(BLOOMFIELD) - John Darrell "JD" May of Linton took his case to trial this week and got off easy.
The Greene County Daily World reports that the jury took hours to make decisions on five counts, but after the jury returned those verdicts in the current case, they were asked to make another decision, on whether or not May was an habitual criminal, and then they heard about May's criminal history.
After being presented with a parade of officers who testified they had arrested May and he was convicted in four other felony cases, it took the jury about five minutes to return to the courtroom with a verdict that he was guilty of being an habitual felony offender.
Jury selection began early Tuesday morning in Greene Circuit Court with Judge Erik Allen on the bench during the three-day trial.
Several witnesses took the stand to recount their memory of an incident that occurred on Feb. 27, including Harry Hovey, a dispatcher at the Linton Police Department who took an emergency call from a child under the age of 16 who reported their mother and her boyfriend were in a physical fight.
Sgt. Chad Crynes, also of the Linton Police Department, was close to the residence and was the first officer to arrive on the scene. He said he could hear a woman screaming, he announced police presence and entered the home.
Crynes reported he saw May, age 34, and a woman, saw blood on their hands, blood on the woman's shirt and arms, and blood on the floor.
When Crynes testified, he said he saw May had the woman cornered, pinned near a washing machine in a utility room, and that May had a knife in his hand -- May then dropped the knife that was covered in blood and Crynes ordered him to the floor until other officers arrived. The blood appeared to be from injuries to May's hands and wrists, sustained when he broke out five windows in the home, and the back door.
Officers reported the house was in disarray, a television had been turned over, with windows broken and glass all over floors.
The victim testified as did her daughter who made the call to police, May's grandmother, the victim's landlord who owned the property, and May also took the stand.
Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw argued the case for the State. Greene County Deputy Public Defender Luke Rudisill, a court-appointed attorney, represented the defendant.
The prosecution argued that May had broken into the home after he'd been kicked out, pulled the victim across a room by her hair forcing her into the utility room where he had her pinned, with a bloody knife in hand.
Holtsclaw told the jury May was upset over the break-up and was intimidating the victim to force her to stay in the relationship.
Rudisill pointed to inconsistencies in the victim's testimony and inconsistencies between the victim's and the daughter's testimony. Rudisill said the victim's story kept changing - that she said something different in the initial interviews, and in depositions, and on the stand.
Rudisill argued that the only evidence to support some elements of the charges was the victim's testimony and it left doubt. Rudisill said the victim did not say anything about being threatened during initial interviews.
Rudisill also said the victim was saying what she needed to say in order to not have her children taken away by DCS (Department of Child Services).
The defense brought up other inconsistencies and told the jury there were a lot of red flags that left reasonable doubt about the defendant's guilt.
Holtsclaw countered that the victim was very nervous on the stand and in regard to some of the inconsistencies, he said children are a powerful motivating force in our lives.
Following closing arguments on Thursday morning, the 12-member jury went into deliberations and late Thursday afternoon returned the following verdicts:
On Count 1, intimidation with a deadly weapon, a class C felony, not guilty, but they found him guilty of the lesser included charge of intimidation as a class D felony.
On Count 2, battery resulting in bodily injury committed in the presence of a child less than 16 years old, a class D felony, not guilty.
On Count 3, criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor, not guilty, but they did find him guilty of the lesser included charge of criminal mischief as a class B misdemeanor.
On Count 4, residential entry, a class D felony, not guilty.
On Count 5, battery committed by means of a deadly weapon, not guilty, but they found him guilty of the lesser included charge of battery as a class B misdemeanor.
After the verdicts were read, the second phase of the proceeding began with evidence that May was an habitual offender.
Prosecutor Holtsclaw told the jury in order to be found guilty of being an habitual offender, he had to prove that May had been convicted in at least two other felony cases. Holtsclaw said he would show them evidence of not two but four other convictions besides the current conviction.
Fernell Keith McDonald, an officer with the Indiana Department of Corrections who formerly served as a Linton police officer for 26 years, testified he arrested May in 1996 . May was a juvenile at that time, was waived into adult court, and was convicted of burglary, a class C felony.
Former Greene County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Allen who now serves as a police officer at the Crane Naval base, testified his arrest of May in 2002 resulted in a class D felony conviction for criminal mischief.
Lt. Bryan Woodall, a Greene County Sheriff's Deputy since 1992, testified his arrest of May in 2002 resulted in May's being convicted of a class C felony burglary.
Patrol Officer Paul Clark, who has served with the Linton Police Department for 13 years, testified he arrested May in 2009, which resulted in May's conviction for intimidation, a class D felony.
The jury went back into deliberations around 5:30 p.m. then about five minutes later, returned to the courtroom with a guilty verdict.
Holtsclaw said May is facing a possibility of 8 and 1/2 years in prison. May is scheduled to be sentenced on May 30.
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