A Lawrence County man was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his 65-year sentence for the murder of his wife in 2009 should be reduced to the advisory sentence of 55 years.
Larry Michael Caraway shot his wife Denise seven times in the stomach, head and arm after arguing over an unpaid utility bill. The day he shot his wife, Caraway drank very heavily, consuming more than 20 beers, and he also took four Valium pills. He was charged with murder and Class D felony altering the scene of death for trying to make it look like Denise Caraway shot herself. He agreed to plead guilty in 2010, and the trial court sentenced him to the maximum 65 years. Lawrence Circuit Judge Andrea K. McCord found Caraway’s intoxicated state and that he was in a position of trust outweighed the mitigators.
Caraway appealed and the Court of Appeals ordered the trial court to consider Caraway’s guilty plea as a mitigating factor. On remand, McCord resentenced Caraway to 65 years, finding he received some benefit from the plea, delayed entering his guilty plea, and that his decision to plead guilty was “merely a pragmatic one.” She again found Caraway’s state at the time of the shooting and his position of trust outweigh that he pleaded guilty and other mitigators.
On Wednesday, the appellate judges affirmed the sentence in Larry Michael Caraway v. State of Indiana, 47A04-1205-CR-265, finding Caraway’s character and the nature of the offense don’t justify reducing the sentence. He’s had a long history of drinking and offenses dating back to 1980 but apparently never sought treatment. The judges also agreed with McCord’s reasoning as to the amount of weight she gave Caraway’s guilty plea.