GOSHEN — An Elkhart teen received his sentence Thursday, Jan. 16, for his actions in unrelated incidents including animal cruelty and armed robbery.
Marquis Gary pleaded guilty to both charges in December.
Despite having been just 16 years old at the time of the crimes, Gary’s case was waived from juvenile court to Elkhart Circuit Court, where he was charged as an adult.
There were no surprises in the armed robbery sentencing.
As part of his plea agreement to the armed robbery charge, Gary was sentenced to 14 years in prison with four years suspended to be served on probation.
The maximum sentence could have carried up to 20 years and a $10,000 fine.
For the felony animal cruelty charge, however, Judge Terry Shewmaker enhanced the 1 ½-year advisory sentence to the maximum of three years.
The sentence includes six months of probation, during which Gary will be required to complete 320 hours of community service and pay for the veterinarian’s expenses.
The animal cruelty charge stemmed from a July incident in which Gary threw a firework at a dog. The firework exploded in the pit bull’s mouth and the animal had to be euthanized.
Deputy Prosecutor Donald Pitzer characterized as “particularly deplorable.”
“This crime is truly horrific, I don’t know what to say,” he said during his sentencing argument.
“I don’t know what else to say.”
Pitzer submitted photos that had been taken of the dog after the explosion and read in detail from the exam report by the veterinarian that had attended to the animal.
He said he’d also recently spoken to the veterinarian, who told him, “These are the worst injuries I’ve ever seen.”
Gary’s attorney, Clifford Williams, raised some factors he believed were mitigating factors in the sentencing.
Williams said that Shewmaker should consider the fact that the sentences will be served consecutively as a reason to keep the sentence lighter.
He also noted Gary is the father of a very young child and will need to be able to support his family.
When asked if he had anything to say before his sentencing on the animal cruelty charge, Gary offered feelings of remorse.
“I’m sorry for what I did to that animal,” he said. “I didn’t know it would be that bad. I was just being young and stupid.”
Shewmaker, after weighing the circumstances around the case, decided to double the standard sentence to the maximum three years.
Gary’s history in the juvenile courts system played a large part in Shewmaker’s decision. He’d previously made several appearances in juvenile court.
Combined, the two sentences will amount to a total of 14 ½ years in the Indiana Department of Corrections with a total of 4 ½ years of probation.