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November 16, 2012

Walton man charged with attempted murder

Seals faces new charges after August shooting

A 35-year-old Walton man has been charged with attempted murder three months after he was arrested for shooting at a truck and striking several homes in Walton.

Steven Seals was arrested Thursday on a warrant for attempted murder, a class A felony. He is accused of trying to kill Ramon Gonzalez of Walton as he drove by Seals’ home in the 500 block of Turner Terrace on Aug. 1. Seals was initially arrested in the early morning hours of Aug. 2 on a charge of aggravated battery, a class B felony, but now faces attempted murder as well as four other charges after a probable cause hearing Wednesday in front of Cass Superior Court II Judge Rick Maughmer.

According to the police narrative, Seals was involved in a verbal argument with Gonzalez at a gas station in Galveston when Gonzalez accused Seals of “making racial comments.” Later that evening, Seals reportedly called Gonzalez and asked him to come to his home to “settle things.” A witness reported that Seals had been handling a handgun since leaving the gas station and had said he would kill Gonzalez if he came back, according to the narrative.

When Gonzalez drove up, Seals reportedly fired 14 shots from his Rock River AR 15 semi-automatic, according to the narrative. Some of the bullets struck Gonzalez’s truck, while others struck nearby homes and vehicles, the narrative states.

Gonzalez was uninjured except for a small cut to his head.

Enyeart said he initially filed only the aggravated battery charge because Indiana law required him to prove “specific intent to kill” before filing an attempted murder charge.

“I wanted to do some extra work on that case,” Enyeart said.

Since the arrest, Enyeart said, he’s been working with police, including the Indiana State Police, to examine the evidence. Based on the investigation, he said, he believed he had the information needed to support the more serious charge.

Seals now faces five charges: attempted murder, a class A felony; three counts of criminal recklessness with a weapon, all class D felonies; and criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor. Seals could face a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison, Enyeart said.

The class D felonies are “a result of bullets going into people’s homes and/or garages,” Enyeart said. The criminal mischief charge is based on bullets striking other cars, he said.

In the narrative, Seals told police that he fired at Gonzalez only after Gonzalez had fired shots at him. But police reported finding no evidence that Gonzalez possessed a weapon.

Several weapons were also found on Seals at the time of his August arrest, and he reportedly told police that he would have killed Gonzalez with a different gun.

“If I would have used my Glock, I would have killed him,” Seals is reported to have said.

Enyeart also filed a motion Wednesday requiring Seals to “relinquish possession of any firearms” and not to use firearms during the course of the case.

Seals remains in the Cass County Jail on a bond of $10,000 cash or $50,000 surety.

He is scheduled for an initial hearing today in Cass Superior Court II.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

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