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Lambert accused of crimes leading to standoff

Tuesday, September 26, 2006



Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Jonathon Thomas Lambert could face 11 years of real-time imprisonment if convicted of the three Class D Felonies and two Class A Misdemeanors stemming from his alleged actions during a domestic dispute with his live-in girlfriend early Friday morning.

Charges stemming from Lambert's refusal to comply with an arrest warrant by the Indiana State Police and the subsequent 14-hour standoff that followed have not been completed due to the ongoing investigation.

"The process of un-sealing the various documents in this case has already begun," Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger said. "(The process) is expected to be completed within a reasonable time period, possibly late Tuesday."

Lambert was silent as Prosecutor Reberger and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Kim Jackson presented the five charges derived through the investigation led by Indiana State Police Trooper Sgt. Det. Troy Stanton and Trooper Hans Nowak in Clay Circuit before Judge Robert Pell Monday morning.

"These are the original charges that created the basis of the initial arrest warrant," said Reberger, who expects to file additional charges later in the week "upon completion of the review process of the various responding agencies' reports regarding Lambert's activities during the 14-hour standoff with law enforcement personnel."

According to court documents, the following charges - and reasons for the charges - were filed on behalf of the State of Indiana against Lambert:

- One count of Criminal Confinement, a D felony, was filed against Lambert for his alleged attempt to confine his girlfriend without her consent inside a home located at 6764 W. U.S. 40 on Friday.

- One count of Intimidation, a D felony, because Lambert allegedly used the threat of killing his girlfriend to get her to engage in sexual conduct against her will.

- One count of Sexual Battery, a D felony, was filed against Lambert for allegedly forcing, or threatening to force, his girlfriend to arouse or satisfy his sexual desires through touching.

- One Class A misdemeanor, Domestic Battery, was charged against Lambert for allegedly choking his girlfriend, leaving red marks around her neck.

- One Class A misdemeanor, Criminal Recklessness, for attempting to run over his girlfriend with a vehicle.

Lambert pled not guilty on all accounts and was scheduled to appear for pre-trial conference on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 1:30 p.m. and to begin the jury trial process at 1:30 p.m. on Jan., 22. The omnibus date - or the deadline for pretrial motions and/or notice of defense strategy - was scheduled for Nov. 17.

Lambert is represented by attorney Joseph K. Etling, of Terre Haute.

Judge Pell set Lambert's cash bond at $25,000. Should he post the bond, part of the conditions of Lambert's release include he obey all laws, have no contact, communication or go on the property of the victim in the case and not possess firearms, explosives or ammunition.

Officials close to the case remind the public that Lambert is innocent of the charges unless found guilty.

"We live in a country were you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton said Monday. "Deputy Lambert was on a scheduled vacation from the sheriff's department at the time of the incident. He has been served with paperwork advising him that he is on administrative leave with pay until a complete investigation by the Merit Board can be reviewed. The appropriate disciplinary action can be taken at that time. This is normal departmental procedure and is being done at the advice of our attorney."

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