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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ind. Decisions - "Indiana Supreme Court upholds sentence in truck fire case"

The AP has this report today on yesterday's Indiana Supreme Court decision in the case of Tommy McElroy v. State of Indiana (see ILB entry here). Some quotes:

The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the eight-year sentence of a man convicted of setting a fire in a moving paint truck, trapping himself and a dozen other workers, fatally burning two of the men.

The 5-0 Supreme Court decision on Wednesday overturned an Indiana Court of Appeals order that said a Marion Superior Court judge had relied on improper factors in determining a sentence for 30-year-old Tommy C. McElroy.

McElroy pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless homicide and one count of criminal recklessness in the 2003 fire, which claimed the lives of Otis Turner, 46, of Indianapolis, and John "Jay" Webster III, 30, of Greenwood.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sentenced McElroy to eight years in prison, the maximum possible under the plea deal, citing the effects of the incident on victims and their families.

The appeals court rejected Pratt's ruling in December 2005, saying she had inappropriately boosted the sentence based on those factors.

But Supreme Court Justice Robert D. Rucker wrote in Wednesday's opinion that Pratt considered the effects as part of the "horrific" and "heinous" nature of the crime, not separately.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 3, 2007 08:33 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions