New Charges, Details, Suspect In SEI Burglaries; Suspect’s Mother Critical Of Police
By Mike Perleberg
(Dearborn County, Ind.) – Fourteen new counts of burglary have been filed in Dearborn County against a Dillsboro man and his girlfriend.
Dakota M. Fraley, 20, previously of Holton, was arrested May 21 after undercover officers conducting surveillance tried to apprehend him following an alleged break-in on Walters Road, which is located on the Dearborn County side of Sunman. Fraley then allegedly led a high speed chase faster than 100 MPH at times through Dearborn and Franklin counties in his mother’s pickup truck.
At one point during the pursuit, Fraley allegedly attempted to hit a Ripley County sheriff’s detective with the truck as he fled, leading an undercover Indiana State Police detective to fire shots towards Fraley’s getaway vehicle. Nobody was hit by the bullets, but the Ripley County detective did suffer a chipped tooth in avoiding being run over.
Fraley and his accomplice that day, Chad M. Sumler, 24, of Versailles, were charged with Burglary (Class B felony), Conspiracy to Commit Burglary (Class B felony) and Theft (Class D felony).
On Wednesday, June 18, prosecutors in Dearborn County filed a list of new charges against Fraley relating to a series of burglaries in the county between March and May. There are nine new counts of Burglary (Class B felony) and five counts of Conspiracy to Commit Burglary (Class B felony).
Fraley’s girlfriend, Michelle N. Hensley is also now charged for her role in several of the burglaries. She is charged with five counts of Burglary (Class B felony) and Conspiracy to Commit Burglary (Class B felony).
Each Class B felony charge is punishable by six to 20 years in prison.
During an initial appearance on the new charges in Dearborn Superior Court II on Thursday, Fraley was ordered held on a new bond of $750,000 surety and $50,000 cash. That’s in addition to his earlier bond of $200,000 surety and $2,500 cash on his initial charges.
A warrant remains out for Hensley’s arrest as of Friday.
Sumler, who told investigators that he only attended the burglary which police happened to break up, is not facing any new charges.
HOW DETECTIVES CAUGHT UP WITH THE SUSPECTS
New documents detailing the investigation by detectives with the Dearborn County Special Crimes Unit were also filed this week. The filings shows that Fraley and Hensley may have been committing the home break-ins in order to feed their heroin addictions.
The burglaries in Dearborn County occurred at homes in Dillsboro, Sunman, and Aurora starting March 7 and continuing through May 1. Multiple other burglaries were occurring in Ripley County in a similar time frame as recently as May 13.
According to a probable cause affidavit, detectives noted a particular modus operandi in each case: the burglar would kick through an exterior entry door or throw a large object through a window. Items such as jewelry, televisions, and firearms would then be targeted.
Detectives from the two counties collaborated and determined that a similar, distinctive shoe print was being found at each of the break-in scenes.
A break in the case came during an attempted daytime burglary in Ripley County on April 22. Fraley allegedly kicked in the door to a home while a resident was inside. The female homeowner got a look at Fraley’s vehicle – a black sports car with a spoiler – and at his face. Her description of the suspect to the sketch artist gave police a possible visual look at their man.
The Ripley County detective compared the sketch artist’s rendering of the suspect with Fraley, whom he knew to be involved in past burglaries in the county. The detective also knew Fraley to drive a black 2002 Toyota Celica, which is a two door sports car.
Detectives began conducting surveillance at Hensley’s home on South County Road 350 East in Dillsboro, according to the affidavit. They had gained information that Fraley was frequently there. Investigators with the Indiana State Police, Ripley County Sheriff’s Department, and Dearborn Ohio Counties Special Crimes Unit began to conduct surveillance on the home.
On May 21- the day of the chase and arrest – detectives watching Fraley saw him leave home in a Dodge Ram 2500 truck. Fraley’s mother says the truck belonged to her. He traveled to Walters Road in Sunman where he was allegedly observed prying open a side garage door. The chase began when detectives attempted to apprehend Fraley.
Following the pursuit and arrests, detectives obtained a search warrant for Hensley’s home where she lived with her parents. They also interviewed Hensley, who said she participated in at least five burglaries with her boyfriend, Fraley.
According to the affidavit, “Hensley stated that Fraley would instruct her to pull into a driveway, he would then exit the vehicle and knock on the door and if nobody answered he would force entry to the residence and if someone did answer he would act like he was lost and needed directions.”
Hensley went on to tell detectives that she knew that Fraley never wanted to commit a burglary in Dearborn County due to severe punishments handed down in Dearborn County for an offense like burglary.
On days that Fraley would allegedly commit burglaries without taking Hensley along, Fraley would tell his girlfriend that he would “go make money”. She would respond “be careful”, according to the affidavit.
Hensley told detectives that Fraley would pick her up immediately after committing a burglary and they would go to Cincinnati together. The items would be pawned off for cash or traded with drug dealers for heroin.
Hensley stated “they would receive approximately one to one and a half grams of heroin for a television and/or firearms.”
Detectives did track down a number of the items taken during the burglaries at pawn shops in Ohio. Hensley’s name was often on the receipts, which showed the items were traded for cash far less than their actual worth.
Using Verizon Wireless cell phone tower records obtained by warrant, detectives managed to determine that Fraley’s phone was in the area of each burglary during the approximate times.
FRALEY’S MOTHER DEMANDS ANSWERS, JUSTICE
Vanessa Hutchison is Fraley’s mother. She tells Eagle 99.3 that she is on a mission to find out what happened on the day her son was arrested.
In the wake of her son’s latest in a string of arrests, Hutchison filed a complaint against the Indiana State Police with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission on June 16. She alleges that she or her 20-year-old son have been discriminated against by the state police on the basis of retaliation that took place May 21.
The statement of allegations from Hutchison reads as follows:
“I am writing on behalf of my son, Dakota Fraley, who was shot at 5 or 6 times by an undercover officer with the Indiana State Police. I have reached out to the Versailles division and was referred to the State Division. No one will return my calls. I want to know how an unarmed young man can be shot at 6 times? Then how a persons home can be ‘taken over’ for 3 hours while awaiting a search warrant? According to the news throughout the State of Indiana, ISPD is getting very trigger happy. What my son did was not good, however neither were the actions of that officer. I am not a criminal, I am a mother. I deserve answers and closure. I am asking for your help. I will not stop until someone helps me. Regards, Vanessa Hutchison.”
Hutchison, who lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, said Thursday that the complaint has been referred to another organization by the ICRC.
Indiana State Police do have procedures to follow when a weapon is discharged outside of a practice range, even in situations where nobody was injured or killed. Sgt. Noel Houze with the ISP Versailles Post said the officer who fired the shots at Fraley was probably required to take a few days off while the incident was reviewed by ISP legal counsel.
“As far as ‘action’ he was subject to; our regulations require a Firearms Discharge Report be completed every time we discharge our weapons outside the shooting range. The discharge report and other evidence is reviewed by the ISP Chief Legal Counsel who determines if all policies were followed. He can also request a Firearms Review Board be convened to make that determination. If it is determined policies were followed, no other administrative action is required. If it is determined that policies were violated appropriate administrative action is taken,” Houze said in an email.
Houze added that in incidents such as the Fraley pursuit where shots are specifically fired at a person, all evidence, reports, and investigative findings are turned over to the prosecutor to determine if criminal charges are warranted.
Indiana State Police are asking that the officer who fired the shots not be identified, because he is an undercover detective. Doing so could jeopardize the trooper and his family, Houze said.