PRINCETON — Gibson Superior Judge Robert Krieg Wednesday ordered Jeremiah "Matt" Hartley, 32, Patoka, to spend 179 days in jail for direct contempt of court, a few hours after Hartley was booked on a misdemeanor charge of battery for punching his nephew's father in the court hallway.
Hartley's attack on Kwin T. Boes, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the May, 2018 death of his infant son Parker, was captured on video as Boes left in handcuffs and leg shackles from the Gibson Superior Court sentencing hearing.
As Boes left the courtoom in the custody of Sheriff Tim Bottoms and a deputy, video shows Hartley came from the area of the judge's office near the second-floor elevator and punched Boes in the face. The impact knocked Boes' glasses from his face and drew blood, but corrections officers took Hartley to the floor and cuffed him while the sheriff took Boes down the stairs to separate them.
Judge Krieg summoned Hartley back to court Wednesday afternoon and informed him that he was in direct contempt of court and would serve 179 days in jail. Krieg said the direct contempt order does not give Hartley the right to have an attorney to contest the order, but he can appeal the length of the sentence imposed.
"You waited outside the courtroom and when Boes walked out, you attacked him unprovoked," the judge told him. "You attacked him while the proceeding was still in progress, in disrespect to the dignity of the court."
Judge Krieg told Hartley his actions affected court safety and delayed procedures when the people in the courtroom were prevented from leaving until the hallway was secure. "You caused all kinds of issues," he told him.
"He killed my f-ing nephew," Hartley told the judge. "Nobody (in Hartley's family) knew what was going on."
"This is not the Old West," Judge Krieg informed him, imposing the jail time for the contempt order. "We are a court of laws and a nation of laws...That's pretty stupid what you did out there."
After imposing the contempt order, the judge informed Hartley of the class A misdemeanor battery charge filed against him, and found probable cause for the charge. Judge Krieg told Hartley it's possible the charge could be elevated to a felony if Boes, whose injuries were being evaluated, turned out to be more seriously injured.
While Hartley is not entitled to an attorney for the contempt order, the judge asked him if he wanted to hire an attorney or have one appointed for him on the battery charge.
"I'll represent myself," Hartley told him. "If I'm going to jail for 180 days I might as well be there a little longer."
Then he told the judge he wanted a speedy trial. "I just can't sit in jail 180 days, I've got to work," he told the judge.
"Then you shouldn't have pulled that stunt," Krieg responded.
"I couldn't help it," said Hartley. "I want a jury."
The judge set a Sept. 4 jury trial and again informed him that he's entitled to an attorney. "I did it," Hartley said. "We all know what happened...let's just say I punched him."
The judge set a final pretrial hearing for Aug. 21 and a progress hearing for 9 a.m. July 17.
"Can me and the state work something out?" Hartley asked.
Eventually, the judge told him to go back to jail and talk to his family to sort things out before coming back to court July 17.
Hartley's father and brother told the judge when the hearing closed that they were unaware he was at the courthouse prior to the attack. His father promised the judge that if he had known, he would never have allowed disruption of the court.