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This Hour: Latest Indiana news, sports, business and entertainment

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Woman guilty of giving gun to convicted murderer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - A northern Indiana woman has been found guilty of giving a gun to her live-in boyfriend even though she knew he was a convicted murderer.

The South Bend Tribune reports ( ) that St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Jane Woodward Miller on Tuesday also found 41-year-old Jenifer Leveque guilty of driving Steven Clippinger away from the scene after Matthew and Lisa Clippinger were shot in their Mishawaka home in 2012.

Clippinger is scheduled to go on trial Sept. 29 on two counts of murder in the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law. He previously served time in prison for shooting and killing a family friend in 1990.

Leveque is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 3. She faces up to eight years in prison for each of the class C felonies.


Father pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) - A Hammond man has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of his 10-year-old son in 2011.

The Times of Munster reports ( ) 35-year-old Jason Lee DeGroot Sr. entered the plea as part of an agreement with prosecutors in which they agreed to dismiss a murder charge. Under the agreement, he admitted to shooting his son Jason DeGroot Jr. in the back on Nov. 14, 2011.

Authorities say DeGroot then attempted to commit suicide by shooting himself.

The boy's grandmother, Leslie Zoliner-Gradi, said she intends to ask ake County Criminal Judge Diane Boswell to sentence DeGroot to 55 years in prison. The plea deal calls for him to spend at least 32 years in prison.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 25.


Official involved in reduced bond resigns

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A southern Indiana deputy prosecutor who agreed to a reduced bond for a man who later was accused of killing his girlfriend and mutilating and eating parts of her body has resigned.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull told The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky, ( ) on Tuesday the unidentified deputy prosecutor resigned for unrelated reasons.

Mull says 33-year-old Joseph Oberhansley of Jeffersonville should have still been in jail at the time he is accused of killing his 46-year-old girlfriend, Tammy Jo Blanton. Oberhansley was charged Monday with murder, abuse of a corpse and breaking and entering.

He previously had been charged in two separate cases in Clark County. Mull said he had Oberhansley's bond set at $25,000 cash only, but Oberhansley was released after posting a bond of about $500.


Pence, 2016 hopefuls back 20-week abortion ban

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Gov. Mike Pence is one of a handful of possible White House contenders supporting a proposed federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Pence wrote a letter to South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham supporting the ban. Other possible 2016 contenders who wrote in support include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The Christian Broadcasting Network reported on the letters Tuesday. Pence sent his letter of support April 3, but it was not released publicly until The Associated Press asked for a copy Tuesday.

Pence has strong ties among social and religious conservatives from his time in Congress, but has shied away from hot-button issues like abortion since becoming governor.

Pence is set to headline a fundraiser Thursday for the conservative Indiana Family Institute.


EPA adds Elkhart site to priority cleanup list

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) - The federal government has added a 70-acre contaminated site in northern Indiana to the Superfund program's priority cleanup list.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Elkhart's North Shore Drive site is plagued by tainted groundwater and is one of five U.S. sites added Tuesday to its National Priority List.

That listing means state and federal officials will investigate the contamination and propose a cleanup plan.

EPA says the Elkhart groundwater plume encompasses 35 homes and was discovered in 1996 when a citizen complained of skin irritation caused by water drawn from a private residential well. The source of the contamination in the city about 15 miles east of South Bend isn't known.

The EPA on Tuesday also proposed adding a groundwater plume in Kokomo to its priority cleanup list.


Police disable 2 improvised explosive devices

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - Indiana State Police says its ordnance disposal team disabled two improvised explosive devices found at a Terre Haute park.

The Tribune-Star reports ( ) a Terre Haute parks department employee found the two devices near the Collett Park entrance Tuesday morning. The state police team was called in just after 9 a.m.

Park Superintendent Eddie Bird described one of the devices as having a fuse that looked like someone had tried to light it. He says there was no indication of how long the devices had been in the park.

State police says the devices were less than 10 inches long. Bomb Technician Chad Hilton says the device he disarmed had a probable blast radius of 50 yards and could have caused injuries to anyone nearby.


Former tourism official faces 7 theft charges

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) - A former Howard County tourism official has waived her initial hearing on theft charges.

The Kokomo Tribune reports ( ) 48-year-old Kimberly Morgan of Kokomo was arrested on seven felony counts of theft. Morgan was assistant director of the Howard County Convention and Visitors' Bureau for about 10 years before being fired in January.

Investigators allege Morgan misused a tourism bureau credit card to take more than $18,000 for her personal use since January 2012.

No number for Morgan could be found in online listings and it wasn't clear whether she has hired an attorney. Police say she surrendered at the Howard County Jail last week and was released on $1,000 bond.

The court entered a preliminary plea of not guilty and set a trial date of Dec. 23.


State police say I-65 north closed near Seymour

UNIONTOWN, Ind. (AP) - State police say northbound Interstate 65 is closed about five miles south of Seymour because of a multi-vehicle crash.

Police say the interstate is closed at 43.5 mile marker, about 2.5 miles north of the Uniontown exit. They say emergency crews are on the scene, but they have no estimate of when the interstate will reopen. Southbound I-65 remains open.


BMV announces overcharges of about $29 million

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has announced about 180,000 people will be getting excise tax refunds because their vehicles were improperly classified during registration over the past decade, leading to a total overcharge of about $29 million.

BMV Commissioner Don Snemis says the agency will work the Indiana Department of Revenue to issue the refunds. He says people affected should receive a letter within a month.

Under Indiana law, vehicles are placed in a tax classification based on value determined by using the price of the vehicle and applying an adjustment factor based on Consumer Price Index data related to increases in new automobile prices. In some circumstances, the BMV's computer system did not apply the adjustment factor, which caused some vehicles to be misclassified.


Teen pleads guilty in southern Indiana slaying

BEDFORD, Ind. (AP) - A southern Indiana teenager has been sentenced to 55 years in prison for his role in the beating death of a man in his rural home.

Eighteen-year-old Austin Curtis of Bedford pleaded guilty to a murder charge in a Lawrence County court Monday for the February death of 43-year-old Rodney Allender.

The Times-Mail reports ( ) the plea agreement calls for Curtis to testify against 19-year-old Taylor Flynn of Bedford and a 16-year-old boy. They were arrested on murder warrants in the southern Ohio city of Ironton a couple days after Allender was found dead in his home about 60 miles south of Indianapolis.

A tearful Curtis testified he couldn't express how sorry he was for what he called a "catastrophe."

Authorities say money and guns were taken from Allender's home.

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