Convicted child killer, sex offender released from La Porte Co. Jail

Published: Feb. 1, 2017 at 11:03 AM EST
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A convicted murderer and child molester has been released from the La Porte County Jail.

Richard Dobeski was only 16 when he was convicted of killing a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old in the La Porte County community of Long Beach in 1964. He was sentenced to 40 years for that crime.

After his release, he spent time behind bars for molesting a 7-year-old boy in Westville and for possessing child pornography. He was sentenced for those crimes in April 2008.

Once he was released, Dobeski was charged in both La Porte County and Marion County on July 23, 2015, for a criminal offense of failure to register as a sex offender.

Dobeski had remained in custody since that time.

Last month, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed Dobeski's conviction for failing to register in Marion County. His time served for that conviction was credited to his La Porte County sentence.

Dobeski was released from custody on Monday.

From La Porte County Prosecuting Attorney John M. Espar:

This press release is made in response to multiple media inquiries regarding the matter of State v. Richard Dobeski, as a result of the fact that the Defendant Dobeski was released from custody of the LaPorte County Jail after a hearing on January 30, 2017. The memorandum is to provide information as to the circumstances of the release, to correct erroneous information, and to aid in an accurate understanding by members of the general public.

Defendant Richard Dobeski, was charged in both LaPorte County and Marion County on July 23, 2015, for the criminal offense(s) of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, Level 6 Felony, in cause 49G15-1507-F6-26077 (Marion County) and 46C01-1507-F6-0064 (LaPorte County). The charges in Marion County and LaPorte County were both filed for the Defendant’s alleged failure to register from a time period between July 16, 2015 and July 23, 2015;

On July 23, 2015, the Office of the LaPorte County Prosecuting Attorney filed charges and obtained an arrest warrant for the Defendant for under cause 46C01-1507-F6-0064. The allegation includes a claim that the Defendant was present in LaPorte County, before returning to Marion County. (Under Indiana law, an offense may occur in each jurisdiction where a defendant is located or resides after failing to register.) On July 23, 2015, after issuance of the arrest warrant in cause 46C01-1507-F6-00064, the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department, in accordance with standard practices, requested that a “hold” be placed on the Defendant, who was, at that time, in the custody of the authorities in Marion County.

Defendant has remained in the custody of the Marion County and/or the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department since July 23, 2015. The Defendant was tried and convicted for the offense of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, Level 6 Felony, in Marion County; He was thereafter transported to LaPorte County, to face the charge(s) pending in this county.

On December 12, 2016, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the Defendant’s conviction for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender under Marion County cause 49G15-1507-F6-26077; (See Court of Appeals case 49A02-1603-CR-440).

Based on controlling legal authority in Indiana, including Richeson v. State, 648 NE2d 384 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995), Nutt v. State, 451 NE2d 342 (Ind. Ct. App. 1983), and Purdue v. State, 51 NE3d 432 (Ind. Ct. App 2016), the Defendant is entitled to credit for his time served in custody for any offenses where he is arrested or held by a jurisdiction if the time served is “related to” the charges.

In this matter, the Defendant was held for the charges in LaPorte County beginning on July 23, 2015, and the circumstances were for the same alleged time period of “failure to register” relied upon in the Marion county case.

If the Defendant had been convicted in both counties, the State could have argued for “consecutive” or back-to-back sentences; However, because the Defendant’s Marion County conviction in cause 49G15-1507-F6-26077 has been reversed and his sentence vacated, the time Defendant has served must be credited to any possible sentence in LaPorte County.

The Defendant is charged with a Level 6 Felony under cause 46C01-1507-F6-00064; The maximum penalty for a level 6 Felony is 2.5 years; In Indiana, an offender is entitled to “day for day credit” for a Level 6 Felony, resulting in a sentence of 1.25 years in “real time.” (See I.C. 35-50-6.) Therefore, because the Defendant’s jail credit applies to the matter in LaPorte County, the Defendant has now served the maximum amount of jail time possible under the LaPorte County cause 46C01-1507-F6-00064 in the event he is convicted; His release was therefore required.

The LaPorte County matter, 46C01-1507-F6-00064, remains pending. Because the matter remains pending, the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney can make no further comment as to the facts and circumstances of the investigation.

***A charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.***