Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Long Beach, IN: Long Beach man charged with voluntary manslaughter

MICHIGAN CITY — The La Porte County Prosecutor’s office has charged John Brennan Larkin, 47, 2913 Lothair Way, Long Beach, Ind., with voluntary manslaughter in the death of his wife, Stacey R. Larkin, 41, who was found dead at their home at about 7:20 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11.

According to Long Beach police, at about 7:15 p.m. Dec. 11, police responded to 2913 Lothair Way in Long Beach on a report of a woman being shot in the chest. The shooting was reported by an unknown caller who told police that a woman had been shot, and then hung up.

As police officers were dispatched, it was reported that children in the home had fled to a neighbor’s home nearby. Long Beach Police Chief Bob Sulkowski later said the couple’s children were being cared for by neighbors and members of the victim’s family.

Neighbors expressed sadness and surprise at what occurred.

“It’s just a horrible thing,” said Jane Scott, who lives across the street from the home where the shooting took place. Scott said four children all under the age of 14 were living in the home.

She didn’t know the family very well but did say hello to them whenever she saw them while checking her mail or doing something else outside.

“They seemed like normal people,” said Scott.

“They had four lovely kids,” said another neighbor, Richard Sweney, who was familiar enough with the family to know the couple’s children on a first-name basis.

“I went out to turn on my Christmas lights and saw the street was full of police cars,” said Sweney.

Sweney said fatal shootings are reported in the news from different areas of the country on a regular basis, and to have someone shot to death so close to his home is disheartening.

“It’s a bummer because we are in a nice neighborhood and then you have the same thing next door. It’s pretty awful,” said Sweney.

Stacey Larkin was a registered nurse at Franciscan St. Anthony Health in the Intensive Care Unit.

John Larkin was a candidate for one of the Long Beach Town Council at-large seats in 2011, but lost by three votes. Public records indicate he worked in real estate. A John Larkin was listed an as “office associate” on the website for Crawford Group Sotheby’s International Realty in New Buffalo.

La Porte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi interviewed John Larkin on Thursday afternoon, Dec. 13, before notifying the media by phone of the charge he planned to file in the case. At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Lt. Todd Bullis and Officer Michael Chastain, assisted by Deputy Prosecutor Rob Neary, testified in a probable cause hearing in La Porte Superior Court 1 before Judge Kathleen Lang, who found probable cause for the voluntary manslaughter charge.

Voluntary manslaughter is defined as the unjustified unexcused intentional killing of a human being by another person without malice aforethought and with heat of passion.

On Dec. 13, La Porte County Coroner John Sullivan said Stacey Larkin’s manner of death is being listed as “homicide” as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.

Sulkowski said the incident appeared to be a domestic dispute. Sulkowski said police are continuing the investigation and could not comment further on the details of what led up to the shooting.

John Larkin reportedly bonded out of the La Porte County Jail on Friday, Dec. 14, by posting a $10,000 cash bond with the La Porte County clerk. He had been in custody in the La Porte County Jail since early Wednesday morning, Dec. 12.

His initial hearing in La Porte Superior Court 1 in Michigan City was set for Thursday, Dec. 20.

Assisting Long Beach Police in the investigation, in addition to Michigan City Police and La Porte County Sheriff deputies, were the prosecutor’s office, coroner’s office, La Porte County Emergency Medical Service and the Long Beach Fire Department.

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