According to online court records, Curless sentenced Darren Winans, 22, Jasper, to serve the remainder of his five-year sentence on a felony charge of stealing a motor vehicle. Winans had served only four months of the sentence before being released on probation just two months before the Sheldons, owners of the Old Cabin Shop in Carthage, were murdered.
Winans is scheduled to go to trial March 30, 2011, in Jasper County Circuit Court, on two charges of first degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, and a single count of burglary.
In previous Turner Report posts, it has been noted that the murders were not the first reported probation violations against Winans. From the Sept. 1, 2009, Turner Report:
An examination of Winans' records indicate that at the time he is alleged to have murdered the Sheldons, he should have been behind bars, since he has a history of probation violations.
Winans pleaded guilty in Barton County Circuit Court March 21, 2006, to stealing a motor vehicle and was sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Charles Curless. At that point, the sentence was suspended and Winans was placed on supervised probation for five years.
His first probation violation was reported Nov. 3, 2006. At a hearing 11 days later, Judge Curless continued the probation. The next violation was filed Jan. 2, 2008, and another filed Jan. 30. No hearing was held for the first violation. The second violation appears to be his arrest on drug charges in Jasper County. Judge Richard Copeland signed off on a deal that let Winans plead guilty to a misdemeanor and sentenced Winans to one year in the county jail, then suspended the sentence and placed him on unsupervised probation for a year. After that, a probation violating hearing was held in Barton County where Curless sentenced Winans to prison for five years, but kept the case on a 120-day callback. Winans' prison stay began May 1, according to court records, and concluded Aug. 28, six weeks and two days before the Sheldons were murdered.
Winans' next probation violation was reported three days after the murder, according to court records, with two more violations reported Oct. 30 and Dec. 9. The records do not indicate that hearings were scheduled for any of the three alleged violations.
In the meantime, Jasper County Circuit Court records show Winans' "ex-spouse" asked for a child protection order to be issued May 19. During a May 27 hearing, Winans denied her allegations, but Judge Stephen Carlton issued the full order of protection. Whatever the allegations were, online records do not show that any probation violation was filed.