COLUMBUS, Ind. — A former Bartholomew County Jail inmate was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years in prison for stabbing another inmate in the ear with a pencil and for being a habitual criminal offender.
Matthew Henry Bryant, 30, of Columbus, will serve the time in addition to the 93 years he already is serving for attacking a woman twice, bringing his total time behind bars to 143 years.
Bryant did not testify at his sentencing hearing Wednesday and seemed resigned to the fact that he likely will be incarcerated for the rest of his life.
“You’re going to do to me what you’re going to do to me,” he told Bartholomew Superior Court 1 Judge Chris Monroe when given the chance to testify. “I’m going to die in prison anyway, so let’s just get it over with.”
A jury found Bryant guilty in February of aggravated battery, a Class B felony, for stabbing Roosevelt Crowdus in the ear with a pencil last June while the two were inmates at the Bartholomew County Jail.
Crowdus was in jail on three counts of dealing cocaine, two Class A felonies and a Class B felony — charges that prosecutors dropped after he testified against Bryant in the stabbing case.
Bryant was in jail on charges of burglary, criminal confinement, intimidation and battery, which stemmed from the two attacks on a woman in December 2010. A jury convicted Bryant of those charges in October, and Monroe ordered the 93-year prison term.
In April, a different jury found Bryant to be a habitual offender, which meant his sentence for the aggravated battery could be enhanced to include more years in prison.
At Bryant’s sentencing hearing Wednesday, his public defender, Aaron Edwards, called Crowdus to testify about whether prosecutors had promised to drop his cocaine-dealing charges in exchange for his testimony against Bryant.
However, Bartholomew County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Kathleen Burns objected to the testimony, saying it was not relevant to the sentencing. Monroe agreed with the prosecutor, noting that the evidence would be more appropriate for any appeals that Bryant might pursue.
Monroe sentenced Bryant to 20 years for the aggravated battery conviction, enhanced by 30 years for being a habitual offender. The sentences are the maximum the judge could order.
He said Bryant’s criminal record was “extremely aggravating” to his sentence. Bryant’s record includes five juvenile convictions and three misdemeanor and five felony convictions as an adult. Six of the adult charges were for batteries, the judge said.
Monroe said Bryant had shown no willingness to obey the law and posed a significant danger to the community.
“The community is not safe if you are out and about,” Monroe said.
Bryant told the judge he plans to appeal.
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