New charges from fatal overdoses

Jesse Brockman

MICHIGAN CITY – A Michigan City man already facing felony drug charges after being found in a motel room with two deceased people is now facing additional charges of reckless homicide and dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death, according to authorities.

On Sept. 27, the La Porte County Drug Task Force arrested 44-year-old Jesse James Brockman on charges of dealing methamphetamine and failure to report a dead body after he was taken into custody by Michigan City Police investigating the deaths.

A day earlier, at about 1:15 a.m., MCPD Shift 3 officers were dispatched to the ABC Motel in the 3900 block of Franklin Street to check on the welfare of a 29-year old Michigan City man. Through a window, they saw what appeared to be a deceased individual inside the motel room.

After officers gained access to the room, they found a second person dead, police said at the time. The deceased were later identified as 26-year-old Christina Rossetti and 29-year-old Zachary Granzo, both of Michigan City. Brockman was taken to the MCPD for questioning and was later charged, according to authorities.

After obtaining a search warrant for the motel room, Drug Task Force detectives discovered illegal drugs and paraphernalia, police said at the time. A 16-hour investigation led to Brockman being charged with the felony meth count and two misdemeanor counts of failure to report a dead body.

He was ordered held and remains in the La Porte County Jail on a cash-only $50,000 bond, according to the La Porte County Sheriff's Office.

After autopsies showed Rossetti and Granzo died of drug overdoses, the investigation continued, and on Friday, the Drug Task Force announced that additional charges were filed against Brockman, according to Lt. Tim Richardson, commander of the task force.

"The drug unit continued to diligently work this investigation over the past month and a half," he said. "Information gathered in the ongoing investigation ultimately led to five additional charges."

A new eight-county charging information was filed Thursday by La Porte County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Bethany Beckman, and Judge Michael Bergerson found probable cause to charge Brockman with two Level 1 felony counts of dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death; two Level 5 felony counts of reckless homicide; and a Level 5 felony count of dealing in a Schedule I controlled substance, according to court records.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 19 in Superior Court 1.

Richardson said the new charges stem from a law enacted by the Indiana Legislature in July 2018.

"The La Porte County Drug Task Force, working with the La Porte County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, have been successful in filing several similar cases since the new law was enacted," he said. "The new law ... was enacted to hold alleged dealers responsible for allegedly providing the fatal dose of drugs to an individual."

He said those efforts "can hopefully begin to bring some closure to the families of these two victims."

The Task Force will "continue to aggressively investigate each overdose death that occurs in La Porte County, with the ultimate goal of charging the dealer responsible for providing the deadly drugs, when the facts of a case present such," Richardson said.

He credits the work of the MCPD shift officers, MCPD detectives and detectives on the Task Force for their "continued efforts to thwart, or at least slow down, these untimely deaths of our citizens of La Porte County and surrounding areas."

The Task Force asks anyone with information about criminal activity to contact them at 219-873-1488, or via social media.

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