VALPARAISO | Led away in handcuffs and shackles, tears streaming down her face as she looked back at her family in the gallery, Billie Jo Moore, 50, was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison for attacking a Center Township man in his home last October.
A jury found Moore guilty of two felony battery counts at the end of July, one for aggravated battery and another for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon against victim Robert Gottschling, who was 64 at the time of the incident.
Sentencing her to 20 years for the combination of those two felonies, plus an additional 30 years for being a habitual offender, Porter County Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford called Moore “the worst of the worst.”
“We, the criminal justice system, have tried everything, and it hasn’t worked. The only thing left is to protect society from you, Miss Moore,” Bradford said, citing her 20 arrests and charges resulting in six felony convictions, and 12 misdemeanor convictions, incarcerations, probations and programs served.
Gottschling, who sat in the gallery during sentencing, chose not to speak prior to sentencing and a representative for him said he “trusted the judge,” and Moore also chose to not address the court.
During the jury trial, Gottschling testified he was approached by Moore while out getting his mail and agreed to let her use the telephone in his house following her car accident, but after she placed two phone calls he said he grew “uneasy” with her being there and she picked up a knife from his kitchen table and attacked him.
“This was severe. It was not a one-time slash. It was repetitive, aggressive and intentional in nature,” including wounds that have left permanent damage," said Deputy Prosecutor Trista Hudson, who asked for the maximum sentence of 50 years and restitution of Gottschling’s extensive medical bills.
Public defender Clay Patton argued for 25 years, saying Moore had suffered from physical, verbal and sexual abuse from her parents as a child, was bipolar and off her medication at the time of the attack, had served her time for previous felonies, and the attack was not premeditated.
Patton said Moore plans to appeal the sentence and will pursue the appeal through the public defender’s office.