VALPARAISO | As the reality of facing a lengthy prison term set in late last week, 16-year-old Myles Folsom went to the bathroom at Porter County Jail, carved "I'm sorry" on his chest and attempted to hang himself.
He was rescued before he died and was well enough Friday to be brought over to the court to tell the judge he is a changed man.
"I feel remorse now for the things I've done," said Folsom, of Hebron.
Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek said she did not buy the change of heart and the claim was not enough to overcome the young man's lengthy and violent criminal history.
Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper sentenced Folsom to 36 years behind bars and denied his request to be placed in a therapeutic community program that would have segregated him from the general prison population and offer him a wide range of treatment options.
"You are a very dangerous young man," Harper said.
Folsom was sentenced on felony robbery and criminal confinement charges for pistol whipping and robbing an acquaintance, Joseph Knaack, on March 20.
He also was sentenced for burglarizing the home of Charles Riggle in the Gas Lite mobile home park on Oct. 30, 2008.
Folsom has since told police he also was involved in numerous vehicle thefts and other burglaries that resulted in six or seven weapons that have never been recovered, Polarek said. His "reign of terror" began at the age of 9 when he stole poisonous chemicals in a plot to contaminate Hebron's water supply, she said.
The young man testified Friday he has been using drugs since the age of 6 or 7.
Harper said it was her understanding Folsom also had threatened to do her harm.
Polarek challenged the attempt Friday to portray Folsom as a changed man, telling the judge, "Every single thing you have before you says otherwise."
Knaack's father, Steven Knaack, read a letter on his son's behalf where the 19-year-old describes how he is left full of fear of Folsom.
"Myles has instilled fear in me," he said quoting his son. "Fear follows me everywhere I go."
Despite his troubled past, Folsom told the court Friday he was sorry and was scared.