ELKHART — By the end of the status conference Wednesday, Feb. 15, regarding the April trial of C. Aaron Rovenstine, four motions in limine were taken under advisement. Those four motions in limine have since been denied after thorough consideration by Special Judge Evan Roberts.
The following matters that were originally under advisement have been denied:
- Confidentiality agreements Kevin Bronson had jailers sign regarding proofreading his life story for a book and/or movie deal. The defense argued Rovenstine was not party to this. The prosecution argued it established how the relationship between Bronson and Rovenstine developed and Rovenstine was aware of the agreements as they were passed up the chain of command. The prosecution additionally argued it was relevant to the special privileges Bronson received.
- A meeting between Kosciusko County Prosecutor Dan Hampton, Judge Torrey Bauer, Mark Soto and attorney Doug Lemon in 2016 in which a “plan” was crafted to release or “get rid of” Bronson and have him relocated out of state (California) with a failure to appeal warrant issued that would not be extraditable. The defense argued Rovenstine did not initiate or plan the meeting, nor supported the plan but wanted Bronson taken to the Indiana Department of Corrections. Noting the meeting was held in the prosecutor’s office as part of a plea agreement deal, the prosecution noted there was nothing more relevant as the sheriff could have chosen not to attend. The prosecution further argued this again shows the pre-existing relationship between Bronson and Rovenstine.
- That the investigation into Warsaw Police Officer Paul Heaton was retaliation due to that departments initiation into the investigation of Rovenstine. The defense argued there were allegations against Heaton being investigated prior to the Aug. 14 alleged threat to Heaton by Rovenstine regarding inappropriate behavior. The state argued depending on which detective you speak to there are three different times there was an investigation, several after the alleged threat. Several references were made to case law. The matter of the information being a question of fact was also argued.
- Non-cooperation by KCS jailers and deputies with investigating officers from the Indiana State Police. The defense argued individuals have every right not to participate but this could give the impression there was something to hide. The prosecution stated these individuals would be considered hostile witnesses as there was a culture of silence in the department and would be relevant to wrongdoing and it should be up to the jury to determine why there wasn’t cooperation. It was noted there was evidence through text messages and voice mails encouraging individuals not to speak to investigators, but no direct link to Rovenstine.