The Assistant Principal at Crothersville Junior-Senior High School and newly elected Jackson County Commissioner was summoned last Wednesday to appear in Jackson Circuit Court to face a felony charge of theft of a firearm.
Andrew ‘Drew’ B. Markel, 35, of rural Grassy Fork Township, also faces a misdemeanor charge of conversion in connection with the investigation into his purchase of a Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm handgun with a stolen gift card June 4, 2016, according to the probable cause affidavit signed by Indiana State Police Detective Matt Loyd.
While a probable cause has been filed by Special Prosecutor William Nash of Bartholomew County, no warrant for Markel’s arrest has yet been signed as of this newspaper’s press deadline.
Markel has not been booked into the Jackson County Jail but an initial hearing on the charges is scheduled for next Wednesday, January 25, according to information on MyCase.in.gov, the state’s court record website. Chris D. Monroe of Bartholomew County was appointed special judge in the matter on Friday afternoon.
Mark Dove of North Vernon entered his appearance as Markel’s attorney.
In addition to being a county commissioner and assistant principal at Crothersville, Markel is the son of Jackson Superior Court I Judge Bruce Markel III.
The purchase occurred at Bite the Bullet, a gun shop in downtown Seymour where Markel worked part time, according to the probable cause affidavit.
According to the court document filed by Loyd, the owner of Bite The Bullet reported that Markel had purchased a handgun with a gift card originally issued to a customer Dec. 26, 2015. Seymour Chief of Police Bill Abbott began an investigation in June 2016 but asked the Indiana State Police to take over the investigation, according to Loyd’s report.
That customer had purchased a handgun from the store but later decided to return it claiming it didn’t work properly, according to court documents. The customer received a $255.73 refund, which was put on a gift card to be used for a future purchase, according to court records.
The court document said that Markel took the handgun home for testing. He returned it to the storeowner saying the gun worked properly and that the customer complaint “appeared to be the result of user error.”
On Jan. 7, 2016, the customer came back to the store to look at other guns, and he and Markel got into a confrontation after Markel attempted to explain that the problem with the returned handgun might have been user error. Markel and another employee escorted the customer out of the store where the verbal exchange continued, the ISP’s report stated.
Markel’s employer told him to refund the money on the customer’s card and “zero it out,” according to court documents.
On June 4, 2016, Markel purchased a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun from Bite The Bullet.
The gun shop owners were able to determine that when Markel purchased the 9mm handgun, he had used the customer’s gift card, Loyd said.
Markel later told the owners he thought he had used a $100 gift card he received as a Christmas gift from his mother-in-law for the purchase, according to court documents.
Loyd said on June 10 that Markel apologized to the store owners for the incident and said he had made an honest mistake. He also included a $257 check, the court document stated.
Markel has been placed on administrative leave with pay from his duties at Crothersville Community Schools, according to school superintendent Terry Goodin.
According to the school annual report published last August, Markel was paid $70,000 last year, the salary for a county commissioner is just over $21,400.
Scott County Sheriff’s Deputies looking for an Austin man for parole violation found the man they were seeking along with five others who were charged with a variety of drug offenses last week.
On January 7, Scott County Sheriff Deputies along with an Indiana State Trooper, and Indiana State Parole Agents went to 1215 N US 31 in Austin looking for Jerry Newton for violating parole.
They apprehended Newton along with five additional individuals at the residence.
During a search of the residence, law enforcement officials located methamphetamine, controlled substances, marijuana, paraphernalia, hypodermic needles, alcohol prep pads, and numerous kits containing naloxone throughout the residence.
All six subjects were arrested and transported to Scott County Security Center.
Arrested and charged were:
•Jerry Newton, 40, of Austin for parole warrant, maintaining a common nuisance, possession of a legend drug or precursor, possession of methamphetamine, possession of hypodermic syringes, possession of paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana.
•Clarence Spicer, 67 of Austin charged with maintaining a common nuisance.
•Brandon Stidham, 24, of Austin charged with visiting a common nuisance.
•Arbana Church, 25, of New Albany charged with visiting a common nuisance and possession of methamphetamine.
•Arlie Campbell Jr., 50, of Austin charged with visiting a common nuisance and possession of a legend drug.
•Amanda Jones, no age or address available, was charged with visiting a common nuisance.
All were incarcerated at Scott County Jail.
An electronics recycling collection will be held this Saturday, Jan. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon at Cummins Engine Plant parking lot, 800 East Third Street in Seymour.
Accepted items include computers, keyboards, printers, copiers, CD and DVD players, television sets, etc. This is a free event for Jackson County residents.
For more information call the Jackson County Recycling District at 812-358-4277.
Area music fans will have a unique opportunity when Seymour’s Vision 2025 Project, in conjunction with the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts, presents a singer-songwriter event at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, in the upstairs banquet room at Rails Craft Brew and Eatery, 114 St. Louis Ave., Seymour.
