Disregard for following rules of the court was a key factor during Christopher Gross’ sentencing hearing Wednesday morning in Starke Circuit Court.
Gross pleaded guilty to a Class D Felony count of Possession of a Controlled Substance in a plea agreement with the State. As Judge Kim Hall reviewed his court file, Hall noted that Gross was negligent in paying child support and Gross had previously violated terms of his pre-trial release to serve home detention. Gross told the court that he couldn’t afford the house arrest fee, but Judge Hall saw in his record that Gross reportedly was found to be under the influence of alcohol which is a probation violation. His record also showed that he was previously arrested for Operating a Vehicle with a Controlled Substance in the Body.
Judge Hall told Gross that the probation department would not recommend probation or home detention for him, only a prison sentence in the Department of Corrections. The proposed plea agreement stated that Gross serve 24 months with 12 months executed in the DOC and the remainder of the sentence in rehabilitation with the Salvation Army or the Serenity House. Instead, Judge Hall sentenced Gross to 30 months in the Department of Corrections with none of that sentence suspended. If he successfully completes a substance abuse program, he can petition the court for a sentence modification.