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An Indiana man has been sentenced to 67 years in prison for the murder of his great-aunt after she bailed him out of jail on other charges.
Bobby Truitt, 20, pleaded guilty in March to murdering and abusing the corpse of his great-aunt Sharon Lovins, 64, the Associated Press reported, as part of a plea deal to drop one of the charges against him and revise the other. He had been arrested on Sept. 29, 2020 and originally charged with Lovins' murder, rape and the theft of her car, according to the Bartholomew County Sheriff.
He was sentenced on Tuesday to 65 years in prison for the felony one murder — the maximum allowed — and two years for abuse of a corpse, a level six felony, The Columbus Republic reported. He is not eligible for any time suspended nor for in-prison treatment programs, according to the paper.
Lovins was murdered on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 in her home in Waynesville, Indiana — about 45 miles south of Indianapolis. She had bailed her great-nephew, Truitt, out the Johnson County Jail in Franklin on Sept. 26, 2020 and offered to let him stay with her, according to the AP.
Truitt had been arrested earlier that month on a level six felony sexual battery charge, the Daily Journal reported at the time. A level six sexual battery is defined under Indiana law as a forced or non-consensual touching of another person with sexual intent. The Republic reported that Truitt has since also pleaded guilty in that case.
According to court documents in Lovins' murder, reported onn by The Republic, Truitt told police after his arrest that he hit his great-aunt in the face with a hammer, raped her and then choked her. He then stole her 1995 Ford Explorer and drove it to Indianapolis, where he inquired about purchasing a bus ticket to New York City.
Her cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma to the head and asphyxia due to manual strangulation, according the Daily Journal.
Other family members became concerned when they couldn't reach Lovins over the weekend of her death, according that paper, and her brother went to her house on Monday morning with another relative who had a key. They found her car missing and the lights on, and subsequently discovered her body in a bedroom and called the police around 6:30 a.m.
Truitt was arrested in Indianapolis with a group of panhandlers the day after her body was discovered, shortly after the sheriff's office identified him as a person of interest in the case.
He did not reveal a motive in the murder, but spoke during his sentencing.
“I wish I could take it all back,” Truitt said, according to The Republic. “It was inhuman what I did.”
His defense lawyers argued to the judge that Truitt, who also had an extensive juvenile record, had mental health and substance abuse issues stemming from a difficult childhood.
Bartholomew County Deputy Prosecutor Greg Long rebutted those claims by noting that Truitt had been offered several mental health treatment opportunities as a juvenile, and called him "the poster child of someone who ought to be locked up for a very long time," according to the paper.
The judge sided with prosecutors.
“There are a lot of people who had rough childhoods that do not brutally murder a loved one,” Bartholomew Superior Court Judge James Worton said at the sentencing hearing.
Lovins' brother, Robert Perdue, gave a victim impact statement at the hearing, in which he expressed dismay that Truitt has yet to explain his actions and over the sentence.
“She ain’t here no more – but he’s still here,” Perdue said, according to The Republic. “I don’t think it is fair what he’ll be getting for what he’s done.”
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