnell will continue her training in the department’s field training program. Walker will attend the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in January.

Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department. From left, Officer Christian Walker, Chief Mike Richardson and Officer Kathryn Bunnell at Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony for the new officers.