"When something like this happens, we're going to pursue the highest level of charges we believe we can prove," Clay County Lee Reberger said during a press conference at the Clay county Justice Center Wednesday afternoon.
Officials announced the formal charges filed against four suspects alleged involved in the recent rural Clay County home invasion/burglary.
Appearing before Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout, cousins Joshua L. Orman, 23, and James Levi Orman, 19, Brazil residents, were charged separately but with the same six formal allegations, including:
* Class A felony robbery resulting in serious bodily injury,
* Class A felony conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury,
* Class A felony burglary resulting in bodily injury,
* Class B felony aggravated battery,
* Class D felony theft, and
* Class D felony residential entry.
Trout appointed attorney James Organ as James Orman's public defender, while attorney Geoffrey Creason was appointed Joshua Orman's public defender.
A $50,000 cash bond (no 10 percent allowed) was established for both, who remain incarcerated at the Clay County Justice Center. The court stipulated a condition on the bond that if James or Joshua is able to bond out that they must be placed on home detention or daily reporting to authorities.
Tentative court dates were also set in both cases, with James' jury trial scheduled for June 8 and Joshua's jury trial scheduled for May 4.
The prosecutor's office confirmed to The Brazil Times both Joshua and James were on probation through a conviction/guilty plea in Clay Circuit Court at the time of the incident on Jan. 14, which is why both of their cases were transferred to that "familiar court."
The third suspect, Christopher Charles Craft, 19, Brazil, has been formally charged by the prosecutor's office with the same six formal allegations listed above, although his initial appearance for court proceedings has yet to be scheduled per the Superior court calendar.
The prosecutor's office also confirmed Craft was on probation through a conviction/guilty plea in Clay Superior Court at the time of the incident on Jan. 14.
Craft remains incarcerated a $50,000 cash bond (no 10 percent allowed).
If convicted of a class A felony, the highest charge filed against the above mentioned suspects at this time, the advisory sentence issued by the state for a guilty conviction/plea agreement ranges from 20-50 years in prison (with 30 years the recommended sentence) and potential fines up to $10,000.
The fourth suspect, Lindsey J. Beaman, 19, has bonded out of jail to wait for her initial hearing date to be scheduled for formal arraignment on the class A misdemeanor charge of false informing.
"These are only allegations at this time," Reberger said. "These suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."
On Jan. 14, sometime around 3 a.m., a resident reported to authorities three unknown male suspects with handguns forced their way into his home, beat him and held a his girlfriend and their baby at gunpoint while they stole several items from the home.
To protect the integrity of the case, officials were unable to release information about any connection between the victims and the suspects.
After the home invasion/burglary was reported, members of the Indiana State Police Criminal Investigation Unit, Clay County Sheriff's Department and the United States Marshal's Office worked more than 35 hours straight before taking a small break and then returning to work another 22 hours investigating the case to find the suspects.
"Within a few hours after the report, ISP had detectives on the scene," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton said the interdepartmental investigation. "A few hours later there were more, which was really valuable considering our full-time detective who is off duty recovering from an accident. I really appreciate their efforts in this case."
As information was gathered in the early stages of the investigation, Reberger said a similar incident was reported a few minutes after the one in Clay County in Vigo County.
"There were similarities that potentially tied the two cases together," Reberger said. "Investigators immediately began to share our information with the Vigo County Sheriff's Department."
The violent attack of a homeowner trying to help someone in need, stirred the emotions of officers working the case.
"We take these cases seriously. We will work around the clock when something like this happens," ISP Public Information Officer Joe Watts said. "Anytime someone invades a home with guns and beats the homeowner before stealing items, that case jumps to the top of the burner. In America, your home is a place, the one place, you should be assured to be safe."
Heaton said if a homeowner experiences someone approaching their home late at night to go to the door with a phone in hand and talk through the locked door.
"Don't open the door. If they say they can't hear you and want you to open the door, inform them you are calling the police," he said. "Call us, we're here 24-hours-a-day. We can be there in a few minutes."
Although Indiana has laws in effect that allow homeowners to use force to protect themselves, cautious officials said the laws would not protect anyone if the force used is not reasonable and appropriate. According to one official, "if attacked with a paperclip you can't respond by using a knife."
Reberger agreed, and although this case is believed to be a random incident, he along with other officials offered some safety tips for homeowners.
"In these times it might not be possible to be the Good Samaritan we might want to be," Reberger said. "If this happens, homeowners should never open the door."
For more information about this case or the Vigo County investigation into a second similar case, contact the Clay County Sheriff's Department at 446-2535 or Vigo County Sheriff's Department at 812-462-3226.