Hargrove handed 44-year sentence

Thursday, February 17, 2011

GREENCASTLE -- A Greencastle man convicted of attempted murder was sentenced Thursday to 44 years in prison.

On Jan. 20 a jury found Justin L. Hargrove, 25, guilty of Class A felony attempted murder and Class D felonies resisting law enforcement and criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon.

The charges stemmed from an April 2010 incident in which Hargrove and four other people went on a joyride and shot rifles and handguns from the windows of a moving car.

That incident ended with Hargrove firing a rifle in the direction of Putnam County Sheriff's Department Reserve Officer Matthew Biggs, who was attempting to stop the vehicle.

"I'm sorry for all this," Hargrove said in court Thursday. "I'm sorry for all the pain I've caused."

The state called no witnesses, and the only witness the defense called was Hargrove.

Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter pointed out that Hargrove had lengthy juvenile and adult criminal records, and that when he had been placed on probation in the past he had often violated it.

"He can't follow the rules," Bookwalter said. "He's never had a driver's license and he's been doing drugs all his life."

Crimes Hargrove has been convicted of in the past include receiving stolen property, possession of a controlled substance and residential entry.

The maximum sentence Putnam County Circuit Court Judge Matt Headley could have imposed was 56 years. The state requested Hargrove receive a 50-year executed sentence.

Hargrove's court-appointed attorney, Sidney Tongret, said the case against his client boiled down to intent.

"With a different jury on a different day, they could have inferred something different," Tongret said.

Tongret asked Headley to take into consideration the fact that no one was harmed in the shooting.

"I think a 55-year sentence in a case where nobody was injured is inappropriate," Tongret said. "I've seen cases where people have been killed and defendants get less time. If you get behind the wheel of a car when you're intoxicated, you could kill somebody."

Tongret described Hargrove as "young, articulate and well-spoken." He said his client, although he had received little formal education, was a talented writer.

"I ask the court to impose the least amount of sentence, along with appropriate probation," Tongret said.

Hargrove's apology and Tongret's arguments did little to sway Headley's opinion.

"We've taught our kids from day one to respect law enforcement," Headley told Hargrove.

Headley said a letter Hargrove submitted to the court was well written, but that the sentiments rang hollow.

"Your actions speak louder than words," Headley said.

Headley said he found it disheartening that people were quick to say how bad law enforcement officers were when they were in trouble, but that the same people would turn to the officers in a crisis.

"They're the first people you want to call when your house is broken into or your kid is missing," he said.

Headley sentenced Hargrove to 50 total years with 44 executed for the attempted murder charge, along with three years each for the Class D felonies.

Those sentences will run concurrent to the 44-year sentence.

Hargrove will receive credit for the 317 days he has served at the Putnam County Jail since his arrest.

"Hopefully you'll learn something in your time at the department of correction," Headley said. "It's my job to impose a fair sentence, but also to protect the community. I think this does that."

Headley told Hargrove he had 30 days to appeal his sentence. Hargrove said he intended to do so.

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    -- Posted by bottomline on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 10:59 AM
  • WOW!

    -- Posted by obeone on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 12:01 PM
  • He'll learn something alright; how to be a better criminal.

    -- Posted by chp on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 3:37 PM
  • Well, we do live in a county that is racist btw. I bet the people around here just wanted to hang him...even though he didn't kill anybody

    -- Posted by Apollo13 on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 3:40 PM
  • "3...2....1...Annnnd Apollo13 drops the race card."

    -- Posted by ProblemTransmission on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 4:25 PM
  • And Buis only ended up with 18 years? It's better to kill someone than to shoot at someone...everybody take note. When you shoot, hit what you are aiming at. I don't condone violence in any way, and he should be punished for what he did, but someone PLEASE explain how killing someone gets less than half of this guy's sentence???

    -- Posted by almostfootballfree on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 5:44 PM
  • You can't compare different cases! Completely different circumstances from what I've read! If Putnam County was so Racist he wouldn't have made it to the jail in one piece! If they would have stopped when the cops tried to pull them over he would have had maybe one felony at best. He decised to to what he did, Sucks to be him!

    -- Posted by hardtobelieve on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 8:03 PM
  • I don,t know why the indiana justice system will not try a different approach. Let the deputy take shots at them. I work for the dept. of corrections, The rehabilitation system does not work. Recidivism I think is the word,(Repeat Offender.) I am not an expert on the word, I will tell you you are taking A young man who has a checkered past and putting him in a prison with REAL CRIMINALS, Now all you have is a young strong criminal who is now an expert at what ever crime they need to commit. When does the justice system work. Example: Reese: Paul JRandSR, John Brianand jeremy. Go to IDOC home and lookup offender info. And ask yourself why these people are still a burden on soceity. Donnie Watkins

    -- Posted by homasassa on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 10:42 PM
  • well glad this animal got what he deserved.. and apollo 13 you want to use the raceist card all the time, why dopnt you just move out of this county if you dont like it, the justice system works here and if you dont like move out of the country. go some where else and you might find a worse place, ill be happy to buy you the one way ticket

    -- Posted by lleonard47 on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 11:37 PM
  • Apollo 13 must be the racist because they are the only one who keeps bringing it up! It is people like you that keep racism alive. Get over it!

