BEDFORD – Lawrence County Superior Court I Judge John Plummer III sentenced Phillip “Butch” Deckard this morning.
Deckard, 58, was found guilty for shooting and killing his girlfriend Charlene Silvers after a domestic dispute on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, at the home the couple shared at 2738 Maul Ridge Road.
Officials say Deckard and Silvers had a 13-year relationship. Silvers died from her injuries on Thursday, August 27, 2020, at 7:24 p.m.
Due to double jeopardy laws, all the charges but one were dropped this morning after the state and defense agreed. Deckard was sentenced to a Level 3 felony of aggravated battery with a substantial risk of death.
Judge Plummer sentenced Deckard to the maximum sentence under Indiana law of 9 years in prison and added 7 years after the crime was enhanced. One year was suspended and will be served on supervised probation upon Deckard’s release.
The crime was enhanced to a domestic violence crime. Under the law, it’s a crime for someone convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor domestic violence offense to possess a firearm or ammunition.
After deliberating for more than 3 hours, on Monday, March 15, 2021, the jury found Deckard guilty on four of the five charges he was charged with.
He was acquitted of murder. He was found guilty on felony charges of aggravated battery with a substantial risk of death, reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter, and domestic battery by means of a deadly weapon.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Allison Chopra told the judge that Deckard never showed remorse, but was upset when he learned of Charlene Silvers’s death.
“He never said he was sorry or showed remorse,” Chopra told the judge. “You see him upset in the video…but when you shoot someone on purpose you go straight to jail.”
“Many are suffering from this death. This was the death of a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, and other relatives,” added Chopra.
She requested the sentence to be enhanced due to aggravating circumstances. Judge Plummer agreed after finding no mitigating factors in the case.
“I have wrestled with this case. There are some real issues in this case. It is true the court watched and heard all the testimony,” Judge Plummer said. “I have to follow the law and must apply that law. Now, I need to determine to apply the recommended sentence of 9 years on this crime or depart from that and go downward to 3 or upward to 16 due to the mitigating and aggravated circumstances in this case.”
“He (Deckard) never departed from his statement that it was an accident. But he never accepted responsibility or showed remorse,” added Judge Plummer. “I do not find that Charlene Silvers induced her injuries in any way. She is not responsible for her death. He (Deckard) could have walked away and never picked up that gun. But he chose to pick up the gun and now she is dead. It is what it is and we can’t change it now.”
Deckard plans to appeal his conviction. Judge Plummer appointed a public defender who will represent him in the appeal.
Lawrence County Prosecutor Sam Arp and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Allison Chopra presented the case for the state.
Martinsville Attorney John Boren and Tonisha Jarrett defended Deckard.
Lawrence County Prosecutor Samuel Arp II and Chief Deputy Allison M. Chopra’s comments on the trial, conviction, and sentencing of Phillip Deckard for the death of Charlene Silvers.
“It is clear Mr. Deckard killed Charlene Silvers,” Arp said. “We appreciate the jury’s service in this case. The jury spent many hours hearing the facts of this case from the prosecution and made a decision that allowed the State of Indiana to put Mr. Deckard away for his crime. Based on that decision by the jury and the careful consideration by Judge Plummer, we are happy to see him sentenced to the maximum for his crime, an offense that robbed Charlene’s family of a sister, mother, grandmother, and aunt.”
“Throughout the course of this case, Charlene’s family has allowed the prosecution team the opportunity to get to know the mother, sister, grandmother, and aunt they all lost at the hands of Mr. Deckard,” Chopra said. “Today was the culmination of a lot of hard work and heartache, but that heartache doesn’t go away as Mr. Deckard is sentenced to the Indiana Department of Correction. The loss of Charlene Silvers continues to leave a lasting impact on the people who are left to mourn her. The prosecution team is pleased with the jury’s decision and thanks to them for their service, and we mourn with Charlene’s family as they are left to deal with Mr. Deckard’s actions.”