Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Ind. Courts - Paul Henry Gingerich, sentenced as adult at 12, now resentenced
WARSAW, Indiana — A northern Indiana teenager who pleaded guilty for a second time to conspiring to help kill a friend's stepfather got the same sentence Monday that he received more than three years ago, but because of a change in Indiana law he could be released to a residential facility without ever serving a day in adult prison.
Judge James Heuer gave 15-year-old Paul Gingerich a 30-year sentence, with the final five years suspended, which is the same sentence Gingerich received in November 2010 in the death of Phillip Danner at his home near Lake Wawasee, about halfway between Fort Wayne and South Bend.
But the Indiana Court of Appeals threw out the first guilty plea and sentence, ruling that Kosciusko County Superior Judge Duane Huffer had rushed when he waived the case to adult court. Defense attorney Monica Foster said Gingerich agreed to plead guilty in December because a new law that went into effect July 1 allows him the chance to avoid serving time in an adult prison. Gingerich currently is being held at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility.
Foster and prosecutor Daniel Hampton disagreed on how long Gingerich will have to remain in a juvenile facility. Foster said he could be placed in a residential facility as early as this summer after receiving his high school degree, while Hampton said the earliest that could happen is after he turns 18.
Both agreed that Gingerich, who has already served more than three years in custody, will remain under state supervision in some manner, in a maximum-security facility if he gets in trouble, or in a group home, community corrections, on probation or parole if he's well-behaved. Both said there will be another hearing after he turns 18.
Gingerich apologized to Danner's family during a brief, tearful statement before being sentenced.
"If I could, I would change what was done," he said. "It is my actions that are responsible for your suffering. I'll have to live with that the rest of my life. I'm very sorry for what I've done. ... I know sorry isn't enough." * * *
Foster described Gingerich as teenager with above average intelligence who a psychologist said is less likely than the average juvenile defender to again break the law.
"He is attempting to rehabilitate himself," she said. "I think he's well on his way to rehabilitation."
Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 4, 2014 08:37 AM
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions