On Monday, Clay Superior Court Judge Blaine Akers accepted a plea agreement for Larry J. Sharps, 36, Brazil, which was settled earlier this month between the Clay County Prosecutor's Office and defense attorney Geoffrey Creason.
As part of the agreement, Sharps pled guilty to his involvement in the October 2007 abduction and rape of a Terre Haute woman.
According to documents filed with the court, Sharps allegedly used a knife to threaten the woman as he abducted her from her home and drove her to Brazil, where she was sexually assaulted at a residence on North Sherman Street on Oct. 28, 2007.
Sharps was released from prison in February 2007 and was on parole and registered as a lifetime "sex predator" for a previous conviction for criminal deviate conduct on the Indiana Sheriff's Association Sex and Violent Offender Registry at the time.
Prior to sentencing Sharps, Akers read an emotional victim's impact statement detailing events that occurred almost a year ago. The victim, present in the court at the time of sentencing, wrote in her statement she wanted the court to accept the plea agreement so she could "go on with her life."
Looking directly at Sharps, Akers said he was the most dangerous person he has ever encountered since becoming judge. The judge said he had every intention of rejecting the plea agreement because the case warranted maximum sentencing.
"I am conflicted over accepting this plea agreement, but the victim has endured more than any person should ever have to endure," Akers said. "I also have every reason to believe that if you are convicted in Vigo County, then, at the very least, you will be facing a consecutive sentence of 20 years."
Akers sentenced Sharps to a total of 55 years incarceration (with an additional 5 years probation after completing his sentence) at the Indiana Department of Corrections: 40 years for the class A felony criminal deviate conduct charge, with 5 years suspended, 25 years for the class B felony rape charge, with 5 years suspended, with the two sentences to run concurrent with each other. Sharps also received an additional 20 years for the habitual offender sentence enhancement.
The habitual offender sentence enhancement (IC: 35-35-50-2-8) allows a judge (or a jury) to consider adding a longer sentencing recommendation for a felony conviction if the person has two prior unrelated felony convictions, but cannot exceed more than 30 years.
On Tuesday, officials at the Clay County Justice Center confirmed Sharps was transported to the Vigo County Jail.
The Vigo County Prosecutor's Office confirmed to The Brazil Times that Sharps would also face the habitual offender enhancement when he appears in Vigo County Superior Court Division 6 on class B felony charges of burglary and criminal confinement with deadly weapon and a class C felony charge of intimidation with deadly weapon.
Superior Judge Michael Lewis has scheduled Sharps' jury trial for March 2, 2009.