ALBION — An Albion man will spend 5 1/2 years in prison after being sentenced May 15 on firearm, criminal recklessness and domestic battery charges.
While in the end it’s considerable prison time for Cameron Berkes, 44, it’s significantly less than he was potentially facing.
Berkes was sentenced on the three charges he was convicted on in a jury trial that concluded March 6. But he was acquitted of a Level 1 felony charge of attempted murder in that same case, after jurors decided the state did not meet a burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Berkes was on trial for an Oct. 26, 2018, incident at his mobile home on South High Street in Albion. After drinking heavily that night, Berkes and his wife got into an argument with Berkes accusing her of having an affair.
After she got out of bed to get clothes out of a dryer just outside their bedroom door, Berkes fired four shots from a handgun that struck the open door and penetrated the wall of the mobile home. Berkes then passed his wife in the narrow hallway and shoved her to the ground.
While sitting with the gun in the living room of the mobile home, his wife attempted to get him to give up the gun, at which time he fired a fifth shot that went into the floor, causing his wife to flee the trailer.
At trial, jurors returned a not guilty verdict on the attempted murder charge, but convicted Berkes of a Level 6 felony count of criminal recklessness and a Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.
Jurors said after the trial that they felt prosecutors didn’t meet the burden of proof to show that Berkes had a “specific intent to kill” his wife.
Berkes then pleaded guilty to a Level 4 felony count of unlawful possession of a handgun for using his wife’s pistol after he had previously been convicted of an armed robbery in DeKalb County.
On May 15 via a video conference sentencing, Noble Superior Court 1 Judge Robert Kirsch sentenced Berkes to four years in prison with two years suspended on the Level 4 firearm charge, as well as 1 1/2 years for the criminal reckless and one year for the domestic battery.
The recklessness and battery charges are to be served concurrently, but consecutively to the handgun charge, for a total of 5 1/2 years.
Berkes was ordered to pay $1,863.31 to the county’s extradition fund — after bonding out of the Noble County Jail prior to his trial he then left the area, reportedly heading to the Gulf Coast where he was arrested on a warrant and subsequently returned to Indiana — as well as fined $100 and ordered to pay a $100 public defender fee.