GOSHEN — A Middlebury man will serve 6 1/2 years in prison for the death of his friend last July.
Larry Hewitt, 43, of 52940 York Hills Drive, Middlebury, pleaded guilty to one count of reckless homicide and agreed to a 6 1/2-year prison term on April 25, 2013.
He was officially sentenced by Elkhart Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker on Thursday, May 23.
Charles “Dwayne” Wolfinger’s body was pulled from the Elkhart River in Elkhart on the evening of July 17, 2012.
Hewitt was arrested mid-January in West Memphis, Ark., and extradited to Indiana. The court issued a warrant for Hewitt’s arrest Dec. 26.
According to court files, Hewitt called police in July and told them he thought he had killed another man.
Hewitt said he was drinking with a friend in Elkhart when the two began fighting in the Elkhart River behind Martin’s Super Market on Jackson Boulevard. Hewitt said Wolfinger became unresponsive. Hewitt panicked and left.
Wolfinger died of multiple blunt force injuries, possible drowning and acute intoxication, according to court files. Wolfinger had injuries to his head and torso, including broken ribs and injuries to internal organs.
At his sentencing, Hewitt apologized to Wolfinger’s family and said he knew he shouldn’t have been drinking that night.
“Dwayne was my friend,” he said.
Wolfinger’s sister, Kristina Wolfinger, said she is still struggling to come to terms with her brother’s death.
“I still don’t know why,” she said. “I know the where and the when, but I’ll probably never know the why.”
James Wolfinger said his brother was not a threat to Hewitt.
“My brother was old and frail at age 53,” he said. “You, at 42, were strong and in better health. You had the opportunity to walk away and he wasn’t capable to chase you down.”
Shewmaker also ordered that Hewitt pay restitution to the family for Wolfinger’s funeral and burial expenses.