Judge denies Land's motion to dismiss

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- A motion for release from custody filed by a Greencastle man accused of beating and severely injuring his mother nearly a year ago has been denied by Putnam County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley.

Seth Land, 22, is currently housed at an Indiana Department of Correction Facility awaiting a June 10 pretrial conference in before Headley. He is charged with two counts of Class B felony aggravated battery, and could face 40 years in prison if convicted on both charges.

On April 23, Land filed a pro se motion for release from custody and dismissal of all charges. The state filed an objection to the motion on May 3, and Headley denied the motion on Monday.

In his motion Land cited Criminal Rule 4 of the Indiana Code, which states covers reasons a defendant's trial can be delayed.

The rule reads, "No defendant shall be detained in jail on a charge, without a trial, for a period in aggregate embracing more than six months from the date the criminal charge against such defendant is filed, or from the date of his arrest on such charge (whichever is later); except where a continuance was had on his motion, or the delay was caused by his act, or where there was not sufficient time to try him during such period because of congestion of the court calendar; provided, however, that in the last-mentioned circumstance, the prosecuting attorney shall make such statement in a motion for continuance not later than 10 days prior to the date set for trial, or if such motion is filed less than 10 days prior to trial, the prosecuting attorney shall show additionally that the delay in filing the motion was not the fault of the prosecutor."

Originally, Land was represented by Public Defender James Recker. Recker left the public defender's office in January, and has been replaced in Land's case by Public Defender Todd Sallee.

Police reports said Land had suffered in the past from schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Recker had planned to use a mental disease or defect defense for Land, court records said.

According to court documents, Land allegedly beat his mother, Sharon Land, so badly on May 15, 2009 that she was taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, where she underwent surgery. Land lost an eye in the alleged attack, and suffered additional injuries including a severely bruised and torn right eye socket, a swollen left eye, split lips and broken teeth.

The alleged assault took place at Sharon Land's home. Police responded to a 911 call and found her lying on her bedroom floor, court documents said. Seth Land admitted to officers at the scene that he and his mother had gotten into a fight.

A pretrial conference for Land was originally set for July 9, 2009, but both parties notified the court that more discovery time was necessary. Land was formally charged in Putnam County Circuit Court on May 18, 2009.

Per the request of Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter, Land's bond was set at $100,000 cash only.

While he was in Putnam County Jail, Land was segregated from other inmates. Because of his past erratic behavior and the amount of care he requires, Judge Matthew Headley accommodated a request by Bookwalter to have Land sent to an Indiana Department of Correction facility to await his next court date.

Land also has several charges pending against him in Wayne County.

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  • this clean cut young lad should just be cut loose... give him a break

    -- Posted by GRNT on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 10:34 AM
  • GRNT you havnt read what he did to his mother have you? He beat her so badly that her eyeball fell out of the socket and had to be removed. There is no way he is getting off and he just sealed his own fate by trying to get a dismissal. The insanity plea only works if you have no sense of right or wrong and he clearly does by trying to point out a loophole to get away with what he did.

    -- Posted by hoosierloser on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 12:53 PM
  • You shouldn't be so quick to assume he was aware of right and wrong during the alleged attack. He didn't beat her until her eyeball came out of the socket....he ripped it out! There is a lot more to the insanity plea than just right and wrong. How do you know that he was the one trying to point out the loophole? Doesn't he have an attorney to file these things for him? Hey, did you forget that he admitted to committing the act in the first place. A lot of people assume to know about this case and it's facts but don't. It annoys me!

    -- Posted by chicky on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 1:17 PM






    -- Posted by takeastand on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 3:08 PM
  • I'm no expert but I believe that when a person has schizophrenia/mental illness(I have no idea what he has.) that they will black-outs during acts of violence and not know what they are doing. He may have realized after the fact what happened. I am not condoning this behavior. I am merely pointing out what I believe to be true. Personally, I believe he is a threat to himself and others. He needs to be in place where he can be treated for his illness. The prison is the only place left to that since the state shut down the mental health institutions.

