(BLOOMFIELD) - Randal Crosley was sentenced to 81 years in prison for the murder and other counts in the death of Katelyn Wolfe.
Crosley, who will turn 26 on Friday, was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty last month to murder, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit rape, criminal confinement and dealing a controlled substance. Crosley is a native of of Jasonville.
Crosley and 27-year-old Jordan Buskirk of Jasonville were charged in connection with the June slaying of 19-year-old Katelyn Wolfe of Linton.
Wolfe's body was found June 10 in a lake outside her hometown .
Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw asked for the maximum penalty.
"The law does not allow me to ask for the death penalty or life without parole," said Holtsclaw. "Trust me, I tried."
Under Indiana law, at least one of 16 aggravating factors must be present in order to ask for the most severe penalty and one was not present in this case.
If the two murderers had been successful in their plan to rape the victim, the case would have qualified for the death penalty or life without parole. The two murderers were unsuccessful because their victim, Katelyn Wolfe, fought back.
The Greene County Daily World reports that when Wolfe's family made their statement to the court, they said they were continuing her fight and they noted that the victim had saved Crosley's life, saying to Crosley, "You owe her a big thank you that she fought you off of raping her. And the irony of that is... while you were taking Kate's life, she was saving yours." The family also asked for the maximum penalty.
"This goes way beyond murder," said Holtsclaw. He said in some cases, the motive is anger, revenge, greed, but in this case, "she was killed for sport, for entertainment."
As with other sports, Holtsclaw said Crosley kept a trophy.
"He kept the handcuff key," said Holtsclaw, referring to a set of handcuffs bought by the murderers and used on the victim.
The key was matched to the handcuffs found on the body. The key would not work other sets of handcuffs.
When the two defendants were charged with the murder, many of the details surrounding the case were released to the public and are well-known. However, during the sentencing hearing, a number of additional details surfaced, including results of tests performed on items sent to the Indiana State Police Lab, and additional information on the evidence that would have been presented if the cases had gone to trial, including:
* Evidence that Crosley's phone had been used to search for lakes in the area during the planning of the murder
* Video that showed Crosley and Buskirk shopping at Cirilla's, selecting items to be used for rape and murder, smiling, having a good time
* Video that showed the two men at Gander Mountain, first going to the aisle with ropes, then to anchors, lifting anchors up, then purchasing two types of rope, a 20-pound anchor and a bag of candy
* Phone records that showed all three phones, belonging to Crosley, Buskirk and Wolfe, were together for an extended period of time - officers knew the three had been together
* Katelyn Wolfe's DNA was found on Crosley's shirt and on his blue jeans
* Katelyn Wolfe's DNA was found on Buskirk's blue jeans
* Crosley's DNA was found on a cigarette butt found at one of the rural locations where events took place and other items of evidence were found
* Prints from Crosley and Buskirk were found on pieces of duct tape found on the road
* DNA found on duct tape on the victim was consistent with Crosley but not Buskirk
* Duct tape found on the victim was consistent with other duct tape found on road and other places
* Buskirk testified that they did not do anything sexual to the victim
* Buskirk testified that he did not strike the victim but he saw Crosley punch her in the face and head several times because she was trying to bite him
* Buskirk testified that at one point, he asked the victim if she was scared and she tried to answer but he couldn't understand her. Then Crosley got down close to her and told her it was "the bogeyman" then got up and said three times that Buskirk needed to kill her
* Crosley told Buskirk it was "one something" meaning sometime after 1 a.m. when Wolfe died
* Video at a gas station showed the them making a stop for gas, then both looking into the trunk, Buskirk changing his shirt and discarding the one he'd been wearing. It also showed Crosley with dirt and stains on the knees of his blue jeans
* Officers noticed a chemical odor and a wet spot in the trunk of the car and they found drugs and a ledger in the car after the car was impounded
* When the car was searched, they found synthetic drugs, duct tape and a stain
* Katelyn Wolfe's DNA was found on the stain.
* Buskirk said after the murder, Crosley started to burn the SIM card from Wolfe's phone in Buskirk's car and Buskirk asked him why he was burning it in his car. They stopped and finished burning it on the side of a road, and they got rid of the battery -- the rest of the cell phone was thrown out at another location
Co-defendant Buskirk was the first witness called to the stand. He told about the long-standing relationship between the two men and their lives leading up to the planning of the murder. Buskirk's testimony lasted at least one hour as he recounted the events before, during and after the murder step-by-step.
During testimony by the other man convicted of the murder, Jordan W. Buskirk said after the murder, late in the day of June 6, Crosley handed him one of the handcuff keys and Crosley kept the other. He said he asked Crosley, "Why would I want this?" Crosley said to keep it. Buskirk responded by disposing of his key.
Buskirk is due to be sentenced March 18 after pleading guilty to murder, criminal confinement and the same two conspiracy counts.
Making statements for the Wolfe Family, both family spokesperson Beth Wolfe and Katelyn's father Eric Wolfe took the stand, and they requested a CD of images from Katelyn's life be played for the court and the defendant.
The defense called Crosley's sister to the stand, and she testified about Crosley's childhood including the fact that the two siblings had been shuffled in and out of 12-13 different foster homes from the ages of 3-11.
In his arguments, Prosecutor Holtsclaw said Crosley had a history of criminal behavior, the evidence suggested he had a history of using drugs and drug-dealing, and that when the murder took place, Crosley was in a pre-trial diversion program in another county but failed to show up and was wanted on a warrant. He also said the murder had been planned for days or weeks and the perpetrators had numerous opportunities to withdraw as well as that Crosley used his relationship with Wolfe to lure her to her death.
He said while Wolfe was fighting for her life, Crosley told her he was the bogeyman, they carted her body around in the trunk of a car, and dumped her out like a piece of trash.
Crosley's court-appointed defense attorney, Greene County Chief Public Defender Alan Baughman asked the court to consider Crosley's age -- only 25, that he had a dependent child, that the defendant had a terrible childhood with no love, no stability, and that he had shown remorse during a pre-sentence investigation, that his criminal behavior included only a misdemeanor, and that he saved everyone from going through a trial by taking responsibility and pleading guilty.
Prosecutor Holtsclaw countered that although the fact that Crosley plead guilty was a mitigating factor, the evidence was overwhelming.
Have a question or comment about a news story? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org