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On Friday afternoon, Richard Doerscher of Dunlap was in court to plead guilty for offenses committed in August, 2013, where police were involved in a four-hour standoff which ended with the man setting fire to his house. He was charged with Domestic Battery in the Presence of a Child, and Strangulation, both of which are Class D felonies, as well as Animal Cruelty, a Class A misdemeanor, and Criminal Mischief, a Class B misdemeanor.

On August 16, 2013, Elkhart County Sheriff’s Patrol officers responded to a house on Melrose Place in Dunlap after a call to 911 for domestic violence. The officers met with the female resident outside the home, where she reported that her boyfriend and the father of her daughter, Richard Doerscher, had battered her and strangled her in the presence of her two-year-old daughter. She also reported that Doerscher kept guns in the house. When the officers approached the house to talk to Doerscher, he became irate and threatened the officers not to come into his home or he could shoot at them.

Out of an abundance of caution, the officers remained outside and tried to negotiate with Doerscher while calling for the assistance of the Elkhart County Emergency Services Unit, commonly referred to as the SWAT Team. County officers surrounded the residence and continued to try and negotiate while they obtained a search warrant for the home. When they had a warrant and announced this to Doerscher, he attempted to set fire to the house before surrendering himself. Doerscher was then arrested on suspicion of the crimes reported by his girlfriend.

When officers and Concord firefighters went into the home, however, they discovered that Doerscher had also set several small fires in various places around the house and burned many of his girlfriend’s belongings. Firefighters also discovered that Doerscher had locked his girlfriend’s dog in the basement before trying to burn the entire house down.

Doerscher was scheduled for a jury trial this coming Tuesday, November 4, in Elkhart County Superior Court One, which handles all felony domestic battery cases in Elkhart County, however, on Friday afternoon, he came to court with his attorney and pleaded guilty. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Dowd, who handled the case, assisted in taking Doerscher’s plea, which was made with no plea agreement and was to all charges, as charged. Doerscher is set to be sentenced on December 8, 2014.


“Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”