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Two Niles men sentenced on assault charges

NILES – Two assaultive situations in the city of Niles last year have resulted in one man being sentenced to prison and another given the chance to serve a probationary term in action Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.

Michael Jasper, 56, of Sycamore Street in Niles, pleaded guilty to resisting and obstructing police as a habitual offender and second offense domestic violence and was sentenced to credit for time served and $50 for domestic violence and 24 months to 15 years and $198 for resisting and obstructing police. He has credit for 186 days served.

The incident occurred Aug. 23, 2019, when he assaulted and choked a woman at a residence on Eagle Street in Niles while he was intoxicated and then fled from police. He was eventually found hiding underneath a trailer on Regent Street.

Prosecutor Gerald Vigansky called Jasper a “conman” and “smooth talker” who continued to have contact with his victim even when ordered not to.

“He was ordered not to have contact with the victim but instead made 35 contacts with her,” he said. “He’s telling the court, ‘screw it, I can do whatever I want.’”

Jasper called the victim “his whole world” and apologized to her and to the court.

“I made a big mistake. I’m willing to pay, but I don’t think prison will work,” he said. “This is my last chance for rebuilding my life. I fight my demon addiction every day. I lost it after I lost my son and granddaughter.”

Berrien County Trial Judge Sterling Schrock noted Jasper’s past record, which included 10 felonies.

“You made your choices and built up your record. Now, you must suffer the consequences,” he said.

A Niles man who assaulted neighbors after they accused him of driving recklessly was given the chance to stay out of prison.

Gage P. Unger, 26, of N. Sixth Street in Niles, pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and was sentenced to two years’ probation in the Swift & Sure program, 180 days in jail, completion of the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program and $438 in fines and costs. He can enter KPEP after serving 90 days in jail.

The incident occurred Aug. 25 when he threatened his neighbors with a knife after they confronted him about driving recklessly through a N. Sixth Street neighborhood in Niles.

Berrien County Assistant Prosecutor Nick Deryke asked for a prison sentence, noting Unger’s past record and the seriousness of this crime. Deryke said Unger was not only driving recklessly but also yelling racial slurs at the victims.

Unger apologized to his neighbors and to the court.

“I’m very disappointed in myself and getting back in the court system,” he said. “I ask to be able to provide for my family and keep my job.”

Judge Schrock noted that Unger’s past record includes 2011 convictions for criminal sexual conduct, a 2013 conviction for resisting and obstructing police, 2014 convictions for failing to register as a sex offender, possession of marijuana and larceny and 2016 convictions for failing to register, larceny, marijuana and possession of burglar tools.

“In 20/20 hindsight, you now want to protect your family and your job,” the judge said. “It’s too little, too late. I would be remiss not to incarcerate you. The tragedy is you didn’t think of your family when you did this.”

In another sentencing, a Niles woman was sentenced to probation after robbing a man she met online.

Alexis Robertson, 18, of Broadway in Niles, pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery and was sentenced to two years’ probation, credit for four days served, 180 days tether and $498 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Oct. 3 at Riverfront Park off Bond Street in Niles. She met the victim online and set up a date to meet him. She then conspired with four others to rob the victim of marijuana, a phone, car keys and other items.

“This was a very serious matter. You’re lucky no one get hurt,” Judge Schrock said.

Also in court, Austin Allan Jarman, 22, of N. Fifth Street in Niles, pleaded guilty to tampering with an electronic device and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, which can be served in any penal institution, $198 in fines and costs and $547 restitution for the cost of the tether. The sentence is consecutive to any parole violation sentence.

The incident occurred July 20 when he cut off his electronic tether. He was later arrested in Cass County. He had been released on tether July 7 from a 2018 sentence for resisting and obstructing police. He was sentenced to prison in November in Cass County for unlawful driving away of an automobile.

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