GOSHEN — A Bristol man who was sentenced to 60 years in prison for a May 2017 murder says he would not have been convicted if the jury knew he was on medication and alcohol at the time.
Jarrod Spigutz, 20, was convicted of shooting and killing 20-year-old Jared Foltz in a store parking lot in north Elkhart on May 28, 2017. Jurors heard that he shot Foltz eight times while buying marijuana from him in Foltz's car.
Witnesses said Spigutz got into his own car and drove away. He said in testimony at trial that he thought he was acting in self-defense, though police didn't find any weapons in Foltz's vehicle.
Spigutz was sentenced to 60 years in prison followed by five years on probation. He filed an appeal shortly after his February 2018 sentencing.
He argued that the jury should not have been shown photos from Foltz's autopsy and that there wasn't enough evidence to support a murder conviction. He also contended that his sentence was inappropriate, given the nature of the offense and his character.
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld his conviction and sentence.
Spigutz filed a petition for post-conviction relief with Elkhart County Circuit Court this month. He argues that he was deprived of effective counsel at his trial, because his attorneys didn't properly inform the jury of his state of mind before, during and after the shooting.
He says he told his lawyers that he was under the influence of Xanax and alcohol at the time of the incident and later during an interview with a police detective. Spigutz had been found and arrested shortly after the murder because witnesses gave police the license plate number of his car.
He says in his petition that his attorneys failed to relay the fact that he was under the influence to the jury. Had they been informed, Spigutz believes his interview with Detective Nick McCloughen would not have been introduced as evidence and he would not have been found guilty of murder due to his state of mind.
Judge Michael Christofeno appointed an attorney for Spigutz and set an attorney conference by phone for Feb. 20.