Former Culver resident sentenced to 32 years

Former Culver resident Russell Prosser, Jr., has been sentenced to a total of 32 years in prison after last month's felony jury conviction.

Marshall County Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman argued for the maximum sentence available, with Special Judge Michael Reed of Kosciusko County, who sat Friday in Marshall Superior Court No. 2, largely in agreement. Prosser was sentenced to 13 years on a B felony possession of a firearm, with a 15 year enhancement as a habitual offender. The sentence was made consecutive to Prosser’s existing sentence of four years, totaling 32.

Prosser, 44, of South Bend and formerly of Culver, was convicted after a Marshall County jury heard two days of testimony and evidence in February and returned a verdict of guilty after deliberating close to five hours. The gun possessed by Prosser was a .22 semi-automatic rifle found in the bed of a pick-up truck in which he was sole occupant. The jury acquitted him of a second count of Possession of a flint lock pistol found under the driver’s seat of the truck.

Chipman represented the State of Indiana for the first phase of the gun trial while Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tami Napier presented the State’s case on the Habitual Offender charge. Matthew Sarber of the law firm of Lukenbill and Lukenbill represented Prosser.

The case began in the early morning hours of Dec. 9, 2013, when a pick-up truck was located in the MacDonald’s parking lot in LaPaz, with Russell Prosser sleeping inside and a semi-automatic rifle in the bed. His boots had the same tread pattern as footprints in the snow in Culver where several cars had been broken into. A previous serious violent felony from a 1990 Culver robbery while armed with a deadly weapon had already led to a 10 year prison sentence for Prosser.

That being the case it's illegal for Prosser to possess a firearm. That charge was added to counts of theft, possession of stolen property, and unauthorized entry into motor vehicles earlier that night in Culver. A trial in October, 2014 convicted him of all 10 counts alleged, with Culver police officers Troy Ulch and Chad Becker instrumental in the success of the case.

The firearm case had been separated from the Culver case for technical reasons of not letting the first jury hear Prosser had a prior felony conviction. The State was represented at that trial by then Chief Deputy Prosecutor Nelson Chipman, and Prosser was represented by Sarber and Jere Humphrey. Prosser was sentenced in that case to the maximum under the law of four years of imprisonment.

“The citizens of Marshall County can be very proud of the law enforcement officers involved in catching Russell Prosser and putting the case together with compelling evidence," said Chipman. "And the people on both juries saw through all the evidence in order to hold Russell Prosser accountable for a lifetime of criminal activity. He has literally been a scourge upon our community since his first adult conviction in 1988. It is my hope that no one will be victimized by Russell Prosser for a long, long time.”