Christopher Newman sentenced to 13 years in prison


GREENVILLE — A Winchester, Indiana, man was sentenced to 13 years in prison Friday for perpetrating a May 6, 2017, crime spree which saw three properties burglarized, a home set on fire, a companion animal killed in that fire, and a father and son held at gunpoint.

Christopher Newman, 31, appeared for sentencing in Darke County Common Pleas Court. He pleaded guilty in July to aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, second-degree felony burglary, second-degree felony aggravated arson, a fifth-degree felony count of receiving stolen property, and a fifth-degree felony charge of causing harm to a companion animal.

He was apprehended by Darke County Sheriff’s deputies after burglarizing one home, robbing and setting fire to second residence, and in the process, causing the death of a service dog there. He then attempted to rob a barn and, upon being discovered, held a stolen shotgun on the barn’s owner and his 3-year-old son. After being disarmed by the owner, Newman fled and crashed his truck into a nearby creek before being arrested.

As part of the plea agreement, three other felony counts were dropped and the prosecution and defense agreed upon a range of 12 to 15 years in prison.

Newman’s victims were in court, as were members of his family. Newman was represented by defense attorney Dave Rohrer. Darke County Prosecutor R. Kelly Ormsby spoke on behalf of the state.

“The state would ask the court to consider the high end of 15 [years] based upon the events, the effects Mr. Newman had on all these lives that day over a period of just a few hours. We think the only proper punishment, and the only way to protect the public, is a lengthy period of incarceration,” said Ormsby.

Rohrer said his client has shown remorse for his actions, citing his drug abuse issues as a motivator for the crime spree.

“He’s a young man that definitely has shown what using a smorgasbord of drugs can get you into a situation like this,” said Rohrer, who asked the court to impose a 12-year sentence.

Newman offered an apology, both to the court and to the victims, at one point breaking down into tears.

“I didn’t choose addiction, but I got lost in it,” he said. “I never set out to hurt anybody. Regardless of being high or having any problems, I am responsible for the crimes that are committed here and I need to be punished.”

Jill Oda, whose home was destroyed and whose dog, “Mater,” died in the fire Newman set, asked Darke County Common Pleas Court Judge Jonathan P. Hein to give the defendant the maximum prison sentence possible.

“He has affected me and my boys tremendously,” she said. “We lost our home, and Mater, our family dog, not to mention sentimental things that can’t be replaced.”

In handing down the sentence, Judge Hein told Newman, “I accept your apology, it seems like you were sincere…but that really doesn’t mean squat. Maybe it’s a start. Because you were probably sincere saying ‘I don’t want to be here’ in these other court appearances, but you didn’t find the strength of character or whatever it was to not keep cycling through courts.”

In addition to the 13-year prison sentence, with 104 days credited, Newman will be required to pay court costs and will be subject to five years of mandatory post-release supervision.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
}
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
}
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
}
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;
}

Christopher Newman (left, with defense attorney Dave Rohrer) listens to a victim’s statement in Darke County Common Pleas Court Friday. Newman was sentenced to 13 years in prison for a May 6 crime spree which saw homes burglarized, one set on fire, a dog killed, and a man and his son held at gunpoint.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/08/web1_Newman-0006.jpgChristopher Newman (left, with defense attorney Dave Rohrer) listens to a victim’s statement in Darke County Common Pleas Court Friday. Newman was sentenced to 13 years in prison for a May 6 crime spree which saw homes burglarized, one set on fire, a dog killed, and a man and his son held at gunpoint. Erik Martin | The Daily Advocate
Robbed homes, set fire, killed dog in May 6 crime spree

By Erik Martin

emartin@dailyadvocate.com

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com