A North Judson man was sentenced Wednesday morning after being found guilty on a charge of murder in a jury trial in Starke Circuit Court.
The guilty verdict was returned after a four-day trial in August for 32-year-old Matthew Schutz. He stabbed Bradley White in the chest with a knife after an argument at a home in North Judson on Jan. 17, 2017.
Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff argued for the presumptive sentence of 55 years while Defense Attorney Blair Todd asked for several mitigating factors to be taken into consideration prior to sentencing and for a lower, mitigating sentence. Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall did not agree with the arguments that the action in this case is not likely to recur, the victim facilitated the offense, there was substantial ground that the murder was justified, and the act was provoked.
Judge Hall did find that Schutz’s history of mental illness and his minimal criminal history were mitigating factors, but they were also aggravating factors. He said that while Schutz lived in the State of New York he resided in nine different mental health institutions from the age of 7 to 19. After that point, he did not check into an adult facility. When he eventually came to Indiana about seven years ago, he did spend some time at the LaPorte Hospital for mental health issues. In the pre-sentence investigation, it was noted that Schutz has been diagnosed and treated for 14 different mental health disorders. The judge specifically noted Schutz’s anti-social personality disorder, explosive disorder and conduct disorder as aggravating factors in the death of Bradley White.
A prior conviction of battery resulting in serious bodily injury that involved a person less than 14 years of age was also considered as an aggravating factor as it shows a history of violence.
Judge Hall also included on the record that Schutz did freely and knowingly abuse drugs prior to the stabbing death of Bradley White and that Schutz freely and knowingly obtained a deadly weapon which was used to kill White.
In addition, Judge Hall stated that Schutz is extremely dangerous to himself and others as he has no appreciation for his own life or anyone else’s life. He referred to the Probable Cause Affidavit in which a witness stated that Schutz threatened to kill everyone that night. Schutz also has attempted suicide.
In a statement to the court, Schutz did apologize for killing Bradley White. He sobbed when he said he’d rather be in White’s place so then White could be alive to be a part of his daughter’s life. He stated that he didn’t recall the events of the night of Jan. 17, 2017, but was sorry for what he did.
Citing his reasons behind his explanations of the aggravating factors he found in the case, Judge Hall said the sentence would be enhanced from the presumptive sentence of 55 years to the maximum allowable sentence that a murder charge carries in Indiana. With that, Schutz was sentenced to 65 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections with none of the sentence suspended.
Defense Attorney Blair Todd indicated that Schutz will appeal his sentence. Schutz will be appointed an attorney that specializes in the appeals process.