MICHIGAN CITY — The sentence was close enough to the maximum to, perhaps, keep a man from ever getting out of prison for the grisly slaying of Hufracio Arteaga, a Michigan City used car lot owner.
David Morris was given an 82-year prison sentence Tuesday in LaPorte Superior Court 1 for murder, two counts of level 4 felony burglary, and three counts of auto theft and fraud, all level 6 felonies.
Judge Michael Bergerson called the defendant a sociopath who callously showed no remorse or any regard for human life during his explanation for going above the minimum sentence of 50 1/2 years.
Other reasons cited by the judge included Morris having a history of violent crimes, as well as the crimes he committed followed the stabbing death.
''The length, breadth and magnitude of the sequential crime spree of the defendant is shocking to the conscience of the court,'' Bergerson said.
Defense attorney Jim Cupp said Wednesday he would not discuss the case except to say that his 45-year-old client ''fully intends to exercise his right to appeal.''
Arteaga was co-owner of Easy Drive Auto Sales at 117 W. 11th St. on Michigan City's north side, where his body was discovered four days after the April killing.
According to authorities, the 65-year-old Arteaga was stabbed nine times in the neck and bled to death from a ruptured carotid artery.
The victim and defendant knew each other from Morris running errands at the car lot and doing other odds jobs there for a couple of years.
LaPorte County Prosecutor John Espar could not be reached for comment.
Within a few hours of the killing, Espar previously stated Morris was captured on surveillance video using the victim's card for a fast food order and doing it ''in a very cavalier, almost giddy manner.''
Other purchases were made by Morris and other individuals to whom he had given the card, Espar said.
The evidence also revealed Morris stole two cars from the lot after the murder and was captured by surveillance video going in and out of the business on several occasions prior to the body's discovery.