Media Contact: Curtis T. Hill, Jr. (574) 296-1888

On June 25, 2014, an Elkhart County jury called in Superior Court 3 convicted Jonathan McPherson, of Elkhart, of dealing cocaine across the street from a local church-sponsored youth club.  In a three-part trial the jury found McPherson guilty of a total of four counts including two counts of dealing cocaine within one thousand feet of a youth program center, a Class A felony; maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony; and possession of a firearm by a serious violent offender, a Class B felony; as well as of being a habitual criminal offender.

The Elkhart Police Department Drug Unit began investigating McPherson in May of 2012 after learning that he may be dealing cocaine at a house on Brady Street in Elkhart, which was discovered to be across the street from a local youth club building.  The drug unit conducted two controlled buys of cocaine from McPherson at the house on Brady Street before obtaining and executing a search warrant at the house on May 30, 2012.

During the three day trial, the jury heard testimony from the team of officers from the Elkhart Police Drug Unit who detailed the process of conducting the controlled buys.  Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Dowd then presented to the jury the list of drug-related items that were recovered from the home, including a handgun, ammunition, digital scales, cocaine residue, baggies for selling the cocaine, and hundreds of dollars in drug proceeds. Elkhart Police Detective Freel testified to his personal familiarity with the youth club across the street from McPherson’s cocaine operation, where the club hosts recreational events for kids every Wednesday evening.

In order to ensure a fair trial, the court held a second phase on the serious violent felon charge. During that phase of the trial, the jury heard that McPherson was previously convicted of dealing cocaine.  For the same reason, the court held a special, third phase of the trial, in order to present additional evidence of another of McPherson’s prior felony convictions to support the habitual criminal offender enhancement.  Such a three-part or “trifurcated” trial is relatively unusual but necessary to protect the constitutional rights of a criminal defendant.

This trial was handled by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Dowd before Judge George Biddlecome in Elkhart Superior Court 3. McPherson faces a maximum of one hundred years in the Indiana Department of Correction and will be sentenced on July 25 in the courtroom at the Elkhart County Jail.


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