KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — Motions to continue a jury trial, vacate a hearing and allow a defendant to be absent from a status conference have been filed by counsel for Mark H. Soto and Kevin Bronson, both indicted on numerous charges by a grand jury last year. Special Judge Evan S. Roberts, Elkhart Superior Court 1, has issued a ruling on one of the motions.
Scott Lennox, counsel for Soto, filed with the court today, Wednesday, Nov. 2, a motion to permit his client’s absence from a status conference at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, and a motion to continue the jury trial scheduled to begin Dec. 13. Roberts granted the motion to permit Soto from attending the status conference.
The motion to allow Soto’s absence is due to the fact an out of state family member is terminally ill. Soto, who learned of a recent transfer of that family member to a hospice facility Nov. 1, requested to be allowed to accompany his wife out of state for last visits and arrangement preparation.
Reasons for the motion to continue the trial are:
- A substantially high volume of “discovery,” far more than customary in most matters.
- Counsel has yet to receive a copy of grand jury testimony and has been unable to review transcripts crucial to prepare for depositions.
- Counsel has not received the state’s witness and exhibit list, which was to be provided on or before Oct. 14.
- Counsel anticipates numerous days of depositions prior to trial, which depositions, given the schedule of counsel and the State of Indiana, will not be able to be completed prior to the commencement of the trial.
Lennox notes in the motion the continuance requested is not posed for the purpose of undue delay and proposes the rescheduling of the trial in the spring of 2017.
A motion to vacate a hearing date Friday, for possible plea agreement, was filed by Peter Todd and Clifford R. Williams, counsel for Bronson. The attorneys asked the court to vacate the plea bargain deadline hearing at 1 p.m. Friday due to ongoing negotiations in Bronson’s case.
Soto has been charged with three counts of corrupt business influence and three counts of intimidation following a Kosciusko County Grand Jury indictment.
Bronson has been charged with three counts of corrupt business influence and seven counts of intimidation.
During a status conference on Sept. 23, Roberts set Nov. 4 as a final status conference and plea bargain deadline for Soto and plea agreement deadline for Bronson. That date was also set for the seating of a test jury in the case against Kosciusko County Sheriff C. Aaron Rovenstine. This action will determine if a fair and impartial jury can be seated for the trial, which is scheduled to begin Feb. 7, 2017.
Rovenstine has been charged with three counts of bribery, one count each of intimidation and assisting a criminal and five counts of official misconduct. The charges stem from a grand jury indictment.