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Justices revise sentence of man with mental illness

January 25, 2017

The justices of the Indiana Supreme Court have revised the sentence of a Daviess County man with a history of mental illness who was convicted of burglary, drawing on the dissent of Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Paul Mathias, who advocated for treatment for offenders who are mentally ill.

In Anthony J. Wampler v. State of Indiana, 14S05-1701-CR-37, Anthony Wampler, who has a history of psychiatric problems and hospitalizations, began making unusual attempts to interact with K.S., a former classmate, in the spring of 2014.

Then in June 2014, Wampler removed the window screen in K.S.’s laundry room, entered the house, watched him sleep, took a beer, photocopied a quote from his refrigerator and left him a note reading, “I love you. Sorry about the screen. There are too many as it is.” When K.S. called the police, officers questioned Wampler, who explained his obsession by saying K.S. was a “portrait in the flesh.”

After receiving treatment in order to be competent to stand trial, Wampler was convicted of two counts of Class B felony burglary and was adjudicated a habitual offender. The Daviess Superior Court sentenced him to concurrent 18-year terms on the burglary convictions, enhanced by 15 years for the habitual offender adjudication, for an aggregate of 33 years.

Wampler appealed and the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his sentence, with Judge Paul Mathias noting in his dissent that “the most important issue in this case is the clear failure, yet again, of our criminal justice system to adequately and properly respond to and treat those with mental health issues.” Mathias further wrote that a more appropriate result in the case would have been to find Wampler guilty but mentally ill in order to provide him with mandatory evaluation and treatment.

Calling Mathias’ dissent “insightful” in a per curiam opinion Wednesday, the justices used Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B) as its authority to find Wampler’s sentence inappropriate and revise the sentence to concurrent six year terms on the burglary charges, with an additional 10 years for the habitual offender adjudication.

However, the justices affirmed all other aspects of the Indiana Court of Appeal’s opinion and remanded the case to the trial court to enter a revised sentencing order.
 

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