Thankful for his time in jail, King to get out in September
A 43-year-old Greencastle man who essentially let himself be caught in the act of robbing the CVS pharmacy so he could go back to jail last May, is happy to be getting out before year's end.
Jeffrey E. King, eloquent and incisive in ways much belying his orange Putnam County Jail jumpsuit, told Superior Court Judge Denny Bridges that the last 321 days in the local jail "has changed my life."
Judge Bridges Wednesday afternoon sentenced King to five years in prison with three years to be executed and two years on probation.
The defendant pled guilty to theft, a Class C felony, in return for all other charges being dropped.
With 321 actual days credit for time served since his arrest on May 23, 2012, King figures to be released on or about Sept. 20, court officials said. Probation will follow with a substance abuse relapse class ordered.
Despite having 160 more days in jail to go, which Judge Bridges recommended be served at the county jail, King smiled and interacted graciously with the judge, the prosecution team, jailers and court-appointed legal counsel Trudy Selvia.
"Seeing the change in my client," Selvia said, "I think we've come to a fair and equitable outcome."
King certainly seemed happy with it.
"People think there's something wrong with me because I'm in a good mood," King said. "But I'm at peace. community, reconnected with my church.
"I've come back home," King simplified.
He recounted how he was a member of the 1988 Greencastle High School basketball team that made an inspiring run to the Elite Eight and how his athletic and academic abilities earned him a scholarship to DePauw University.
But once in college, King admitted, he lost not only his way, but also his family.
And by family, he meant not only blood relatives (of which he had few) but teachers, school personnel, fellow church members and friends.
"I lost my family," he said, "but I feel I've got that now."
And he credits much of that to his church and the staff at the Putnam County Jail.
"My time in jail has been a significant, positive impact on my life," King told the court, commanding the attention of all in court around him, including normally disinterested fellow inmates in orange.
"I can't express enough what my time there has meant. It's changed my life.
"It made me realize," King, a jail trusty, continued, "that I'm not a mistake, I just made a mistake."
That mistake was knowingly setting off the alarm at the Greencastle CVS store at 1:57 a.m. May 23, 2012.
King was initially held on charges of burglary, theft and possession of a controlled substance.
During a pat-down search, officers discovered several loose pills in his right front pocket. In all, they recovered approximately 950 loose prescription pills from King during his arrest.
"I do recall at your initial hearing," Judge Bridges said, "you had said you just wanted to go back to jail."
That was true, the defendant said.
"You don't seem to fit the profile of a burglar," Prosecutor Timothy Bookwalter suggested.
"I felt lost and lonely," King advised. "I just wanted to go back to jail where I thought I could be useful and help somebody.
"I've run it through my head a hundred times since then," he shrugged, contemplating his decision to enter CVS. "I just know that in hindsight this has changed my life."
King said he is now excited to about the prospect of getting out and wants to share his story as a cautionary tale for high school students.
"I know the felony will put restrictions on me," he said, "but as the Scripture says, I need to seek it out. I am very eager and hoping there could be opportunities to tell my story."
Come September, that could very well become a reality, judging by how amenable court officials seemed.
"He did seem to have an epiphany in there," Judge Bridges said of King's attitude about his time in jail.
The judge had plenty of praise for the inmate following court proceedings.
"He's probably the most introspective person I've ever had in front of me," Judge Bridges told the Banner Graphic. "It seems like the system is going to work for him, which is really the goal for everybody in here."
"I didn't enjoy life before, now I do. I've reconnected with the