The “listening room” environment will feature artists Matthew Mayfield of Birmingham, Ala. with special guest Brooks Ritter of Louisville, Ky.
Advance tickets are $10 while day-of-show admission will be $15 per person. Tickets are available at Rails, Jackson County Visitor Center, and Southern Indiana Center for the Arts.
Two Scottsburg residents were charged with a variety of drug offenses early last week.
According to Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin, around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3, Trooper Matt Busick was patrolling in rural Scott County when he saw a car pull into a residence on Lover’s Lane near Lexington. The driver and passenger were acting suspicious which prompted Busick to pull into the same driveway to investigate further.
Busick questioned the vehicle occupants who said they stopped at the residence to ask to use a phone. “Even though there were five cell phones in the car,” said Busick. Examining the car’s interior Busick located about an ounce of methamphetamine and about a half ounce of heroin along with 10 prescription pills.
The driver of the vehicle, Daniel Robinson, 30, of Scottsburg, who was wanted on an Indiana Department of Correction Parole Warrant, was charged with possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of a controlled substance.
The front seat passenger, Sarah Kahl, 25, of Scottsburg, was charged with possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamine and possession of a controlled substance.
The pair was incarcerated in Scott County Jail.
A move to define dangerous breeds of dogs in Crothersville stalled last Tuesday evening when local residents and at least one town council member voiced opposition to the new ordinance.
The proposed ordinance would have listed dangerous dog breeds in Crothersville as Pit Bull, Rottweiller, German Shepherd, Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Doberman Pinscher, Chow, Great Dane, St. Bernard, and Akita.
The proposed law would not have banned such breeds of dogs in town but it would limit them to one dog of a dangerous breeds to any household. And any of the named breed dogs would be required to be contained in a fenced yard, kennel, or on a leash which accompanied by the owner.
While there was uniformity among the town council that changes needed to be made to the existing dog ordinance, there was not unanimous support for the proposed new dog law.
“We don’t have the right to tell residents what kind of dog they can have,” said councilman Bob Lyttle. “We are looking at this all wrong. It isn’t the dog; it’s the dog owner. If the dog isn’t trained properly, any dog can be a dangerous dog.”
Many residents in attendance at the first council meeting of the year, voiced their support for changes in local dog ordinance but not the changes proposed.
“Any dog ordinance should not be breed specific,” said resident Jennifer Plumm. “What the town needs to do is have an ordinance which defines aggression and dangerous behavior.”
Many residents said police should take action when dogs exhibit continual or frequent aggression and are not properly contained.
But police acting as animal control officers is limited because the town has no place to house animals if removed from a home and no animal shelter will accept dangerous or vicious dogs.
Town councilwoman Danieta Foster spearheaded the proposed dog ordinance change after local mail carriers voiced concern about two locations in town with dogs that were not adequately contained and inhibited their efforts to deliver mail to those residents and others in the neighborhood.
“Danieta did a lot of work to come up with this proposed ordinance and she should be commended for being proactive,” said councilwoman Brenda Holzworth. “But from the comments tonight, we need to do more work.”
Town council president Lenvel ‘Butch’ Robinson agreed. “I think the consensus is to re-think this more,” he said.
Then addressing the residents speaking against the proposed dog law, he said, “You folks who are up in arms, give us some ideas of what you want to see in a new dog ordinance. Don’t wait until a town council meeting to start complaining. Help us form the kind of dog ordinance you think will work.”
The council tabled any action on the proposed dog ordinance.
In other business, councilman Chad Wilson proposed that some unused areas of town-owned property be developed into community garden plots.
“Other communities have come up with garden plots tended by community residents for vegetables and flowers,” he said.
He added plots could be 10’x10’ or 10×20’ and inexpensively rented to families or individuals.
“If they have a buy-in there is greater likelihood that they will be better stewards of their space,” said Wilson. “It is a way of augmenting your food budget and a way of meeting your neighbors and getting to know others” he said.
“More importantly,” he said, “It helps us be more of a community.”
All plans are tentative right now but Wilson said a meeting is planned for next Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at town hall for those interested helping to organize and participate in the endeavor.
Among the areas cited a potential community garden sites is town owned property at the corner of Main Street & Pennsylvania Ave. north of the VFW and a vacant lot owned by the school on Preston Street south of the administration building.
In annual appointments to board and commissions:
•Brenda Holzworth, Chad Wilson and firefighter Charles Densford were re-appointed to the town safety board.
•Fire Chief Ben Spencer was re-appointed to represent the town on Homeland Security.
•Lenvil ‘Butch’ Robinson was re-appointed to represent the town on the Jackson County Recycling Board.
•Robinson was re-appointed council president and Bob Lyttle vice president.
•Brent Turner was re-appointed the at-will Chief of Police for the town.
•Curt Kovener was re-appointed the town’s representative on Jackson County Industrial Development Corporation.
•Jeff Lorenzo was re-appointed as town legal counsel.