Noting that a defendant who broke in to an elderly couple’s home and beat the husband would have received a lesser sentence if he had actually killed the victim, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered Jeffrey Hunt’s 120-year sentence revised.
Hunt and his father forced their way into the home of Don and Joan Neer. Hunt hit Don Neer on the head with a tire iron several times, which caused severe injuries. Hunt and his father took money, guns and a television.
Hunt agreed to plead guilty without a written plea agreement to four charges: Class A felony robbery while armed with a deadly weapon causing seriously bodily injury, Class A felony burglary, Class B felony conspiracy to commit burglary, and Class B felony criminal confinement. He was sentenced to fifty years on the Class A felonies and twenty years on the Class B felonies, with all but one 20-year sentence to be served consecutively, for a total of 120 years.
The maximum possible sentence Hunt could have faced was 140 years, Judge Paul Mathias pointed out. He also noted that had Hunt killed Don Neer, he would have received a maximum aggregate sentence of 113 years.
“As heinous as Hunt’s crime was, it would be disproportionate to impose a sentence for his crime resulting in serious bodily injury to the victim that is greater than the sentence that would be imposed upon Hunt for killing the victim.”
The judges noted that the sentence imposed on Hunt, who does have a criminal history, is an outlier when compared to sentences imposed in similar cases. They ordered the trial court to revise his Class A felony sentences to 30 years each, with his Class B felony sentences remaining at 20 years each. All sentences will be served consecutively for an aggregate sentence of 100 years.