Mitchell man sentenced to prison on an aggravated battery charge

BEDFORD – A Mitchell man was sentenced Thursday to the Department of Corrections after pleading guilty in a negotiated plea deal in Lawrence County Superior Court I.

Richard Cota, 52, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery use when it results in loss or impairment of a bodily function.

Charges of aggravated battery, domestic battery resulting in serious bodily injury, domestic battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, and battery against a police officer were dismissed.

Judge John Plummer III sentenced Cota to 11 years in the Department of Correction with 10 years and 297 days suspended. Those 10 years will be served on supervised probation. He was given credit for 40 days served.

Cota was arrested Sunday, December 19, 2021, after Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department responded to a domestic fight at a home in the 560 block of Southridge Drive.

Richard Cota at the time of his arrest

While en route police were alerted the fight had escalated and the dispatcher could hear the female caller being hit by the male suspect.

Dispatchers were also alerted the man had a firearm.  

When deputies arrived they found a male standing behind the glass of the front door. 

Officers asked the male to exit the home, but he refused. Officers banged on the door and no one would answer.

While waiting for a response, officers heard a loud thud and forced the door open.

Officers located Cota, laying down on his bed belly up.  

Cota was not armed. The officer asked Cota to roll over so he could be detained for safety reasons. He refused and when officers attempted to restrain Cota, he struck an officer in the face with his elbow. Although Cota resisted the officers were able to place him in handcuffs.

Officers found a female in the bathroom with an extreme amount of blood on her face with her left eye swollen shut.

The woman was unable to communicate clearly due to her extensive facial injuries. An ambulance was cleared to approach the scene and treat the female. She was then taken by ambulance to IU Bloomington Hospital for treatment.

Cota admitted to taking meth earlier that day and was impaired at the time of his arrest.

Police noted in their report that the scene was bloody and in shambles. There were holes punched in the wall and there were both broken as well as intact items strewn throughout the home. “It looked as if a major physical altercation had taken place in the room,” wrote police. 

A firearm was also located on a couch in the living room.

Cota was arrested on three counts of aggravated battery, three counts of battery resulting in serious bodily injury, battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, three counts of battery resulting in injury to a public safety officer, and resisting arrest.