The presiding judge of Hamilton Superior Court No. 3 accepted the plea agreement in the case of State of Indiana v. Maxwell Hunt Winkler during a sentencing hearing held February 5th. Last month, Winkler withdrew his previously entered plea of not guilty and entered a plea of Guilty But Mentally Ill to the offense of Murder. Mr. Winkler also entered an admission to the State's Request for Firearm Enhancement.
Upon accepting the plea agreement, the Court sentenced Mr. Winkler accordingly and entered judgment of conviction against him. Mr. Winkler's sentence on the Murder count is sixty-five (65) years, with all of that time to be served in the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC). The Request for Firearm Enhancement added twenty (20) years, of which fifteen (15) years would be executed and served in IDOC and five (5) years would be suspended to five (5) years of probation. Accordingly, the total sentence is eighty-five (85) years with eighty (80) years executed and served in prison and five (5) years suspended to probation.
By statute, "[a] person who commits murder shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of between forty-five (45) and sixty-five (65) years, with the advisory sentence being fifty-five (55) years." Ind. Code § 35-50-2-3(a). The firearm enhancement statute provides for "an additional fixed term of imprisonment of between five (5) years and twenty (20) years." Ind. Code § 35-50-2-11(g).
A plea of guilty but mentally ill means that the person suffered from a mental illness at the time of the offense but that the condition did not render the person unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of the conduct at the time of the offense. See Ind. Code §§ 35-36-2, 35-41-3-6. Someone found to be guilty but mentally ill who is then sentenced to serve prison time in IDOC is further evaluated and treated in such a manner as is psychiatrically indicated for the person's mental illness; that treatment is provided by either IDOC or the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction. See Ind. Code § 35-36-2-5(c).
Mr. Winkler remains held at the Hamilton County Jail but will be soon transferred into the custody of the Indiana Department of Correction.
The Prosecuting Attorney thanks the Police Chief George Kehl and his Fishers Police Department -- especially Doug Baker and the rest of the Investigations Division -- for all of the hard work in conducting this investigation. The many community individuals who came forward with critical information are also deserving of appreciation.