‘High on drugs,’ man gets 12-year prison sentence

A self-confessed burglar who battered two men after being caught in a vacant Columbus home has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

That was the maximum allowed under a plea agreement for Chadrick E. Hoeltke, 41, of Newbern, who has an extensive criminal record dating back to when he was 16, deputy prosecutor Greg Long said.

“You should thank (attorney Sean Thomasson) for making such a good deal,” Judge Jim Worton told Hoeltke during his sentencing hearing. “With your background, a 20-year maximum would have been warranted.”

On May 7, 2014, a landlord and his father entered a vacant residence the son owned in Columbus — only to find it ransacked and burglarized, court documents stated.

When the two men encountered Hoeltke inside the house, the 6-foot-7, 280-pound defendant fought and injured both men before making his escape in a pickup truck carrying items stolen from the residence, the court affidavit stated.

“It shouldn’t have happened,” Hoeltke said while testifying on his own behalf Tuesday. “If I hadn’t been high on drugs at the time, it wouldn’t have happened.”

The defendant wasn’t tied to that crime until he was arrested six months later for a similar break-in the the Lincoln Village Apartments, court records state.

Hoeltke had forced his way into a home, but then fled on foot after encountering the homeowner and was later found by police hiding in a nearby abandoned house, according to the Columbus Police Department.

During questioning, Hoeltke admitted he was in the vacant residence during the May incident, but claimed he was just checking it out because he thought someone else had burglarized it, the affidavit stated.

Six months after being jailed on a Class A felony charge of burglary resulting in bodily injury, Hoeltke posted bond on May 12, 2015, and was released to live with his parents, court documents state.

However, he was returned to jail again Dec. 22 for breaking terms of his house arrest, according to court records.

“Every time (Hoeltke) has been placed on probation since 2001, he’s violated it,” Long said.

In the plea agreement dated Aug. 2, prosecutors agreed to drop charges in two open cases against Hoeltke, a felony count of residential entry and misdemeanor charges of battery and invasion of privacy. That was in exchange for his guilty plea on the Class A felony charge of burglary resulting in bodily injury.  After the defendant accepted, Worton agreed to it Tuesday.

As part of his sentence, Worton requested that Hoeltke be placed in a program that will allow early release if he behaves well in prison and successfully completes a substance abuse program for his methamphetamine addiction.

“If I gave you the minimum sentence, you would not be motivated to change,” Worton told Hoeltke. “Now, you have a chance to still have a life. It’s all up to you.”

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.