The Clay County Prosecutor's Office is charging one of two Jasonville men arrested during an alleged burglary in process at a rural Clay County home on Sept. 12 as a habitual offender.
According to court documents on file in Clay Superior Court, Deputy Prosecutor Margaret Berry filed the sentencing enhancement against Justin Michael McDonald, 23, because he has two unrelated prior felony convictions in Greene County.
As proof, Berry listed McDonald's convictions for a class D felony theft charge on March 11, 2004, and a class C felony burglary charge on Nov. 3, 2005.
Jail officials confirmed McDonald remains incarcerated on a $25,000 cash bond with no 10 percent allowed. He is expected to appear for a jury trial for one class B felony charge of burglary (if convicted, 6-20 years) and two class D felony charges (if convicted, 6 months-20 years for each count), one for theft and the other for residential entry, with his attorney Geoffrey Creason on Jan. 12, 2009.
McDonald and Michael Edmonson, 18, surrendered to officers of the Clay County Sheriff's Department K-9 Unit and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources without incident after they were discovered in the rafters of a garage at 4389 W. County Road 1150 S.
Edmonson has also appeared in Clay Circuit Court for formal arraignment on a felony class B burglary charge and two class D felony charges, one for theft and the other for residential entry, with his attorney James Organ.
Jail officials confirmed he remains incarcerated on a $25,000 cash bond with no 10 percent allowed awaiting a jury trial on Feb. 2, 2009.
Note: A look inside the system
How does the habitual offender enhancement work?
The habitual offender enhancement (IC: 35-35-50-2-8), which was last modified by the Indiana State Legislature May 2006, allows a jury or a judge to consider adding a longer sentencing recommendation for a felony conviction if the person has prior unrelated felony convictions.
If the enhancement is proven and a person found guilty, the court has the potential to add an amount of time not less than or no more than three times the recommended sentence for the convicted offense. However, the additional sentence enhancement cannot exceed 30 years.