HANCOCK COUNTY — An Indianapolis woman accused of breaking into a county home in April 2021 ended up pleading guilty, but to a lesser charge.
Kristen Leigh Hamilton, 31, was facing a Level 4 felony count of burglary and two different misdemeanor charges of theft and false informing with the most serious charge carrying up to 12 years in prison. She instead pleaded guilty to a Level 6 felony count of residential entry and received a two-and-a-half-year jail term with the misdemeanor charges getting dismissed.
The case was settled during a sentencing hearing in Hancock County Circuit Court Thursday, Nov. 17. Judge Scott Sirk handed down a 912-day term, with 42 days of jail credit. Hamilton’s sentence is to run consecutively with a prior sentence, court records state. If she completes programs while serving her sentence, Hamilton will be eligible for a term modification.
Richard Joseph Duffy Jr., 36, Indianapolis, was with Hamilton the night of the incident. He was originally charged with a Level 4 felony count of burglary, a Level 6 felony count of operating a vehicle after being a habitual traffic offender, and two Class A misdemeanor counts of theft and false informing.
According to court records, the Level 4 felony was changed to a lesser Level 6 felony count of residential entry while the two Class A misdemeanor charges were dismissed. Sirk sentenced Duffy on Aug. 30 to a two-year term in the Indiana Department of Corrections and stated the term is to run consecutively with a prior crime.
According to a probable cause affidavit, in April 2021, deputies were called to the 5000 block of West County Road 200N on a report of suspicious activity after someone saw a U-Haul truck pull away from a residence in the area.
A deputy from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department caught up with the truck and watched the driver commit several traffic violations before pulling the truck over in the 2000 block of North County Road 600W, the affidavit said.
The driver, later identified as Duffy, appeared nervous and had what the officer said was a marijuana cigarette in his hand. They also noted a female passenger, later identified as Hamilton, in the truck. Both, however, gave police false names, investigators said in the affidavit.
The two told deputies they were helping move a friend to Indianapolis, but they did not know the friend’s name, the report said. Deputies went back to the home and found the front door wide open, the affidavit said.
Deputies searched the truck and found hand tools, a mounted deer head, a truck tool box containing several air and hand tools, other tools and some marijuana, which police destroyed, the affidavit said.
The two were originally released with the contents of the truck because deputies were unaware at the time that a burglary had been committed, the affidavit said.