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Man’s 100-year sentence for impregnating stepdaughter, dealing drugs upheld

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After pleading guilty to child molesting and dealing in hydrocodone, a Dearborn County man was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday that his 100-year aggregate sentence should be reduced.

James E. Mefford was on probation for Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor when he delivered hydrocodone to another person and had sex with his 13-year-old mentally disabled stepdaughter. She became pregnant and later had an abortion. DNA tests on the fetus revealed Mefford was the father of the baby.

In two separate causes, he pleaded guilty to Class A felony child molesting and a habitual offender allegation, and to Class B felony dealing in a schedule II controlled substance. Sentencing was left open to the trial court, which sentenced him to the maximum of 50 years for child molesting, enhanced by 30 years, and the maximum of 20 years on the drug charge. The sentences are to be served consecutively.

In James E. Mefford v. State of Indiana, 15A04-1208-CR-394, Mefford argued that his sentence is inappropriate and he should have been ordered to serve the sentences concurrently.

In upholding his sentence, the appellate judges pointed out that Mefford told his stepdaughter to lie about who impregnated her and tried to arrange for an out-of-state abortion. He also claimed he was drunk and thought he was having sex with his wife. He also had an extensive criminal history, including sexual offenses, and he admitted to prolonged use of alcohol and drugs despite prior treatment.

They rejected his argument for concurrent sentences, finding that he committed two separate crimes on different days and was tried in separate causes.

 

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