On June 4, 2014 an Elkhart County jury found Roger Hartman, of Osceola, St Joseph County, guilty of Strangulation, a Class D felony and Battery, a Class A misdemeanor. The jury convicted Mr. Hartman after hearing evidence Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning regarding an incident in Elkhart County. 

According to evidence introduced in trial, on September 30, 2012, in the midst of a divorce, Hartman’s wife was moving out of their home and into a basement apartment in a home on the outskirts of Goshen. While his wife was moving in and being helped by their twin ten-year-old children and another female friend, Hartman visited the apartment and was asked to leave. Later that night, according to witness testimony, Hartman returned to the apartment smelling of alcohol and flew into a rage, demanding that his children leave with him. When the female friend tried to calm him down, Hartman grabbed and twisted her finger before wrestling her to the ground, where he grabbed her around the throat with both hands and strangled her – in front of his children and wife. 

Hartman’s wife and children were able to stop the altercation; however, a moment later, Hartman again grabbed the victim, cutting off her breathing, until the homeowner was able to intervene. The victim was then able to leave the home and call the police.  At trial, the victim testified that she was terrified that she was not going to survive the incident.

The jury heard testimony not only from the victim and the homeowner but also former Elkhart County Sheriff’s Patrolman Don Bader.  Bader testified how traumatized the victim had been and how he investigated and pursued the case for several days, before ultimately arresting Hartman at his home in Osceola with the assistance of the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Dowd also presented pictures to the jury of the victim’s injuries, where Hartman had kneeled on her while strangling her, as well as aerial pictures of the home to illustrate how Hartman had parked out of view of the home and stealthily entered through the basement door in the darkness.

The case was tried by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Dowd in Elkhart County Superior Court One in front of Judge Dean Burton. Sentencing is scheduled for July 14, 2014.


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