BEDFORD -- Lawrence Circuit Court Judge Andrea McCord needed five, single-spaced pages to announce the fate of twice-convicted murderer William A. Minnick.
That is how old Minnick will be when he next becomes eligible for release from the Indiana State Prison, following the 160-year maximum sentence Judge McCord imposed late Tuesday afternoon.
Minnick, 48, has spent the past 10,893 days in prison for the Oct. 26, 1981 murder of Martha Rushing Payne, a 24-year-old Greencastle woman slain in her own home at 9 S. Locust St. He could spend the next 18,250 days there as well.
After an emotional four-hour day in the Bedford courtroom, Judge McCord advised that the Indiana Supreme Court has noted that "the maximum possible sentences are generally most appropriate for the worst offenders."
"This is not a guideline to determine whether a worse offender could be imagined," she continued, "however, the acts of brutality imposed on Mrs. Payne by the defendant that are set forth in the facts related in the jury's verdict show a particularly terrorizing and agonizing manner in which this offense was committed and leads this court to an aggravated sentence."
Minnick, formerly of Greencastle, was found guilty of murder, rape and robbery on Sept. 18, 1985 in the same courtroom where he was resentenced Tuesday.
Judge McCord ordered that the 60-year maximum sentence for murder and 50-year sentences on both the rape and robbery counts must be served consecutively rather than concurrently for a total of 160 years.
Had the sentences been imposed to run concurrently, Minnick would have been eligible for release on Oct. 27, 2011 -- the 30th anniversary of his arrest in the brutal case.
The judge advised Minnick of his right to appeal the ruling, which he said he wishes to pursue. The court then appointed state public defenders to represent him on appeal.
Prosecutor Bookwalter indicated that with death-penalty sentence no longer part of the case, chances of a successful appeal are greatly diminished.
"The big issues on appeal are over," he said.
Bookwalter put the 30-year odyssey of the case in perspective in the moments after Minnick's resentencing.
"I think for our community, the fear was he'd get out. I have never had the community ask me so many questions about a case as they did this one. I think for our community that (160 years) was the best sentence."
The new sentence was obviously a relief as well to members of the Payne family, including the victim's husband, Jim Payne of Greencastle; her mother Eleanor Royer of Batesville, Ark.; and sister Sharon Rushing Powell of Lake City, Texas, all of whom testified at the hearing.
Bookwalter also called on longtime local police investigators, retired Indiana State Police Det. Richard Rice and former Putnam County Deputy (and former Greencastle police chief) Jim Hendrich.
Her mother told of a "very close" relationship with her daughter and detailed how Martha's murder affected her life.
Most dramatic was her brief story of visiting Greencastle and helping her daughter spruce up the Payne home. "I went up one time and helped her make curtains for the bedroom," she said, pausing to catch her breath before adding, "where she died."
Her sister Sharon also spoke of being greatly affected by Martha's death, noting how she was pregnant at the time of the murder and had chatted with Martha about passing down a baby bed when she was ready to start a family.
Every memory of Martha, she said, would end up being "tied to her last few minutes."
She likened the situation to having a broken arm and still trying to reach out for something despite knowing how extremely painful it was going to be. Judge McCord quoted that statement in remarks preceding her sentencing pronouncement.
The lengthiest testimony was given by Jim Payne, now 54, remarried and living and working again in Greencastle. Most of Jim's remarks were similar to those he made to the Banner Graphic that were included in recent stories.
However, when asked what he thought the outcome of Tuesday's hearing ought to be, Payne didn't mince any words.
"I think the person who killed her and stalked her and waited for me to be gone so he could do it, should not ever get out (of prison)," he said, calling it a premeditated crime.
"If Martha hadn't been killed that day," Payne said, "someone else would have been real soon. It was only a matter of time."
Minnick's attorney, Monica Foster, tried to get the proceedings halted by claiming Minnick was not competent to assist his legal counsel.
However, back in March the Indiana Department of Mental Health had ruled Minnick competent, setting the wheels in motion for a resentencing that had lingered undone since July 28, 2004 when the Indiana Supreme Court ordered his underlying sentence (the death penalty) was no longer valid.
Judge McCord took note of Minnick's competency in her remarks prior to sentencing, saying she had observed him sitting calmly and quietly, interacting with his counsel and his statement to the court was "clear, concise and lucid."
Jim Payne breathed an audible sigh of relief from the audience after the sentencing was announced.
"I'm wrung out," he admitted, "but I'm relieved. We all had the fear he could get out and end up not getting any time for the rape and robbery."