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High court affirms trial court in murder case

January 1, 2007
A life-without-parole sentence is appropriate for the Elkhart County teen who pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder his girlfriend's mom, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.

The unanimous decision in Spenser A. Krempetz v. State of Indiana, No. 20S00-0607-CR-270, came down today and affirmed the ruling by Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker.

In August 2005, 18-year old Krempetz conspired with his 17-year-old girlfriend Hannah Stone and a mutual friend to "get rid of" Stone's mom because Stone was annoyed that her mother, Barbara Jo Keim, didn't approve of her daughter's relationship with Krempetz. The trio overpowered Keim, held a gun to her, and duct taped her before taking her to an ATM to withdraw money. Krempetz later drove to a cornfield in an adjacent county and shot Keim in the back of the head. All accepted plea agreements and were sentenced.

On direct appeal, the justices agreed that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Krempetz intentionally killed Keim while attempting to commit a robbery, that the killing was committed while lying in wait, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in balancing aggravators and mitigators.
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