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Alleged rapist has two prior felony cases

Friday, November 2, 2007

Alleged rapist and convicted "Sexual Predator" Larry Sharps' has served time in prison for his involvement in two other felony cases in the past 13 years, both in Clay County.

According to information provided by the Clay County Courthouse, Clay County Circuit Court Clerk's Office, Clay County Prosecutor's Office, the Indiana Department of Correction website and information also discovered in The Brazil Times archives, the following is known about the two cases:

• Sharps' first case, criminal deviate conduct, criminal confinement and battery

On Aug. 1, 1994, a 16-year-old female reported to authorities a man abducted her at knifepoint while walking along Tower Road in the Knightsville area at approximately 11:30 a.m. The girl said an unknown man drove her around in his car, ultimately traveling to Parke County, where he forced her to participate in a sexual act before returning her home several hours later about two blocks away from her home.

Officials released information that the suspect was described as a thin white male, approximately five-foot-six inches tall with blue eyes, long red hair and a mustache. The victim said the suspect was wearing a black t-shirt with the words "The Devil Made Me Do It," dirty faded jeans, black sneakers and a black baseball cap.

Two days later, Larry J. Sharps, 23, from Terre Haute at the time, was taken into custody. Appearing before Clay Circuit Judge Ernest Yelton, Sharps was formally charged with criminal deviate conduct while armed with a deadly weapon ­" class A felony, two counts of criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon " class B felonies, and battery with a deadly weapon " class C felony. Yelton set the bond at $50,000, no 10 percent, and scheduled a jury trial for Oct. 17, 1994.

Sharps remained incarcerated at the Clay County Jail until his jury trial which was delayed until in March 1995, which was a mistrial.

Prosecutor David Thomas met with the jury after they failed to reach a verdict after deliberating for more than six hours. He said the jurors voted 11-1 in the state's favor, but a jury's decision must be unanimous for conviction or acquittal.

Yelton declared a mistrial and rescheduled another jury trial for June 19, 1995.

Sharps remained incarcerated at the Clay County Jail until shortly before the start of his second trial.

On July 25, 1995, Sharps appeared before Judge Yelton, who accepted a plea agreement which dismissed three of Sharps' original charges from the first trial-criminal deviate conduct while armed with a deadly weapon, one of the two counts of criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon and the battery charge.

Yelton sentenced Sharps to 12-year prison sentence (with two suspended), ordering him to serve at least half of the prison term. Yelton also allowed Sharps to receive credit for 307 days already served at the Clay County Jail. Sharps would also eligible for good time credit, if earned, while serving his sentence at the Indiana Department of Correction. Yelton order Sharps to undergo sexual abuse counseling and two years of probation following his release from incarceration.

The Indiana Department of Correction projected Sharps' release date for early August 1999, but he was released in February.

• Sharps' second felony case, stalking and sexual assault:

On Dec. 28, 1999, an unidentified woman contacted the Brazil City Police Department about her vehicle being broken into and a strange phone call from an unknown male.

Around 6:45 a.m. that morning, the victim received a phone call from an unknown male who allegedly wanted to meet and take her out on a date. When she asked who he was, the male would not give a name and she hung up.

Later, the victim discovered several items stolen from her unlocked vehicle parked outside her Brazil home. Among the many things taken were some identification papers and one white glove.

She decided to report the incident after she got to work in Putnam County, but while driving away from her home she saw a wrecked Geo Storm with a rebel flag painted on the front following her.

After failed attempts to lose the vehicle, the victim allegedly saw the male driver put on a white glove similar to the one taken from her car. Then the unidentified driver allegedly began placing the items taken from her vehicle earlier that morning on the dashboard of his car.

Once at work, while the victim was attempting to contact authorities, the unidentified male from earlier that morning called on the other line. The victim told authorities he was allegedly attempting to arrange a meeting with her, but that he told her to not call the police.

Members of the Greencastle Police Department located the driver of the Geo Storm within a few minutes.

The driver, Larry J. Sharps, let officers search his vehicle and remove several of the items that matched the description of those taken from the victim's car. Other items discovered in the vehicle matched those of previous thefts that occurred a few days before.

Sharps was taken into custody for his alleged possession of the stolen items and turned over to the custody of the Brazil City Police.

During questioning, Sharps admitted to following her home the night before, taking the items in an attempt to meet the victim (whom he saw earlier in the week at a local pharmacy).

Sharps said he put the items on the dashboard hoping the victim would want to meet him to get them back.

Still on parole, Sharps was booked into jail and re-entered the legal system.

Formally charged with six counts of receiving stolen property, three counts of stalking and one count of harassment, Sharps was ordered to stand trial on April 10, 2000, at 1:30 p.m. in Clay Superior Court.

While waiting for his trial, Sharps filed with the court a Notice of Defense of Mental Disease or Defect and underwent a mental health evaluation (No record was found pertaining to the results of this exam.).

On July 12, 2000, Sharps appeared in court to enter into a plea agreement where he would plead guilty to all of the charges, except the single harassment charge, which was dismissed.

The judge gave Sharps credit for 240 days previously served in jail, allowed him to be eligible for good time, if earned while imprisoned, and sentenced him to a total of 19 years. The sentences for the charges of receiving stolen property (11 years total) were to be served consecutively, while the sentences for the other charges (totaling 8 years) were to be served concurrent.

The Indiana Department of Correction projected Sharps' release date for mid-February 2007, but he was released in early June.



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