GREENVILLE — A Winchester, Indiana, man appeared Monday in Darke County Common Pleas Court to plead guilty to multiple felony charges.
Christopher Newman, 31, was arrested May 6 after burglarizing and setting fire to one 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 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 apprehended by Darke County Sheriff’s Deputies. He has been held at the Darke County Jail on $100,000 bond since his arrest.
Darke County Common Pleas Court Judge Jonathan P. Hein accepted a plea agreement between defense attorney Dave Rohrer and Darke County Prosecuting Attorney R. Kelly Ormsby, in which Newman agreed to plead guilty to five felony counts, in exchange for three other felony charges being dropped. The plea agreement canceled a trial scheduled to begin Tuesday.
Newman pleaded guilty 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.
The prosecution and defense agreed to seek a range of 12 to 15 years in prison in exchange for the guilty pleas. Newman otherwise could have faced a maximum of 32 years in prison and $55,000 in fines when sentenced. He must serve a mandatory three years in prison for using a firearm in the commission of the crimes. Newman will also be subject to a minimum of five years of community control upon his release from prison.
Newman faces a pending charge of burglary, among other offenses, in neighboring Randolph County, Indiana.
His sentencing in Darke County Common Pleas Court is scheduled for August 18.
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