- Special Sections
MARSHALL CO. â€” Last year's string of daytime home burglaries in northern Marshall County ended Wednesday with the sentencing of Justin Whitt, of North Liberty, to the maximum prison term allowed under his agreement with the Marshall County Prosecutor's Office.
Whitt was arrested for seven counts of burglary and six counts of theft last June. He was 22 years old at the time of his arrest.
Whitt pled guilty to one count of burglary as a Class B felony and sentencing was left up to Marshall Superior Court No. 1 Judge Robert O. Bowen. The agreement provided for a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment. The remaining charges against Whitt â€” including a shoplifting charge from Walmart â€” were dismissed.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Nelson Chipman argued for the maximum sentence allowed, emphasizing the seriousness of the offenses and their repetitiveness. Defense attorney Ryan Bell from LaPorte argued for an extended suspended sentence and a lengthy probation period.
Under questioning from Chipman, Whitt stated from the witness stand that he could not remember many of the events. Whitt admitted to being addicted to heroin, but denied that his theft of lithium batteries from Walmart was related to the production of methamphetamine.
Chipman questioned Whitt in detail about one of the burglaries in which he and his co-defendant, Joshua Stone, kicked in the door of a house on Filbert Road near Bremen, a house they thought was unoccupied. They found a 13-year-old girl inside who had just returned home from school and was home alone. According to court documents, the girl screamed at the intruders, hit and clawed at them, and chased them from her home. Whitt claimed from the witness stand that he did not remember that event.
After arguments were made, Judge Bowen sentenced Whitt to the maximum time allowed of 10 years imprisonment at the Indiana Department of Corrections. He also ordered restitution to all the victims.