VALPARAISO | Just a couple days after bonding out of jail in a Chesterton robbery case earlier this year, Jason Mitchell was rearrested on a drug possession charge while in a stupor.
The 32-year-old told the court Friday shortly before being sentenced to prison for the April robbery that he knows the source of his ongoing problems.
"I messed up and it's all because of drugs," he said.
The Jackson Township resident said he has been a heroin addict since the age of 17. While he does not believe prison is the best place for him to get help, he acknowledged the court did not have a lot of options.
At the request of defense attorney Mitch Peters, Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa agreed to a sentence fashioned to give Mitchell another shot at recovering.
Mitchell was sentenced to six years behind bars, but with a referral to the purposeful incarceration program that offers help for addicts. If he successfully completes the program, Mitchell is eligible to ask the court to consider reducing his sentence.
He pleaded guilty in August to a Class C felony count of robbing the Speedway gas station on Indian Boundary Road in Chesterton on April 25.
Police said Mitchell demanded money from the register and threatened the clerk with physical violence if she did not comply.
He was ordered by Alexa to pay $196 in restitution.
Peters said Mitchell, who has a lengthy criminal history linked to substance abuse, would likely fail if placed on probation without treatment behind bars.
"I just want to get him help," he said.
Mitchell said he was on track to overdose during his last time out of jail and felt as though the Lord brought him back.