Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

January 3, 2014

Trials loom for six area defendants

Debbie Blankand Diane Raver The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Several trials for area individuals charged with murder or various felonies are scheduled to take place this year.

After at least one postponement, Batesville resident Benito Lopez, one of three owners of the former Acapulco Mexican Restaurant, Batesville, is scheduled to stand trial in Dearborn Circuit Court Monday, Jan. 6, at 9 a.m., according to administrative assistant Gerri Stutz.

Lopez, then 49, and another owner, Adolfo Lopez, then 43, Lawrenceburg, each were charged Sept. 24, 2012, with three felonies: corrupt business influence, conspiracy and identity deception. Benito Lopez was arrested Oct. 15, 2012, then released from the Dearborn County Jail, Lawrenceburg, after posting a $150,000 surety bond (paying 10 percent or $15,000 in cash) plus $5,000 in cash only.

Aaron Negangard, prosecutor for Dearborn and Ohio counties, said Jan. 22, 2013, he believes the pair are most to blame for alleged irregularities discovered at five southeastern Indiana Acapulco Mexican restaurants. “We found the records. They were keeping track of what they actually made vs. what they were reporting,” pocketing $4.4 million, about 30 percent, since 2008, according to him.

Convicted murderer David Ison’s accomplice, Amanda Napier, 36, Connersville, is in the Franklin County Security Center, Brookville, awaiting a March 17 trial, reports Franklin County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Huerkamp. “That doesn’t necessarily mean there’s going to be a trial that day. We probably won’t know until early March if that one is going forward to trial.”

Amanda Napier faces two Class B felony charges, conspiracy to deal a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. According to an information document filed in Franklin Circuit Court Oct. 16, 2012, she “did conspire with David Ison or Angie Napier to deliver Oxycontin” and Angie Napier texted her husband about the upcoming drug buy. “Amanda Napier further performed an overt act by accompanying David Ison to the Roy Napier residence so he could purchase the Oxycontin from Roy Napier.”

Ison, 48, Glenwood, pled guilty to killing Roy and Angie Napier, two of their children and a neighbor Sept. 25, 2011, at 24015 Stipps Hill Road, Laurel. He was sentenced by Franklin Circuit Court Judge Steven Cox to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole March 14, 2012.

On Jan. 5, 2013, three individuals, Allison Moore, then 22, and two 15-year-old males (Sean Nichols and Daniel Hodge) from Colerain Township, Cincinnati, were arrested for the Dec. 30, 2012, murder of Nancy Hershman, 68, Milan.

After breaking into Hershman’s house, the trio were confronted by her. During a struggle with a .40-caliber handgun, Moore allegedly shot Hershman in the head, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Ripley Circuit Court Jan. 7, 2013.

On Dec. 17, 2013, the defense’s motion for a change of venue for Moore was denied by the court, Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel revealed. In addition, the defense filed a motion for a test jury, which was also denied on that same day. Moore’s trial is set for March 31 at 9 a.m. in Ripley Circuit Court. The defendant is in the Ripley County Jail.

Hodge and Nichols, who also are incarcerated there, will be tried as adults in the same court. Hodge’s trial is set for July 7 at 9 a.m. Hertel said he is in negotiations with the defense regarding Nichols. A possible plea and sentencing is set for Jan. 28.

Jesse Sparks, 20, Laurel, was charged with two Class B felony counts of armed robbery and two Class D felony counts of theft after allegedly robbing two Ripley County establishments, Huck’s gas station, Batesville, and Youngman’s Marathon, Napoleon, Jan. 31, 2013. He was also charged with armed robbery and theft in Rush County. Now in the Ripley County Jail, his trial is set for Feb. 25 at 9 a.m. in Ripley Circuit Court, the prosecutor noted.