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Bedwell sentenced to home detention

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Home is a place where a person can be comfortable, and Bertha Bedwell will have plenty of time to be comfy in hers.

Clay Superior Court Judge Blaine Akers handed Bedwell, 62, a sentence of six years home detention under regular monitoring, not with the use of the GPS system, for her June conviction of conspiracy to commit arson for hire.

"I am very pleased with the hard work of Clay County's law enforcement," Special Prosecutor Harold Johnston said. "It is refreshing to see the real teamwork that has been displayed within the county."

Bedwell's conviction stemmed from her involvement in the arson of a Coalmont modular home in October 2005.

Defense attorney James Organ argued that Bedwell's sentence could be suspended under Indiana Code 35-50-2-2(a), which states that the court has the power to suspend the sentence for any felony conviction.

Organ also argued that a hardship would be created if Bedwell were to be incarcerated.

"My client's husband has complications from diabetes, cancer and is undergoing dialysis," Organ said. "Bertha is his rock, and trusts her to continue his care."

Akers agreed that the case required a punishment less than incarceration, but a suspension of the entire potential sentence would depreciate the severity of the crime.

"I must respect the findings of the jury," Akers said.

Bedwell's will receive credit for her time served up to this point, a total of 63 days. She will also receive good time credit for the 36 days she spent in the Clay County Justice Center, but will not have the option of earning good time credit for the remainder of her sentence.

However, with any violation of her home detention, Bedwell will be sent to the Indiana Department of Correction to serve the rest of her sentence.

"Judge Akers  had a difficult decision to make with the health situation of her husband,"Johnston said. "He showed his compassion and wisdom with the sentence he handed down, yet still showed that the law stands tall."

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