GOSHEN — Jeffery Hunt, one of two men convicted for breaking into a New Paris home last year, beating an 82-year-old man with a tire iron and burglarizing the house, was sentenced to 120 years.
Hunt, 26, of Warsaw, pleaded guilty to robbery, burglary, conspiracy to commit robbery and criminal confinement in June. The sentencing hearing was held in Circuit Court Thursday morning, July 31.
Hunt was accused of breaking into the New Paris home Nov. 4, 2013. He was arrested a few days later.
Hunt’s attorney, Peter Todd, told the court his client not only accepted responsibility for his crime, but that he had cooperated with police through statements he gave after his arrest.
Hunt implicating his father, Jeffrey Hill, helped in his prosecution as well, Todd said. He added pleading guilty to his charges also lessened the impact on the victims and their family.
Given the level of his client’s cooperation with police and his plea, Todd asked for a sentence of 50 years with 10 years suspended.
Hill also pleaded guilty to his involvement in the burglary in March and was sentenced to 120 years in prison later that month.
But deputy prosecutor Don Pitzer said the criminal investigation and the prosecution were already strong without Hunt’s statements.
The victims, Don Neer and his wife, Beverly, as well as their family, attended the sentencing hearing.
Don Neer, who did not testify during during Hill’s sentencing hearing, took the stand Thursday and gave the court additional details of the night he was attacked in his home.
Don Neer said Hunt was who beat him with the tire iron. Neer was hit on the head, on his jaw and his arm, when he tried to shield himself from the beating.
Something he recalled was Hunt trying to take his wedding ring from his finger but then leaving it on before taking money, electronics and jewelry from his home.
Beverly Neer and two of her children also testified during Hunt’s sentencing hearing.
Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker noted Neer had to postpone a surgery to remove a tumor from his lungs because of the attack, and that could have resulted in more medical issues. Two elderly victims and with medical issues.
"I can’t imagine you going into this home, beating that 80-some-year-old man with a trie iron," he said. "I just can’t fathom that, but that it, in fact, what occurred."
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Sharon Hernandez on Twitter at @Sharon_HT