By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A local man will serve eight years in prison after battering a man and leading officers in a high-speed vehicle pursuit.
In the first case, James Henry Barr, 36, Warsaw, was charged with battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, a level 6 felony. He was also charged with possession of methamphetamine, a level 4 felony; burglary, a level 5 felony; resisting law enforcement and battery against a public safety official, both level 6 felonies; and operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a class C misdemeanor, in a second case.
A dozen criminal charges, along with an additional burglary case, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Barr was sentenced in Kosciusko Superior Court One on Monday, Aug. 2.
On Sept. 11, 2020, a North Webster Police officer went to a location regarding a battery incident. Upon arrival, the officer met with a man who said he was jumped by two men. According to court documents, the man said two men punched and kicked him, then took his cellphone and keys to his moped.
The officer noticed the man had bruising and scratches on the left side of his forehead, a small bruise on the bridge of his nose, a swollen and cut lower lip and bruising on his arm. The man said he recognized one of his assailants as Barr.
On Feb. 3, an Indiana State Trooper was traveling west on CR 900N and was following a vehicle traveling at a low rate of speed.
After turning north onto Old SR 15, the trooper saw the vehicle cross the center line and go into the southbound lane several times. As the officer attempted to pull the vehicle over, the driver, later identified as Barr, fled north on Old SR 15 at a high rate of speed.
Barr then drove into Milford and crashed into a parked Ford Explorer near the intersection of Main and Section Streets. Barr then got out of his car and fled, running west through residential yards.
Officers from surrounding police departments responded to help search for Barr, who was eventually found hiding in a garage in the 200 block of South Higbee Street.
While searching Barr’s vehicle, officers found synthetic marijuana and nine grams of methamphetamine. Officers also realized Barr appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance and submitted a blood sample for testing. Prior to being taken to a local hospital, Barr intentionally spit in a Milford Police officer’s face.
During court proceedings, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Sobek said a cap of eight years on Barr’s sentence was appropriate due to Barr’s criminal history.
“I hope he’s telling the truth in his (written) statement,” said Sobek. “I hope he understands that this is no longer the way to live.”
Defense Attorney Jay Rigdon requested Recovery While Incarcerated as part of Barr’s prison sentence and also noted that Barr should be recognized for taking responsibility for his actions.
For possession of methamphetamine, Kosciusko Superior Court One Judge Karin McGrath sentenced Barr to seven years in the Indiana Department of Corrections and four years in DoC for burglary. For resisting law enforcement and battery against a public safety official, Judge McGrath sentenced Barr to 2 1/2 years in DoC on each charge. She also sentenced him to two months in DoC for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. All five counts will be served concurrently, or at the same time.
For battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, Barr received a one-year DoC sentence; the case will be served consecutively to Barr’s burglary and methamphetamine possession case. Barr’s cases will also be served consecutively to any sentences imposed in DeKalb County matters.
A no-contact order between Barr and the man battered in the September 2020 incident remains in effect.
“I hope you do turn things around, I really do,” said Judge McGrath to Barr.