INDIANAPOLIS | The Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed the convictions and lengthy prison terms issued to two Northwest Indiana men separately found guilty last year of sex-related crimes.
Ishmell Garrett, 43, is serving a 90-year sentence at Indiana State Prison in Michigan City for child molesting and sexual misconduct with a minor after repeatedly violating an adolescent girl between 2006 and 2010 in several states.
The Gary man argued in his appeal that Lake Superior Judge Samuel Cappas set an excessive punishment in light of the nature of the offense and Garrett's lack of a prior criminal record.
The appeals court emphatically rejected Garrett's claim in its 3-0 ruling.
The judges said Garrett's 90-year sentence is appropriate because he brutally abused a position of trust with the victim by grooming her for a sexual relationship at a young age and isolating her from others who could have helped her escape his clutches.
They also said Garrett's repeated abuse over multiple years and efforts to stymy police and child services investigations negate any mitigating benefit of no prior criminal record.
A different three-judge appellate panel unanimously upheld the 100-year prison sentence of Major Wilson, 63, an East Chicago man and habitual offender convicted of criminal deviate conduct and burglary.
According to court records, Wilson was armed with a butcher's knife when he broke into his neighbor's apartment and forced the 25-year-old woman to submit to oral sex and pose for nude pictures.
Wilson was wearing a ski mask during the incident, but the woman recognized his distinct accent and later picked him out of a photo lineup. DNA and handwriting evidence also linked Wilson to the crime, court records indicate.
He challenged the burglary portion of his conviction, arguing that prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence that he broke into the victim's locked apartment.
The appeals court concluded that proof of the crime does not require showing exactly how Wilson entered the apartment, only that he got through a locked door without the help of anyone inside.