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Terre Haute man sentenced for 2008 arson

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The man involved in setting fire to a Clay City home in 2008 was sentenced in Clay Circuit Court Monday.

Daniel T. Kopacz, 28, Terre Haute, was arrested and charged for his alleged involvement in the fire that destroyed a residence located at 710 Nye St., Clay City, on Oct. 22, 2008.

Kopacz was charged with class B felony Arson, Class B felony Burglary, class D felony residential entry and a class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

While released on bond (10 percent of $50,000) to await further court proceedings, Kopacz allegedly violated a no contact order by breaking into an undisclosed southern Clay County residence the victim was living at on Feb. 26, 2009.

Kopacz was charged with class D felony residential entry, class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy and class B misdemeanor criminal mischief in the second matter.

Appearing before Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout Monday, Kopacz entered a guilty plea while his attorney Geoffrey Creason and Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger debated sentencing terms.

Although there was no official plea agreement in the case between the prosecution and the defense, both sides agreed to a "sentencing cap" in the matter that would allow the judge to sentence Kopacz to no more than a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.

While Creason presented witness testimony as to his client's good character, he was remorseful, has no prior criminal history, was a productive citizen who is willing to make restitution and the circumstances that led to the events in 2008/09 were unlikely to reoccur, the prosecution presented evidence that Kopacz had a dark side and wanted to inflict physical/emotional trauma and financial/sentimental loss on the victim with his actions.

Weighing the evidence presented in court, Trout said he was not inclined to believe the crimes would not occur because Kopacz was allowed the opportunity to await further court proceedings while out on bail and chose to inflict more emotional trauma on the victim by breaking into their new home.

Due to those aggravating factors, Trout established the sentences ordered in both matters would run consecutive (each completed after the other).

Kopacz was sentenced to 10 years for class B felony arson, with nine years executed and one suspended, three years fully executed for the class D felony residential entry at the Indiana Department of Correction (DOC) and for one year incarceration (which is fully executed) at the Clay County Justice Center for the class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

The state agreed to dismiss the class B felony burglary charge.

Upon release, Kopacz was ordered to serve one year of probation, have no contact with the victim or their family members, attend anger management classes, make restitution and follow all the terms of release.

Kopacz was credited with 102 days previously served, allowed good time credit if earned while incarcerated at the DOC and notified of his right and the procedures involved with filing an appeal of the court's ruling with the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In the second matter, Kopacz was sentenced to serve one-and-a-half years at the DOC on the class D felony residential entry and allowed good time credit, if earned, and credit for 272 actual days previously served.

Kopacz was remanded into the custody of the Clay County Sheriff's Department for classification and commitment to the DOC.

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