SJC records 21 homicides in 2012, higher than last four years

As we approach the end of the year, the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's office is calling attention to a heavy load of murder cases. Since Jan. 1, 2012, Metro Homicide investigators have been called out 21 times, that's once every 16 days.

On Jan. 18, detectives were called to their first murder scene on a dark-snowy morning. There they found Deshone Caradine, 42, brutally stabbed to death inside her apartment along the 100 block of Eddy St. in South Bend. Police later arrested Caradine’s estranged boyfriend, Manuel Clemon, 44, in Chicago for the vicious crime.

Since then, not one month has passed without someone being shot, stabbed or beaten to death in St. Joseph County, the fifth most populated county in the Hoosier State.

According to data collected by Prosecutor Mike Dvorak’s office, six of the 21 murder victims this year were teenagers: Alejandro Tinoco, 19, Jazmin Conlee, 19, Christopher Simril, 18, Kenneth Horton, 16, Charles Roberts, 18, and Jhaelon Johnson, 16.

“There’s a notion that the majority of violence involves youth-on-youth crime, these numbers don’t show that,” Dvorak said during a Monday afternoon phone interview.

While most murder cases have one just victim, 2012 brought four double homicides to St. Joseph County: Alejandro Tinoco, 19, & Jazmin Conlee, 19, --- Kalyn Farmer, 21, & Mercede Newbill, 22, --- Matthew Clippinger, 43, & Lisa Clippinger, 41, --- Donald Paris, 55, & Johnnie Avance, 53.

Per protocol, the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit, led by Commander Tim Corbett, spearheads every murder investigation. As of Dec. 10, detectives have made an arrest and the prosecutor’s office has subsequently filed charges in 70.3 percent of 2012 homicides. Only five cases remain open, two of which are less than one week old: Andre Byrd, 42, and Darrell Laurence, 49.

South Bend, with 101,081 residents as of the July 2011 Census, had the lion’s share of 2012 homicides at 18. Mishawaka, population 48,212, had the remaining three homicide cases.

“While Part 1 crimes are down 20 percent from last year, the homicide rate this year is troubling. These gun crimes, especially with young offenders in our community, are unacceptable. The mayor’s office is working with community stakeholders and interim Chief Chuck Hurley to reduce these acts of violence. The next chief of the South Bend Police Department will also have a key leadership role in developing strategies to take more guns off the streets,” Mayor Pete Buttigieg said.

Police say although many murders are connected to lifestyle choices like drug use or gang involvement, some are not. Take for example Lisa and Matthew Clippinger of Mishawaka.

On June 2, the couple was gunned down inside their E. 11th St. home, as their two teenage children hid in a locked bedroom. Detectives later arrested Matt’s brother Stephen Clippenger, 41, for the heinous crime. It is alleged Matt confronted his brother, a former convict, for carrying a revolver and immediately confiscated it. An argument broke out before Stephen left only to return later with a second weapon and open fire. His double murder trial is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2013 in St. Joseph County Court.

But are 2012 statistics unique; according to recent history, yes. In 2011, St. Joseph County recorded 16 homicides. Compare that to nine in 2010 and 19 in both 2009 and 2008.

Darrell Laurence, 49, was victim 21 for 2012. Police say around 10 a.m. Saturday, someone shot Laurence in a rear stairwell leading to his second floor apartment in the 2000 block of S. Kembel Ave., on South Bend’s south side.

Neighbors told NewsCenter 16 they heard five loud "pops" and quickly ran outside to find a black man, wearing a black hoodie, walking down an alleyway toward S. Catalpa St. The gunman is still at large.

1.) Deshone Caradine, 42, --- Jan. 18, 2012 --- Manuel Clemon, 44, arrested and charged.

2.) Alejandro Tinoco, 19, & Jazmin Conlee, 19, --- Jan. 25, 2012 --- Jermon Gavin, 21, & Charles Moore, 26, arrested and charged.

3.) Christopher Simril, 18, --- Feb. 26, 2012 --- killer remains at large.

4.) Michael Mumford, 56, --- March 30, 2012 --- Andrew Wright, 35, arrested and charged.

5.) Kenneth Horton, 16, --- April 6, 2012 --- killer remains at large.

6.) Kalyn Farmer, 21, & Mercede Newbill, 22, --- May 6, 2012 --- Dabian Boyd, 18, arrested and charged.

7.) Matthew Clippinger, 43, & Lisa Clippinger, 41, --- June 2, 2012 --- Stephen Clippenger, 41, & Jenifer Leveque, 40, arrested and charged.

8.) Freddie Smith, 29, --- June 28, 2012 --- Steven Knobles, 24, arrested and charged.

9.) Charles Roberts, 18, --- July 20, 2012 --- killer remains at large.

10.) Donald Paris, 55, & Johnnie Avance, 53, --- Aug. 19, 2012 --- Brandon Biffle, 29, arrested and charged.

11.) Trina Winston, 44, --- Aug. 19, 2012 – Tarrence Lee, 49, arrested and charged.

12.) Cesar Flores, 32, --- Sept. 9, 2012 --- Ramon Deleon, 24, arrested and charged.

13.) Jhaelon Johnson, 16, --- Sept. 15, 2012 --- Damontray Lovelady, 17, arrested and charged.

14.) Victor Richmond, 51, --- Oct. 22, 2012 --- George Howell, 45, arrested and charged.

15.) Mack Caldwell, 51, --- Nov. 9, 2012 --- Rayterrior Wheeler, 16, & Herbert Brown III, 18, arrested and charged.

16.) Andre Byrd, 42, --- Dec. 6, 2012 --- killer remains at large.

17.) Darrell Laurence, 49, --- Dec. 8, 2012 --- killer remains at large.


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