AUBURN, Ind. (WANE) - Sometimes the newscasters become part of the stories they cover. That was the case when Alyssa Ivanson was called to testify in Michael Stafford's trial in DeKalb County this week.
"Whenever I can use someone outside law enforcement to make my case I do," ClaraMary Winebrenner, the DeKalb County prosecutor, said.
On March 29, 2012, Stafford had his initial hearing in court. He was charged with five felonies in a sexual assault case. On the way into the courthouse from the jail, Ivanson asked him questions about the accusations against him. His answers caught Winebrenner's attention.
"In this kind of case, the real issue is identity and he nailed that down when he said it was consensual," she said. "He also pretty well established it was a sex crime. Consensual? You don't say it was consensual for a conversation."
The news clip admitted into evidence wasn't very long, but Ivanson had to testify to give it what courts call foundation.
"You are establishing that it is what you say it its That it is what it purports to be. It was pretty clear it was a news clip which is why I asked you like four questions," Winebrenner said.
Most of the questions were about Ivanson's job and training as a reporter and that the news media doesn't work on behalf of the police or government.
Chief Public Defender in DeKalb County Dan Pappas objected to the news clip being admitted because Stafford's case already stipulated it was consensual. The judge overruled the objection.
"In my opinion [the video clip] was a huge part of [my case]. It's my belief he wouldn't have stipulated those facts if we didn't have your video," Winebrenner said. "My thought was it really painted a picture for the jury that they needed to see. It was helpful to see the defendant in his own words say it was consensual rather than have his attorney read something we've all agreed to."
This was the first time Winebrenner has called a journalist to the stand. Pappas said, in his experience, members of the media are usually only called to testify in a change of venue motion to discuss the scope of news coverage of a case. Pappas added he's not likely to use news clips as evidence.
"Usually don't like to use that because the defendant has the right to remain silent," Pappas said.
The jury found Stafford guilty on all five felony charges:
Criminal Deviate Conduct: Class A Felony
Kidnapping: Class A Felony
Burglary: Class B Felony
Criminal Confinement: Class B Felony
Robbery While Armed with a Deadly Weapon: Class B Felony
His sentencing is scheduled for March 22. He has 30 days from then to file an appeal if he so chooses.
U.S. Census data shows that one Fort Wayne neighborhood is among the poorest in the state, and it the poverty rate has a direct correlation the rising crime statistics.
It was something that was never supposed to happen. A veteran who killed a woman in Indianapolis then took his own life was buried with full military honors. Since that day, the victim's family has been advocating against it.
The house fire affected traffic on U.S. 33 just north of Churubusco for over an hour. All lanes were back open less than two hours after the fire was called in.
Police said speed appeared to be a factor in a crash that all the occupants of the car seriously injured.
Three intersections on the north side of the city will have new left-turn signals that with a flashing yellow arrow. The new signals will be activated in January.
A plan is in the works to move Cindy's Diner from its current location in downtown Fort Wayne to another location one block northwest from its current location. The iconic restaurant has been a fixture downtown since 1990.
Former Komets executive, owner, general manager and coach Ken Ullyot passed away Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, at the age of 92.
The organization claims such legislation would hamper the city's ability to grow economically and that Fort Wayne should be "competitive on a national level and be recognized as a community that thrives on diversity, innovation, and inclusion,”
A state commission seeking ways to improve the lives of Indiana's most vulnerable children is forming a task force to investigate whether there's a link between methamphetamine arrests and child welfare cases.
Scammers are claiming to be from a law enforcement agency and are threatening to arrest victims if they don't pay the fine for an alleged crime or debt.
The free course will go over the laws and regulations about squirrel hunting and will teach attendees how to field dress and prepare squirrels for the table.
The Allen County Sheriff's Department arrested two people for having and making meth on Monday and Wednesday.
People across Indiana are bundling up against colder temperatures than parts of the state saw in either of the past two winters.
Tesla has opened two charging stations in northern Indiana, one of them at a hotel in Angola, as it works to establish a network of such stops across the country for its electric cars.
Fort Wayne police are looking for a man who is suspected of robbing a local bar early Thursday morning.