The Bartholomew County man who admitted to murdering his great aunt and abusing her corpse has received a 67-year prison sentence.
Bobby N. Truitt II, 20, will serve the time with the Indiana Department of Correction, with no time suspended, for the brutal murder and assault of 64-year-old Sharon Lovins.
The Waynesville woman was killed on Sept. 27, 2020 inside her home, investigators said.
Truitt was originally charged with rape as a Level 1 felony, but in a plea agreement within Bartholomew Superior Court 1, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of abuse of a corpse as a Level 6 felony. As part of the agreement, a third felony charge of auto theft was dropped.
Bartholomew Superior Court 1 Judge James Worton handed down a 65-year sentence for murder – the maximum allowed by Indiana law – and two additional years for abuse, which was six months short of the state maximum.
Bartholomew County Deputy Prosecutor Greg Long call Truitt “the poster child of someone who ought to be locked up for a very long time.”
In an earlier hearing, Worton told Truitt and public defender Benjamin Loheide the defendant is not eligible for any in-prison treatment program.
“She was beaten to death with a hammer by someone whom she loved and cared for,” the judge said during Tuesday’s hearing. “We’ll probably never know why.”
No motive was given by the defendant in the statement he read in his own defense. Instead, Truitt described the woman he killed as a great person who did so much to help him.
“I wish I could take it all back,” Truitt said at the sentencing hearing. “It was inhuman what I did.”
Long cited a quote Truitt said in an earlier interview when the defendant said he simply does not care for other people.
Although Worton had set aside two hours for family and friends to speak prior to sentencing, the only person who took the stand was the victim’s brother, Robert “Bobby” Perdue of Columbus, who spoke of his sister’s kind nature.
Perdue said the fact that nobody is able to establish a motive for Lovins’ murder has caused him substantial stress.
“She ain’t here no more – but he’s still here,” Perdue said. “I don’t think it is fair what he’ll be getting for what he’s done.”
Probable cause affidavits written by investigators portrayed the victim as a kind-hearted woman. Prior to the murder, Lovins had bailed her great-nephew out of jail in Franklin, gave him a ride back to Columbus, and offered to let him stay temporarily with her.
“She was trying to help him out, but within 24 hours, she was gone,” Long said.
The judge described Lovins, an Applied Laboratories employee nearing retirement age when she was killed, as “a cherished person in our community who didn’t deserve what happened to her.”
Something previously unknown to the general public did emerge in the courtroom Thursday. It was revealed Truitt had an extensive history of crime in Floyd and Jennings counties, as well as Bartholomew and Johnson counties, that was mostly on his juvenile record.
In Franklin, Truitt accepted a plea agreement that allowed him to plead guilty to sexual battery as a Level 6 felony. While he received less than a year in jail, the Johnson County judge ordered Truitt to register as a sex offender and stay at least 1,000 feet from school property.
Earlier crimes he was charged with include at least two cases of battery, resisting law enforcement and criminal trespassing, Long said.
In Truitt’s defense, Loheide said his client had suffered from mental illness, a history of substance abuse and a difficult childhood.
But Long responded by saying the defendant had been given several opportunities for treatment of his mental illness that included “Children In Need of Services” (CHINS) treatment, therapy and medication.
The judge said he refused to accepted a rough childhood as a mitigating factor in Truitt’s sentencing.
“There are a lot of people who had rough childhoods that do not brutally murder a loved one,” Worton said.
After Lovins was killed, Truitt told investigators he took her 1995 Ford Explorer and drove it to Indianapolis, where surveillance equipment showed him inquiring about buying a bus ticket to New York City, according to court documents.
Two days after the murder, Truitt was arrested after being found on an Indianapolis street among a group of panhandling homeless individuals, and was arrested and returned to Bartholomew County, the affidavit states.