Osceola man facing federal charges after home, business searched

NOW: Osceola man facing federal charges after home, business searched

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- The man who owns the two properties in St. Joseph County where search warrants were served Tuesday morning has a violent past.

Lonnie Painter, 57, was taken into custody on a federal charge of felon in possession of a firearm.

Painter owns both the business on E. Tutt and the home on Ireland Road in Osceola where the search warrants were served.

The investigation leading to Painter's arrest is detailed in the probable cause affidavit filed in federal court on Tuesday.

In November, 2018, a bail bondsman in Battle Creek contacted police after finding two guns in a vehicle he had seized.

The man told police Painter had used a 2015 Ford Explorer and a 2015 Ford F250 Super Duty as security to bond out Heather Button and another person out of jail, reports said.

The bail bondsman went to Painter's business on Tutt and spotted the F250 in the driveway and eventually Heather Button arrived there with the Explorer, reports said.

The bail bondsman detained Button on a warrant out of Cass County.

While conducting an inventory of the F250, the bail bondsman found two pistols. One was in the front passenger side and the other was in the front driver's side, according to the probable cause affidavit.

When the bail bondsman asked Painter about the guns, he said they belonged to his wife. He said he was not allowed to possess a firearm because he is a convicted felon, reports said.

Painter's wife died in June 2018.

Records indicate Painter's wife purchased the two weapons at Midwest Gun exchange in November 2012, as well as a rifle, reports said.

Painter has been convicted of attempted murder and of second degree murder in two different states.

Painter was convicted of attempted murder in 1993 in La Porte County and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

He was sentenced to 20 years for second degree murder in Tennessee.

In the Tennessee case, Painter was convicted of killing William Gammill at Gammills' home in Clarksville, in 1982. At the time, Painter was a soldier at Fort Campbell.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Painter was taken into custody on Tuesday for felon in possession of a firearm.

Sources have said Painter was possibly connected to a woman whose remains were found off McKinley Highway in Osceola last week.

Police were seen searching an area of the Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens Tuesday afternoon

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