Indiana Court of Appeals upholds Truitt’s 67-year prison sentence

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A Bartholomew County man’s 67-year sentence for his conviction of murdering his great-aunt and abusing her corpse has been upheld after the killer appealed the length of time he must serve in prison.

Bobby N. Truitt II, 21, was sentenced in May for the brutal murder of 64-year-old Sharon Lovins in her Waynesville home on Sept. 27, 2020. Truitt admitted to killing his relative and abusing her corpse. Bartholomew Superior Court 1 Judge James Worton sentenced Truitt to a term just short of the legal maximum for both offenses.

“She was beaten to death with a hammer by someone whom she loved and cared for,” the judge said at Truitt’s sentencing. “We’ll probably never know why.”

At his sentencing, Truitt described the woman he killed as a great person who did much to help him.

“I wish I could take it all back,” Truitt said. “It was inhuman what I did.”

On appeal, Truitt’s appellate defense counsel, Jane Ann Noblitt of Columbus, argued that the trial court had not given proper consideration to Truitt’s mitigating circumstances before imposing a sentence near the maximum.

“Truitt contends that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to find his remorse and difficult upbringing to be mitigating and in failing to give his mental-health issues, youth, and guilty plea sufficient weight,” Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the three-judge panel that heard Truitt’s appeal.

However, the appeals court on Monday issued its ruling that rejected those claims and upheld Truitt’s sentence. The panel that also included judges Terry Crone and Rudy Pyle III ruled that the five aggravating factors that Worton found supported the sentence that he imposed.

The aggravating factors included: Truitt’s criminal history; the nature of the offense; the crime occurred while Truitt was on bond for a sexual-battery charge; his victim was a close and loving relative who had just bonded him out of jail; and the emotional harm caused to Lovins’ surviving family and friends.

“We conclude that Truitt has not shown an abuse of discretion in the trial court’s consideration of facts bearing on his sentence, as his complaint that the trial court’s weighing of mitigating facts was erroneous is no longer part of Indiana’s review of sentences,” the appeals court ruled in affirming the trial court.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.