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After deliberating just over one hour, on Thursday July 30, 2015 an Elkhart Superior Court 2 jury found Harold “Gene” Chastain guilty of Intimidation, a Class C felony; Pointing a Firearm, a Class D felony; and Battery, a Class B misdemeanor. The charges resulted from an incident in the parking lot of the Elkhart's Between the Buns restaurant in March of 2013.

Around dinner time on March 8, 2013, then-seventeen-year-old Justin Beegle was at Between the Buns for a family birthday dinner. As he and his family were standing outside chatting while waiting on a dinner table, Justin Beegle heard a man shouting at a female in the parking lot. When Justin Beegle looked toward the commotion, he saw a man, later identified as the defendant, shove a woman, later identified as the defendant’s girlfriend, Tracy Wilmore. Other individuals in the parking lot, all of whom testified at the trial, also heard the defendant shout threats at Ms. Wilmore and push her. Justin Beegle, who testified that he was raised to believe that no man should beat a woman, walked over to the altercation in order to come to Tracy Wilmore’s rescue.

According to Justin Beegle, when he interrupted the fight and was standing approximately twenty feet from the defendant, the defendant cussed at him and then pulled out a semi-automatic handgun from his truck. The defendant then “racked” the gun and pointed it directly at Justin Beegle, threatening to shoot him. The defendant then got in his truck and sped out of the parking lot, leaving his girlfriend behind. Wilmore thanked Justin Beegle and shook his hand, then left the parking lot. The defendant was subsequently arrested.

The defense claimed that while the defendant did, in fact, pull out a handgun from his truck, he merely emptied the magazine/clip containing bullets, thereby unloading the gun – despite the fact that Justin Beegle was allegedly threatening the defendant with a knife. The State of Indiana, represented by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Eric Ditton, pointed out that none of the State’s or the defense’s witnesses ever saw a knife in Justin Beegle’s hand. In addition, the State argued that it made no sense that the defendant would pull out his gun and unload it if Justin Beegle was threatening him with a knife.

At the end of the three day trial the jury rejected the self-defense claim and found Chastain guilty of all three charges. Sentencing is scheduled for September 14, 2015 in Elkhart Superior Court 2.


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