WARSAW, Ind. — An Indiana teenager originally sentenced to 25 years in prison for helping kill a friend’s stepfather when he was 12 could now be released in about three months.
Paul Gingerich, now 18, is believed to be the youngest person in Indiana to be sentenced as an adult. He was resentenced Friday under a state law named for him called “Paul’s Law,” which allows alternative sentences for juveniles who commit serious crimes.
The new sentence Whitley County Judge James Heuer announced calls for Gingerich to be incarcerated for 300 days in a medium-security adult prison. With his participation in a community transition program that removes 120 days from his sentence and good behavior that can cut defendants’ sentences in half, he could be released after 90 days, said his attorney, Monica Foster.
“Assuming that Paul behaves as he has behaved in the past he will be released from that program after 90 days,” she said following the hearing in a Warsaw, Indiana, courtroom.
Gingerich, who is currently in a juvenile facility, would then spend one year in home detention followed by 10 years of probation.
Jody Hill, the assistant to Kosciusko County’s prosecutor, said Gingerich’s 90-day sentence won’t just “magically happen. There are things that need to done and fall into place before 90 days is actually the true number.”
The Indiana Department of Correction has determined that Gingerich has a low risk of re-offending.
“I know I committed a truly horrible crime and I am sorry for that,” Gingerich told the judge Friday. “I will never stop being sorry and I know sorry will never be enough.”
Gingerich and then-15-year-old Colt Lundy shot and killed Lundy’s stepfather, Phillip Danner, in 2010 at his home near Lake Wawasee, about halfway between Fort Wayne and South Bend. Each boy fired two shots, hitting the 49-year-old man four times.
The slaying was part of a plot by the boys and another friend to run away to California or Arizona.