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COA lengthens defendant's sentence

March 30, 2010

The Indiana Court of Appeals revised a defendant's sentence for rape and other convictions, but it may not have been what the man had in mind when he appealed. In a rare move, the Court of Appeals increased his sentence by 25 years.

In Jeffrey E. Akard v. State of Indiana, No. 79A02-0904-CR-345, Jeffrey Akard claimed the sentence was inappropriate for his convictions of three counts of rape, two as Class A felonies and one as a Class B felony; three counts of criminal deviate conduct, two as Class A felonies and one as a Class B felony; two counts of criminal confinement, as Class B felonies; and two counts of battery, as Class C felonies. He wanted his aggregate 93-year sentence to be revised so that all his sentences run concurrently, reducing it to a 40-year sentence.

But the appellate court decided to lengthen his sentence because his is a "most unusual case," citing Indiana Supreme Court Justice Theodore Boehm's concurring opinion in McCullough v. State, 900 N.E.2d 745, 750 (Ind. 2009).

Akard convinced his victim, A.A., a young homeless woman, to walk him home because he was too drunk to do so himself. Once there, he locked her inside and repeatedly beat and raped her for nearly a day before she was let go.

"Along with children, the homeless are individuals who are susceptible to being abused as they live on the fringes of society, barely able to acquire the necessities of life. This is not what makes this case most unusual," wrote Judge L. Mark Bailey. "Rather, it is Akard's demented purpose in attempting to satisfy his prurient interests in child bondage-style rape by performing similar acts on a homeless woman who possessed physical characteristics akin to those of a child."

The judges noted the mentality of someone who rapes an adult is disturbing, but when the acts are premeditated and carried out to satisfy even more of a diabolical interest, it becomes even more heinous.

The trial court had sentenced Akard below the statutory minimum on several convictions. The Court of Appeals found he should have been sentenced to an aggregate of 94 years. But, because of the circumstances of the case, the judges ordered his Class B felony rape and Class B felony criminal deviate conduct convictions to be served consecutively to the other counts, revising Akard's aggregate sentence to 118 years.

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