Chesterton Tribune



Jackson man pleas to attempted theft charge in case that left man dead

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The Jackson 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.

According to 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.

Tapia returned 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 term.

Izynski was 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.



Posted 9/16/2016




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