Winamac man accused of arson and burglary in Marshall County to plead guilty in Starke County drug case

Joshua HopperPatrinia Hall
Shawn McGrath
Staff Writer

A Winamac man accused of setting fire to a Marshall County home during a burglary has agreed to plead guilty in connection with a drug dealing case in Starke County.

The Starke County Prosecutor’s Office charged Joshua A. Hopper, 38, with dealing methamphetamine, possessing meth, dealing cocaine, possessing cocaine, unlawful possession of syringe and a misdemeanor count of possession of paraphernalia in March 2018.

The circumstances surrounding the alleged crimes wasn’t immediately available, but they took place about a week before the charges were filed.

Last week, Hopper filed a plea agreement in connection with the case. The terms of the agreement weren’t available. He is scheduled to plead guilty and be sentenced during a hearing set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 17, in Starke Circuit Court.

In Marshall County, Hopper and Patrinia D. Hall, 37, of Knox, are both charged with arson, burglary, theft and theft of a firearm.

The couple is accused of breaking into a home in the 11000 block of 6th Road, Plymouth, on March 12, 2018, stealing items and then setting the residence on fire.

Former Marshall County sheriff’s Det. Lt. Duane Culp previously said a passing driver spotted flames coming from the three-bedroom home along 6th Road at about 3:20 a.m. and called emergency dispatchers.

Flames and heavy smoke were coming from the residence when sheriff’s deputies and members of the LaPaz Fire Department arrived.

Firefighters from Plymouth, Bremen and Polk Township fire departments were also called to the scene, Culp said in a news release.

The home’s occupants were not at the residence when the fire started.

According to court documents:

When first responders got to the scene, they found the home had been ransacked and various tools scattered about the yard.

Responders found gas cans inside the home as well as a large, pried-open safe on its side. Gold bars, silver coins, jewelry and firearms were taken from the safe.

MCSD Det. Sgt. Jeff Snyder found a pair of cigarette butts in the garage and turned them over to the Indiana State Police’s crime lab. DNA on the cigarette butts matched to Joshua Hopper.

Snyder determined Hopper and Hall sold silver and jewelry at a Chicago pawn shop a couple of days after the burglary.

North Judson police arrested Hopper and Hall nine days after the 6th Road burglary.

Like Hopper, Starke County prosecutors charged her with dealing methamphetamine, possessing meth, dealing cocaine, possessing cocaine, unlawful possession of a syringe and possession of paraphernalia in connection with the North Judson arrest. Hall is also charged with maintaining a common nuisance.

Hall’s first name is listed as “Patrina” according to the Starke County Jail and court records and “Patrinia” according to Marshall County court filings.

The most serious charge the couple faces in Starke County is the dealing meth count, which is a Level 2 felony punishable by 10-30 years if found guilty.

The most serious charges they face in Marshall County are the arson and burglary counts, which are both Level 4 felonies that carry a sentence of two to 12 years if convicted.

Neither Hopper nor Hall has a trial date yet set in Marshall County. As well, a trial date has not yet been set in Starke County for Hall.