PRINCETON — An Avon man convicted by a Gibson Circuit Court jury last month of conspiracy to bring a pound of methamphetamine from Mississippi to Gibson County for sale was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison.
Edwin Short, 37, told Gibson Circuit Judge Jeffrey Meade he will appeal the conviction, and the judge appointed his defense attorney, John Tomkins, for the appellate work.
Short was charged in May 2016, accused of conspiring to bring more than 400 grams of meth, with a resale value of $45,000, into the community. Short was a passenger in one of the two cars stopped early on the morning of Feb. 13, 2016 for improper lane usage on U.S. 41 near Warrenton.
"I want to apologize to my family for putting you through this," Short said at Wednesday's sentencing hearing. Short said he would not have gone to trial if he was guilty of the charge. "I wouldn't have lied about it. I got my life together," he told the judge. He said he's worked the same job for the last five years, repairing computers for banks. "I was not selling drugs, in possession of drugs or doing any drugs," he said. "I wasn't involved. I do believe they (prosecutors) painted a picture of me that was incorrect — that I was a monster — and I wasn't."
Tomkins argued for mitigating factors at sentencing, including the lack of any guns, fighting or fleeing from police. Reviewing Short's criminal history, Tomkins said more than a decade has passed since his last criminal offense, and requested that Short be allowed to participate in Indiana Department of Corrections Purposeful Incarceration Program.
He also pointed to trial testimony that it was not Edwin Short who was making the calls directing the car carrying the meth. "Louis (Short) was making the calls. It did not appear that Edwin had a major role. His role in the overall conspiracy was relatively low."
Special prosecutor Stan Levco argued for at least the advisory 17 1/2 year sentence, noting that Short's prior convictions include a felony drug conviction and armed robbery."
Judge Meade said aggravating factors in the case include Short's prior criminal record and trial testimony that he has more recently sold meth.
Imposing the 25-year prison sentence, Judge Meade noted that the last year could be served on work release, and that Short will receive credit for the time he's served in custody since Dec. 13. He will be eligible for one day off his sentence for every three days served without incident, the judge said.
Short's family attended the hearing, and his fiancee, Mary Williams, asked the judge to allow her to speak after the sentence was imposed. The judge said that since she was not called as a witness, he couldn't hear her remarks.
Outside the courtroom, Williams said the entire process was unfair. "They made it up and plugged his name into it," she said. She said Short supported his family for 15 years, was a responsible head of the household, read books to his daughter nightly, and is not the man portrayed at trial or at sentencing. "It's not fair," she asserted.