WARSAW — Christina M. Swinehart, 34, Vicksburg, Mich., asked the court for a suspended sentence so she could continue supporting her children. But the court saw differently and sentenced her to four concurrent three-year sentences in the Kosciusko County Jail.
Swinehart appeared in Kosciusko Superior Court 1, Thursday, Nov. 15. on four counts of burglary, level 5 felonies, three counts of theft, class A misdemeanors, and one count of theft of a firearm, a level 6 felony. Through a plea agreement, Swinehart agreed to plead guilty to the four counts of burglary, level 5 felonies, with the executed portion not exceeding four years and the sentence to be concurrent and, if eligible concurrent with a Noble County case.
Noting Swinehart had a bad drug problem, Judge David Cates stated “You’ve been clean since June of this year, I will give you credit for that … You are in front of me, telling me you need to take care of your children. You were not caring of your children when you committed these crimes. You didn’t even try to focus on the kids. Had you been there caring for them you would not have committed these crimes.”
Prior to sentencing, Joseph Sobek, attorney for Swinehart, told the court his client’s goals were the same as the court’s and to be a responsible mother to her young children. It was noted she successfully completed classes ordered by a Michigan court and was discharged and she was placed on probation in the Noble County case, with her probation sentence to be transferred to Michigan. “We ask for you to accept the plea agreement, give her probation so she can do the right thing for her children,” Sobek stated, adding the positives in her pre-sentence investigation report outweigh the negative. “She is providing for her children and she is the sole provider. Prison would result in a hardship for her children,” he said.
Swinehart was arrested Dec. 29 for the Oct. 6 burglary, theft and criminal mischief at Pack Rat Storage. During the investigation police discovered four storage units had been broken into with such items as a toy antique fire truck, several Bibles, documents, jewelry, Brinks fire safes, a hand gun, ammunition, boat motor and fishing tackle. The stolen items were found in a vehicle Swinehart and another individual occupied when stopped by Ligonier Police Oct. 7, prior to the burglaries being reported.