(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Court of Appeals of Indiana has ruled that the 65-year prison term to which Lawrence Superior Court I Judge Michael Robbins sentenced Jeremiah Hancock is appropriate. (TM)
Hancock, who stabbed and killed his aunt Diana Tabor, appealed the maximum sentence on the grounds that Robbins abused his discretion in assessing aggravating and mitigating factors.
Hancock also claimed the sentence inappropriate "in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender."
The appeals court, however, found the sentence to fit the crime.
"As for the nature of the offense, we find that the circumstances of this offense were extremely heinous. Hancock stabbed his aunt 80 times, and counted aloud as he inflicted the wounds."
In conclusion, the court issued, "we conclude that Hancock has failed to sustain his burden of persuading us that his sentence is inappropriate."
Hancock was sentenced in March, after pleading guilty to murder in exchange for charges of battery, theft and possession of drug paraphernalia being dropped.
Hancock, in October 2008, had gone to his Aunt Diana Tabor's home to talk with her about the use of her debit card by Hancock and his girlfriend, Ashley M. Brown.
Evidence showed that Hancock and Brown had stolen about $1,000 from Tabor, using some of the money to buy drugs.
During the confrontation, Hancock stabbed his 57-year-old aunt. Hancock and Brown left Tabor's body at the home, where it was found by a neighbor about a week later.
During sentencing, Hancock said he was sorry and remorseful for killing his aunt, whom he described as being like a mother to him.
The man, who was 19 at the time of the murder, said he snapped. "When this happened, I was strong out on meth," he said. "I had been up for 23 days..."
In 2010, Brown was sentenced to eight years in prison for aiding an aggravated battery.
Brown's projected release date from the Indiana Women's Prison is in about a year.
Hancock is at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility with a projected release date in May of 2041.
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