Township man who authorities say drove Thomas Reichler to the
hospital--after Reichler was shot in an exchange of gunfire with the man he
mortally wounded in a Portage front yard in December 2014--would avoid
prison time under a plea agreement.
According to court
documents, Nathaniel Todd Sipe, 21, has agreed to plead guilty to attempted
theft, in exchange for which he would be sentenced to one year in jail with
all but time already served--five actual days--suspended and the balance on
administrative probation. The other two charges filed against him, aiding a
criminal and theft, would be dismissed.
Attempted theft and
theft are Level 6 felonies, punishable by a term of six to 30 months; aiding
a criminal, a Level 5 felony, punishable by a term of one to six years.
As a condition of
probation, Sipe would be forbidden from having contact with Reichler and
Korey Izynski, the Porter man who police say actually stole the handgun
later used by Reichler to fatally shoot Alex Tapia.
police, early in the morning of Dec. 12, 2014, Reichler, 19, and Izynski,
20, were looking for unlocked vehicles in the 6000 block of Mill Run Ave.,
when Tapia, 36, armed with a handgun, surprised the three. Sipe and Izynski
fled but Reichler, still inside Tapia’s vehicle, was caught off-guard.
Tapia was able to
gain control of Reichler and attempted to lead him to the front porch of the
house to await the arrival of police officers. But Reichler, armed himself
with a handgun --which police say Izynski stole three days earlier from an
unlocked vehicle on Taylor Street in Chesterton--fired one round at Tapia’s
head, missing him, then a second into his torso, police said.
fire, hitting Reichler in the left wrist and right arm, prompting Reichler
to drop his weapon and flee down the street to where Sipe had parked his
vehicle, police said. Together the two waited as EMS treated Tapia, then
Sipe drove Reichler to a hospital in Michigan City for treatment.
A jury found
Reichler guilty of murder following a trial in August. Murder is punishable
by a term of 45 to 65 years, with an advisory term of 55 years. Under
Indiana Code, Reichler will be required to serve at least three-quarters of
his sentence, at least 41.25 years, that is, if sentenced to the advisory
sentenced to time served after pleading guilty last year to two counts of
theft. In November 2015 Izynski was charged with burglary, in an unconnected
case. That charge is pending.