    -- Posted by indianaresident on Fri, Feb 18, 2011, at 8:34 AM
  • Racism...whatever. If the judge is a racist then why did this happen:

    Treva J. Jackson, 37, was convicted of two counts of Class D felony criminal recklessness. Judge Matthew Headley sentenced her to concurrent three-year sentences (the maximum sentence for a Class D felony). Jackson received credit for 264 days she had spent in jail, and Headley suspended the rest of the sentence and placed Jackson on probation for the remainder of her term (Banner Graphic, 2011).

    She stabbed 4 people and got a fair sentence as far as I am concerned. This charater shot at the cops and got what he deserved, period. Black, white or purple.

    -- Posted by dcsaiht on Fri, Feb 18, 2011, at 8:51 AM
  • Can't compare cases??? Isn't that what the justice system does? Examine precedents, compare one punishment to a similar case from some point in judicial history? I know not every case is the same, but didn't they have to show that he planned to try to kill someone for it to be attempted murder? I could be completely wrong on this one, but doesn't a murder charge, or attempted murder need to have the element of premeditation? I don't know many of the facts of this case, and I really do want the legal system to be harsh, and I am not questioning Hargrove's sentence as much as I am how Mr. Buis got such leniency. Oh well, I don't live there anyway!

    -- Posted by almostfootballfree on Fri, Feb 18, 2011, at 9:10 AM
  • I know Justin "Chaos" Hargrove. I have known him for years, and while I cannot say that we're "friends" by any means, I do know that he is NOT how he is being portrayed. 44 years is ridiculous. 22 with good time, 18 with time cuts, and I THINK 9 years if he gets parole.

    I know several people that have killed someone and have gotten less time. I know Buis and the details of his case. He was asked to leave the property of the man he shot, and acted out in a drunken rage. End of story.

    Justin is just a scared young man. He is rather intelligent given his educational history, and believe it or not, a loving father. He is human and made a mistake, who hasn't? He was under the influence of a number of drugs. Who's to say that he would have reacted to the same situation in the same way if it wasn't for the drugs?

    Watch the hit-and-run case, who killed a CHILD, get less time than this guy who took a shot at a police car.

    -- Posted by KeyboardWarrior on Fri, Feb 18, 2011, at 10:52 AM
  • Race doesn't play a factor with me! Do the crime do the time. The Buis guy you are talking about, lock him up with this guy as far as I'm concerned. Chick that hit the kid, if she is found guilty and has to do jail time put her in the same cell with these guys. Chick that sliced in diced 4 people during bar brawl, guess what chuck her in there. Little green alien from space comes down in breaks law toss him in there with them.

    If you don't want to go to jail for 44 years don't break the law and get all messed up on pills or whatever it was he was messed up on and then go shooting at people whether it's a cop or not! It's fairly simple really!

    -- Posted by bottomline on Fri, Feb 18, 2011, at 1:03 PM
  • Appollo13, if any your family members would have been hit by a stray round from this dipstick on that night, you would not be saying what you said. You are a total fool. If you do not like this county; LEAVE, please just leave.

    -- Posted by GRNT on Fri, Feb 18, 2011, at 2:22 PM
  • Dcsa there you go talking out your....

    Don't think this article was about treva jackson

    If she stabbed 4 people I think they would have had medical care don't you? You are in too many places it seems or believe everything you read...

    Maybe you should research the subjects you talk about or gather more information. There is much more information available to people than the newspaper.

    -- Posted by Hooray4Truth on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 8:10 AM
  • Ugh. Some of you people make me sick sometimes.

    It's like someone said, you would have a very different point of view if one of those stray bullets killed someone. This was a disgraceful act of negligence with a total disregard for the law, a friend of mine's life, and common sense.

    Apollo...I disagree with you. He could have killed Officer Biggs that night.

    Keyboard warrior...I was hearing about this guy before all of this came up. Are you one of the "North Put Crypts" that this guy supposedly hung out with? Do you break into people's houses and mutilate their pets for initiations? You are a poor character witness. Hargrove is bad news.

    I wrote this before...the only thing I regret is that I'll be paying for him to eat three good meals a day and have a roof over his head for the next 44 years. All the while he'll be hanging out with a bunch of other criminals, learning from them.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say 'hang him', like Apollo13 would have me suggest, but I wish there was a way to punish or rehabilitate him without the huge cost of taxpayer money. According to an article on eHow.com, it costs roughly $129 per day to house an inmate.

    $129 x 365 days x 44 years = $2,071,740

    -- Posted by chaas013 on Sun, Feb 20, 2011, at 3:33 AM

    -- Posted by INOCENTUNTIL PROVEN GUILTY on Sat, Mar 26, 2011, at 12:41 AM
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