Five months after being sentenced to 85 years in prison, convicted murderer Patrick Doyle was back in a Columbus courtroom to answer for the remaining local criminal cases filed against him.
On Feb. 17, it took a Bartholomew Circuit Court jury a little over an hour to find the 40-year-old Doyle guilty of the August 2021 killing of his live-in girlfriend, Heather Ann Steuver. The body of the 37-year-old victim was found in a shallow grave on the property of Nugent Sand and Gravel Co. two-and-a-half weeks after she disappeared.
In March, Judge Kelly Benjamin sentence Doyle to 65 years for murder and 20 additional years for being a habitual criminal. He had a total of 23 convictions at the time of his trial.
When he was sent to prison, Doyle still had three unresolved cases pending in Bartholomew County.
- 19 counts of possession of child pornography
- Violation of probation
- Battery by bodily waste
On Thursday, Doyle agreed to plead guilty to three of the 19 child pornography charges as Level 5 felonies. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Kimberly Sexton-Yeager asked that Doyle receive five years on each of the three counts for a total of 15 years.
But since it is likely Doyle will spend the rest of his life in prison, Sexton-Yeager agreed the additional time can run concurrently with the murder sentence. That means the two different sentences are served at the same time.
Doyle also pleaded guilty Thursday to violating the probation he received after a 2020 conviction for burglary and theft. Sexton-Yeager and defense attorney Joseph Villaneuva agreed that the three-year sentence for probation violation be served consecutively, which will extend earlier sentence.
The single charge in the third case, battery by bodily waste as a Class B misdemeanor, was dismissed.
In plea bargains offered last year, prosecutors offered to drop charges of possession of child pornography in exchange for a guilty plea for murder. But since the defendant repeatedly refused the offer, Bartholomew County Prosecutor Lindsey Holden-Kay decided to pursue those charges. If convicted of all 19 counts, Doyle could have received up to 104 additional years.
During the early stages of the investigation into Steuver’s disappearance, police discovered streaming videos of child pornography on Doyle’s cellphone, according to court records. It was Doyle’s responses while being questioned about these videos that, according to the probable cause affidavit, led to his confession about Steuver’s death.