COA affirms 20-year sentence for robbery in fatal drug deal

A man who set up his childhood friend in a “drug deal gone bad” and was sentenced to 20 years for his conviction of Level 2 felony robbery got no relief Monday from the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In December 2015, Marcus Threatt arranged to purchase marijuana with Keontez Malone from his long-time friend Charlie Fischbach. The two men planned to steal the marijuana from Fischbach, but during the transaction, Malone fatally shot Fischbach for resisting.

Threatt was charged with murder and dealing in marijuana, a Level 6 felony and pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of robbery as a Level 2 felony with the state dismissing the marijuana charge.

The COA affirmed the sentence in Marcus T. Threatt, Jr. v. State of Indiana, 22A01-1710-CR-2402. Threatt argued his sentence was too high in light of Malone’s 30-year sentence for his conviction of voluntary manslaughter.

“Regardless of who pulled the trigger in this case, the result of Threatt’s criminal endeavor to obtain marijuana was the murder of a young father,” Senior Judge Randall Shepard wrote Monday.

The state agreed to allow Threatt to plead to Level 2 felony robbery, for which he received a sentence of 20 years, with 2½ years suspended to probation.

Concluding this sentence is considerably less than Malone’s, the COA ruled Threatt’s sentence was not inappropriate given the nature of the offense and his character.

“Even if the shooting was completely unexpected, as Threatt claims, he arranged the deal and, at the very least, set up his friend to be robbed,” Shepard concluded, “surely understanding that violence was a possibility in such a drug deal/robbery.”

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