Video by Chelsea Los.
PLYMOUTH — A grand jury report and recommendation document remains sealed against the three individuals indicted by that grand jury. The indictments were opened at 8 a.m. this morning by Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Mike Reed. The indictments were against Kevin L. Bronson, Mark H. Soto and Kosciusko County Sheriff C. Aaron Rovenstine.
Marshall County Prosecuting Attorney E. Nelson Chipman, Jr., who was appointed special prosecutor in the case, noted during a 3 p.m. press conference that the document is still sealed, however, “it was requested to be unsealed this morning. We will renew the request in writing to unseal… after we have more time to research the legal issues involved. For a grand jury to prepare and file a grand jury report and recommendation document, in my experience is highly unusual,” said Chipman. “It is fair to assume the document contains matters of vital public concern to the citizens of Kosciusko County. We will seek to have it unsealed through proper legal channels.”
No questions were answered by Chipman, his staff or officers with the Indiana State Police who were present. A few members of the Warsaw Police Department were in attendance. Members of the ISP and WPD met with the prosecutor following the press conference.
Chipman stated on July 24, 2015, a petition was filed by Kosciusko County Prosecutor Dan Hampton for a special prosecutor. Reed appointed Chipman and charged him with the task to investigate matters of corrupt business influences and alleged intimidation against citizens of Kosciusko County. The original investigation focused on Bronson and Soto.
Chipman stated Warsaw Police Department was the original investigating agency. The original investigation was on the activities of Bronson, who was arrested by Warsaw PD Dec. 29, 2014, on charges of dealing cocaine, possession of cocaine and criminal gang activities. Chipman was appointed special prosecutor on Aug. 20, 2015, on the cocaine case. On that same day Bronson was transferred to the Marshall County Jail.
It was noted that Warsaw Police, at its request, was assisted by the specialized investigating resources based out of Indianapolis in the investigation. Chipman eventually requested Indiana State Police conduct an independent investigation from Warsaw Police Department’s effort.
“On Oct. 23, 2015, I formally requested Kosciusko Circuit Court impanel a grand jury, which was granted. The grand jury consisted of six randomly selected citizens and one alternate. The grand jury met on Dec. 14, 2015, and on Dec. 16, 2015, issued the indictments against Bronson and Soto. “At our request the indictment was sealed from public disclosure until further order of the court. We adjourned in order to reconvene on Feb. 22, 2016.” It was with the last grand jury empanelment that the indictments against Rovenstine were issued on Friday, Feb. 26, and sealed until this morning.
Indictments, two of which have been sealed since Dec. 16, and the other sealed since Friday, were opened at 8 a.m. this morning. A press conference held at 3 p.m. sharp in the Marshall County Commissioner’s Room, addressed those indictments.
Chipmen read each of the indictments against the individuals. The first three counts are based under corrupt business influence. All the activities occurred in Kosciusko County. Four identical charges of corrupt business influence and intimidation against Bronson and Soto and an additional three charges of intimidation against Bronson.
The 10-counts against Rovenstine were also each read. These included three counts of bribery, one count of intimidation, one count of assisting a criminal and five counts of official misconduct.
The press conference began with a video taken at an unspecified date and time, between a female and Kevin H. Bronson. The video tells a small portion of Bronson’s life, his time spent in prison, joining of a gang, his turn to Christianity and the potential deals to tell his life story. (The video was taken during Dr. Walls visit to the World Karate Union weekend published on youtube June 26, 2013.)
This seven-minute video was shown prior to Chipman taking the podium. He stressed that the charges are merely accusations and each person is presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
He did note Soto was arrested and booked into the Kosciusko County Jail. Further court dates for Soto are unknown. He also noted Soto is being held on $10,000 surety bond.
Through prior arrangement, Rovenstine had turned himself into the Indiana State Police and was taken to the Elkhart County Detention Facility. His bond was set at $10,000. Chipman stated Rovenstine has bonded out.
He also noted Bronson has been served the warrant at the Marshall County Jail.
Original Story Updated with Witnesses named in Indictment: Breaking Sheriff, College Professor Among Three Indicted.