    -- Posted by citizenoftheworld on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 4:21 PM
  • Just to clarify for all, my son needed 800 dollar a month medication. Because our wonderful government chose to give our medicaid and system privitization to IBM? International Business Machines? who I am sure knows all about health care, he could not receive the shots he needed for 5 months. He is not justifying anything or trying to do anything but learn to deal with a mental illness that was undiagnosed when he went to Earlham college. He also should have had an attorney which he did not have until his motion and a date of any kind, which he didn't have either until his motion. If your child was sick what extent would you go to to get them well. If they would live and be healthy by you giving your life, would you sacrifice your life or not? I gave an eye. That is a small price to pay to try to help your son get the help he needs. I am glad there were so many that witnessed what happened at my home. The last time I checked, it was me, my son, and my companion that were at the scene, who so graciously has tried to help me and my children while trying to obtain the help and services needed in order to help Seth rehabilitate. My son is not insane, nor did he understand in 2007 what was happening to him or why he was having the feelings in his body he was having. And neither did I because I have never experienced mental illness or a family member with mental illness. I will not accomodate or defend any accusations against me(per cominatcha Jeremy Musall's Aunt? whoever that is) or against Seth - as medical files, tests, treatments, and his own account of his life in his writings and poems, generally say much more than that of an opinion of any person that knows or holds no evidence of any such opinion they choose to put on this site. All we are hoping for is a solution for him to obtain effective ongoing uninterrupted treatment while all can remain safe. I am not sure that being put in a cage with medication because you are sick is the total solution. If this was drug or alcohol induced, I guess I may feel the same way as alot of others. But knowing what the medical files, the tests, and the outcome of the results of all this information, and the plethora of Doctors diagnosis, I would say it would be good for solutions, resources, educational materials, committees, and whatever other means that we have, to come up with effective solutions to deal with the people that suffer from the onset of mental illness. In case anyone is not aware, college age to approx. age 30 is when the most severe signs of mental illness arise and that is because a child at this age becomes responsible in whole for every aspect of their life, schedule, school, finances, etc.

    Like I said previously I appreciate all those that support us through this. The Good Lord has got this one!

    -- Posted by HisMother on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 9:15 AM
  • Judge- the words "clean cut" should have given away that I was kidding.

    -- Posted by GRNT on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 10:18 AM
  • The crime, as described above, tends to lend credence to an insanity defense, as surely no one in their right mind would attack their own mother with such violence. Mr. Land is fortunate, in one respect, that he was not shot and killed by a gun-toting witness to this attack. Society has a right and obligation, under the law, to protect itself against violent offenders committing grave bodily harm, sane or not. That said, Putnam County has long had a notorious blatant disregard for the right to a speedy trial as prescribed under the U.S. constitution, keeping people in jail for months on end with no sense of urgency to dispense justice by means of a fair trial. My own brother was incarcerated for over 16 months in the PC jail without a trial because he refused to confess to a crime he didn't commit. So I understand the mother's anger at the crooked, lazy, elected bums in the PC courthouse, and I also share her desire that her son get the mental health care he so desperately requires. The public will never keep itself safe from such offenders, so long as mental illness remains such a taboo subject that it goes left untreated, just because that same public wants to treat mental illness as if it were a joke or courtroom cop-out. God bless.

    -- Posted by former_pc_res on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 3:00 PM
  • Hard to believe, Mothers are meant to be put on pedestals. I say gut him

    -- Posted by bearcat on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 3:46 PM
  • Bearcat your words mean nothing! You don't have clue what you are talking about. Gut him?, what kind of comment is that. You are a fool!!!

    -- Posted by 1stamendrights on Fri, May 14, 2010, at 2:38 AM
  • I want to give my love and support to Seth and his mother. I knew Seth for a few months at Earlham. I was a year older than him - a sophomore when he was a freshman. He struck me as a high energy, enthusiastic kid with a positive attitude who wasn't afraid to march to the beat of his own drum. I considered Seth to be a positive influence for me, and even though we didn't hang out very much, when we did I felt like he was a true friend and like he was teaching me something about myself and how to be happier and enjoy things more. I looked up to him. He was a support for me in times of anxiety and depression of which there were many for me in my sophomore year. One time that stuck out for me was when I was talking outside with Seth and I was about to go on a first date with a girl that I was really nervous about. I said to him I didn't think I could even act normal with the stress I was feeling. And he said to me, "what is normal? - there is no such thing". People can take this out of context and apply it to his current situation but that is stupid to do. I think that what he said was and is really important advice. I also think it reflected his own bravery and independence. His ability to follow his own path - and that is what I admired him for most. I am sad to hear about what has happened. I send all my best thoughts, prayers, wishes and support to Seth and his family.

    -- Posted by KevinfromEarlham on Tue, Jan 11, 2011, at 6:10 PM
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