KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — A motion by counsel for C. Aaron Rovenstine, just before the start of a seven-day jury trial Tuesday morning, Jan. 7, to terminate the appointment of Special Prosecutor E. Nelson Chipman Jr., Marshall County Prosecutor, due to a procedural error, is now a moot point.
Rumors the trial has been rescheduled for early April have not been confirmed or officially filed with the court. It is anticipated that Special Judge Evan S. Roberts, Elkhart Superior Court 1, will issue the order soon.
Marshall County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tami Napier confirmed this morning, Thursday, Feb. 9, the paperwork Chipman was required to file on July 22, 2016, was found. “Everything the defense raised Tuesday at 8 a.m. has been found,” she stated. “Everything had been filed properly and timely.” The document had been filed under the grand jury file, which is a confidential file and not public record.
Napier could not confirm a new trial date, stating she has not seen the judge’s order yet.
Under state statute a special prosecutor is named for a six-month time period. At the end of that time period a progress report and request to continue as special prosecutor must be filed. The defense contended Chipman did not file the progress report and request on July 22, 2016, thus prompting the motion to terminate his appointment. Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Rex Reed, who approved Chipman in July 2015, denied the motion and reappointed Chipman from July 22, 2016, to Jan. 22, 2017, and Jan. 22, 2017, to July 22, 2017.
The defense then objected to Reed’s ruling, which was brought before Roberts. Roberts, deciding to error on the side of caution, continued the trial and gave the defense 30 days to file a direct appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court.
The trials of Mark Soto and Kevin Bronson are scheduled to take place starting April 11 for six days.