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Land's sentencing set for December

Thursday, October 21, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- A Greencastle man accused of battering his mother in the spring of 2009 is set to enter a change of plea and be sentenced on Dec. 16.

Seth Land, 23, has been in jail since May 18, 2009. He faces two counts of Class B felony aggravated battery, each punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Land was set to go on trial in the cause on Oct. 13, but the trial was vacated.

Land is also facing felony battery charges in Wayne County in connection with an April 2007 incident. The final pretrial conference in that cause is set for Nov. 4.

Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter said although his office has been in negotiations with Land's counsel, no official plea agreements have been offered yet.

Bookwalter said he would wait until Land was sentenced in the Wayne County case before offering any deals.

Court documents allege that on May 15, 2009, Land attacked his mother, Sharon Land, at her home. Sharon Land was beaten so badly, police reports said, that she lost an eye and suffered other injuries.

Land admitted to police that he and his mother had gotten into a physical altercation.

Land's bond was set, at the request of Bookwalter, at $100,000 cash only.

Police reports said Land has suffered from mental illnesses, including schizophrenia.

Because of his erratic behavior and the level of care he required, Land was transferred to the Wabash Correctional Facility after his initial hearing.

Land has filed two pro se motions -- one in April and one in June -- calling for his release from custody and dismissal of all charges. Land withdrew the first motion; the court denied the second motion.

Several counsel changes have occurred in Land's case. He was initially represented by court-appointed attorney James Recker, but was replaced by another public defender, Todd Sallee, in May. Public Defender Joel Wieneke took over the case in August, but Sallee requested to stay on the case and was reinstated a day after Wieneke was assigned.

On May 26, Sharon Land, identifying herself as a victim in the case against her son, filed a motion to compel disclosure of public record. In the motion, she requested "a copy of all public records including but not limited to photographs, electronic and taped information regarding the victim's injuries and testimony."

In the motion, Sharon Land alleged she was denied access by the prosecutor's office to a portion of the evidence she requested to see.

The state denied that motion on June 10. In his response to the motion, Putnam County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Justin Long said the motion should be denied because "the victim is not a party to this case and has no standing to file such pleadings in this cause" and "investigatory records of law enforcement are exempted from disclosure."

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