6-year prison term for battery

Victims won’t testify, leading to lesser charge

With no witnesses and no proof of permanent injuries, a Columbus resident who was once facing up to 46 years in prison for shooting two other men wound up receiving a substantially lesser sentence.

Kyle Husbands, 29, who admitted shooting two others, last week was ordered to serve six years with the Indiana Department of Corrections during his sentencing in Bartholomew Superior Court 1.

The Trinidad native admitted in court Dec. 14 that he shot Tyler L. Lucas of Columbus and Cody J. Spencer of Franklin on Jan. 30, 2016, at a home in the 1200 block of Pearl Street.

However, defense attorney Sean Thomasson outlined circumstances during court hearings late last year that eventually resulted in the reduced sentence.

When formal charges were filed a year ago, Bartholomew County prosecutor Bill Nash believed he had substantial evidence to charge Husbands with attempted murder.

But that was before both victims refused to cooperate with Nash, Thomasson told the court.

“They avoided every effort I made to contact them that entire year,” Nash said.

In order to convict the defendant of attempted murder, the prosecutor was required to prove that Husbands either intended to kill Spencer when he shot him in the chest or that Spencer suffered permanent or debilitating injuries, the defense attorney said.

However, the prosecution was unable to provide either testimony or evidence to the court that constitutes proof of that beyond a reasonable doubt, Thomasson said.

Since Lucas’ wounds were to the legs, state law limited Nash to only seek a battery charge, the prosecutor said.

For those reasons, Nash said he knew he could only get convictions on two counts of battery by means of a deadly weapon, Level 5 felonies.

In 2013, the Indiana General Assembly reduced the sentence for such felonies to between one and six years imprisonment, with an advisory sentence of three years for each count.

Judge James Worton said there were no aggravating circumstances to consider, such as a previous criminal history, so he gave Husbands the advisory sentences consecutively, rather than at the same time.

Tensions were high last winter between Husbands and a female who lived with his former girlfriend, who was pregnant with the defendant’s child, a court affidavit states.

The ex-girlfriend had just been released from Columbus Regional Hospital with pregnancy complications, and was recovering at home when Husbands tried to see her Jan. 30.

Instead of allowing Husbands inside, the female confronted him on her porch and told him he was not welcome and should leave, the affidavit stated.

That prompted Husbands to strike the woman in the face and attempt to choke her, according to testimony from a neighbor who witnessed the incident.

When two guests — Lucas and Spencer — intervened, a fight broke out that lasted several minutes until Husbands returned to his car and began to drive away, the affidavit stated.

But according to a neighbor, Husbands stopped his vehicle, got out and walked back to the house with a gun in his hand.

He swung open a porch door and fired four shots inside the residence before he ran back to his car and drove away, the neighbor told police.

Husbands was arrested a short time later at his residence, just east of Taylor Road and 25th Street, and was originally held in jail in lieu of a $2.5 million bond.

At the time of the shootings, Husbands’ immigration status was classified as long-term permanent resident.

U.S. immigration authorities, who will be notified of the sentencing, are expected to decide at a later date whether Husbands should be deported back to Trinidad, an island nation off northeast Venezuela.

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