Chesterton Tribune



Porter man pleads to theft agrees to testify against accused murderer

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The Porter man who police say actually stole the handgun allegedly used by another Porter man to fatally shoot a Portage resident in December--during a vehicle entry gone bad--would see only six months in jail, under a plea deal struck with the Porter County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Under that deal, Korey Brandon Izynski, 19, with a listed address of 637 Wood St., would plead guilty to a single count of Level 6 theft, in exchange for which two other Level 6 counts--theft and attempted theft--would be dismissed.

Izynski would then be sentenced to the maximum term for a Level 6 offense--two and a half years--but with two years of that sentence suspended and served on formal probation. The six non-suspended months Izynski would serve in the Porter County Jail, where Izynski’s been held since his arrest on Dec. 12.

Prosecuting Attorney Brian Gensel did confirm on Tuesday that, as a condition of the deal, Izynski will be required to testify in the murder trial of Thomas Elliot Reichler, accused of shooting to death Alex Tapia after Tapia confronted him in the act of stealing from the man’s vehicle.

The handgun which police say Reichler used in the shooting--a Ruger 9mm LC9--had been reported stolen only three days earlier from a Chesterton resident’s unlocked vehicle, parked in the 600 block of North Calumet Road.

Police say further that Izynski is in fact the one who stole the Ruger but later traded it to Reichler for a FN Herstal semi-automatic pistol which Reichler had stolen only two hours before the shooting, from a vehicle parked in the 100 block of Taylor Street in Chesterton.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by Portage Police, the shooting occurred around 5:30 a.m. Dec. 12, after Tapia, a resident of the 6000 block of Mill Run Ave., heard his dog bark and was alerted to three male subjects entering a car parked in his driveway. Tapia confronted them and yelled “Freeze,” prompting two of them--later identified as Izynski and Nathaniel Todd Sipe, 19, with a listed address of 677 E. U.S. Highway 6 in Jackson Township--to flee on foot, police said. But Reichler, still inside the vehicle, was unable to follow his confederates and Tapia “was able to gain control of him,” police said.

Tapia was leading Reichler to his porch, pending the arrival of officers, when “a scuffle ensued,” during which Reichler fired one round from the Ruger, striking Tapia in the torso, police said. Tapia, who was himself armed, returned fire, shooting at least twice and hitting Reichler above the left wrist and in the right arm, police said.

Reichler dropped the Ruger at the scene, police said, and fled down the street to where Izynski had parked his vehicle and together the two waited while EMS personnel treated Tapia, police said. Izynski then drove Reichler to Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Michigan City, where Reichler was treated for his wounds.

“Prior to the shooting, the three admitted to breaking into approximately 15 cars in Portage,” police said.

Reichler, 18, with a listed address of 405 Strongbow Trail, is charged with murder, attempted theft, and possession of stolen property.

Sipe is charged with theft.

Izynski was also initially charged with assisting a criminal committing murder but in February Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa accepted the state’s motion to dismiss that charge. At the same hearing in February Alexa set bond for Izynski at $10,000 surety and $1,500 cash. Izynski, unable to make that bond, has remained jailed. Sentencing is scheduled for April 24.

Prosecuting Attorney Gensel told the Tribune that the state’s case against Reichler is a solid one and not in need of Izynski’s testimony, which under the circumstances Gensel referred to as “icing on the cake.”


Posted 4/2/2015




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