Chesterton Tribune

Man shot last week in Porter dies

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A man shot in the Town of Porter on Sept. 14, reportedly by his ex-wife, has died at Porter hospital, Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said.

Donald M. Crouse, 45, died at 12:55 a.m. today, Harris said. A forensic autopsy has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday in Mishawaka.

Beverly Therese Mitchell, 44, of 321 Michigami Trail, remained in custody at the Porter County Jail this morning on a charge of felony battery. A cash-only bond has been set at $15,000.

At 4:18 a.m. Sept. 14, Porter, Chesterton, Burns Harbor, and Ogden Dunes police units responded to a 911 call at Mitchell’s residence. There they found Crouse on a couch with a 20-gauge shotgun wound to the upper half of his chest. Crouse was transported to Porter hospital for surgery and was then admitted.

Mitchell, herself, carrying the shotgun, had gone to a neighbor’s home for assistance and was taken into custody.

Det. Jason Casbon told the Chesterton Tribune last week that the initial investigation indicates that Mitchell shot Crouse during a domestic disturbance. Mitchell herself claimed self-defense and Casbon did say that Mitchell “had some injuries to her hands, scratches, which were not bleeding and had coagulated” at the time she was taken into custody.

Mitchell was subsequently charged with felony battery.

This morning Casbon told the Tribune that the shooting remains under investigation and that it’s too soon to say whether a different or an additional charge will be filed against Mitchell. That determination will be made after Thursday’s autopsy and in consultation with the Porter County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Casbon said.

Family members have indicated to investigators that Crouse was Mitchell’s ex-husband.

Crouse’s death, Harris noted, is the fifth homicide reported in Porter County this year:

•In April, Cynthia Cashner, 50, was found shot to death in her business in Portage. Her estranged husband, Fredrick Cashner, 54, of Jackson Township, was charged with murder.

•In June, Cheryl Miller, 52, was found shot to death at her home in Pleasant Township near Kouts in an apparent murder/suicide. Her estranged husband, Frederick Miller, 59, was found dead at the scene of a single gunshot wound to the head.

•Earlier this month, Sheri Jania, 45, a long-time bartender at the Shift Change Tap in Burns Harbor, was dragged to her death beneath a car driven by a motorist apparently trying to flee the business. James Lohman III, 49, has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury or death while operating while intoxicated.

•On Saturday, Amanda Bach, 19, of Portage, was found dead in Union Township, of a single gunshot wound to the throat. Dustin McCowan has been charged with murder.

Records indicate, Harris said, that the most homicides reported in Porter County in a single year is six.

 

 

Posted 9/21/2011