Sargent was arrested in 2013 after he was hospitalized for burn injuries. Afterward, he told police he was trying to cook meth at 230 W. Jackson Blvd. in Elkhart.
The Elkhart police and fire departments had been called to the Jackson Boulevard address earlier that day for reports of an explosion and a fire, where investigators found items that are often used in the manufacturing meth.
Eric Kline, one of Sargent’s nephews who testified during the sentencing hearing, said his uncle was a father figure to him.
Kline told the court he was in his Elkhart home when his uncle, covered in burns and injuries, arrived. It was Kline who called for an ambulance, knowing his uncle would be arrested.
"I would do anything for the man,” he told the court. “But he had chemical burns on him, and my children were sleeping upstairs, so we decided to call an ambulance. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make.”
Kline told the court he knew Sargent had started smoking meth and that his addiction grew when Sargent’s brother died.
"When he quit hanging out with us, we knew something was going on,” he said. “His ways changed. He was having, like, hallucinations.”
But Kline, along with other family members who attended the court hearing and testified, said Sargent was a spiritual man who looked over his family when they needed him.
Glenn Gilbert, a professor at Goshen College, also testified during the sentencing hearing. Sargent was one of 12 inmates who took part in a three-week course that focused on violence, punishment, the criminal justice system and restorative justice.
Gilbert told the court that although he didn’t know all the details of why Sargent was in jail, he knew he was very cooperative during the course.
"He was a bit of a mentor to the younger inmates,” he said.
But the facts of the case were that Sargent, while trying to cook meth, caused a fire at an apartment complex, said Deputy Prosecutor David Francisco.
”He pled guilty, he has great support and he’s done a great deal while incarcerated, but we look at the nature of the offense, — he was trying to manufacture meth within a family housing complex.“
Sargent got the chance to address the court, saying regardless of how the case turned out, he’d want to thank the system and his family for saving his life.
"My problem walked through the door, and I failed miserably,” he said.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Sharon Hernandez on Twitter at @Sharon_HT