Judge delays decision on whether to reduce man's sentence
Bradley D. Long appeared in Putnam County Judge Matthew Headley's courtroom Thursday morning asking for a modification of his 18-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter in the death of Kelcey Sullivan in 2006.
Long pleaded guilty to strangling Sullivan during an argument and was sentenced in June 2006 to 20 years with a two-year suspension. He has been serving time in the Pendleton Penitentiary.
Long and Sullivan were living together at Long's home on Country Villa Drive, just west of U.S. 231 on U.S. 40 when the death occurred.
According to investigation reports at the time of Sullivan's death, the two had visited an Indianapolis bar, become separated and returned home at different times.
Long was asleep when Sullivan arrived home. The two got in a fight over an alleged affair and Long beat and strangled Sullivan in a moment of rage.
The autopsy later showed that Sullivan suffered a fractured Hyoid bone in his neck, which doctors said, was indicative of strangulation. Further evidence showed the young man had been severely beaten.
Long was initially arrested for possession of marijuana. He did not admit guilt for nearly three months when he pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
Long's attorney Daryl Felling asked the judge this week to consider modifying the sentence to 10 years with six years executed and the remainder to be re-directed.
That means Long could be out of jail very soon.
Sullivan's mother Jane Sullivan, of Columbus, directed a statement from the family to the prisoner, breaking down in tears as she described her only son's death.
"When you were strangling Kelcey, you had to see his eyes and see that he desperately wanted to live. You had time to stop. But, you didn't."
"What about Kelcey's death sentence?" she asked Long. "Do you ever think about his right to live? You are free. You may not like where you are living, but you are free to see the seasons change, to see another day," she said.
She later directed a plea to Judge Headley not to modify Long's sentence.
In Long's defense, his sister and brother both spoke about the changes he has undergone since being incarcerated.
His sister Debbie Long, Terre Haute, told the court how Long was remorseful every singe day. She visits her brother weekly along with other members of the family.
Long's older brother Roddy Long also testified on behalf of his brother. A 15-year correctional officer at Putnamville, he too told the Judge his brother was changed and was remorseful.
While he has been incarcerated, Long has completed several programs to help understand how to control his anger and how to communicate better.
"I have learned how to identify my trigger buttons and what to do when I am angry," Long told the judge.
"There is not a day that I don't think about what I did and regret it. I can't change the past, but I want to concentrate on the future," he added.
Long is also taking Ball State University classes to earn an associate's degree in general studies. He is currently employed in the jail as a clerk in the re-entry program. His job is to help prepare prisoners, who have served their time, adjust to leaving the penal system.
Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter cited the case of Catt vs. the State of Indiana as a precedent for not modifying Long's sentence.
He reminded the judge that Long lied to authorities when they were investigating the death for three months.
"He didn't call 911 right away and he watched Kelcey die," said Bookwalter.
Headley took the motion under advisement, saying he would deliver a decision within a week.