PRINCETON — Jacob Wilson of Evansville was sentenced to 80 years in state prison Tuesday morning for murder, with a felony habitual offender conviction.
A Gibson Circuit Court jury found Wilson, 38, guilty of murder in the 2018 shooting death of Buckskin resident Samuel Bethe last month. Wilson chose to stipulate the habitual offender enhancement.
The sentence breaks down to 65 years for the count of murder and 15 years (14 years executed and one year suspended to probation) for the habitual offender count.
Judge Jeffrey Meade granted Class B credit and time served credit with the sentence.
Gibson County Prosecutor Mike Cochren asked the court to consider the 80-year sentence during his presentation of aggravators Tuesday morning.
Cochren said Wilson’s criminal history has often included violence to another person or the possession of a weapon.
“We believe he is a violent person,” Cochren said, “and a danger to society.”
Cochren said after the murder of Bethe there was an attempt to burn the body, and additional crimes committed in an attempt to escape.
The initial interview Wilson did with law enforcement was also highlighted, as Cochren said Wilson showed no remorse during what he considered a confession. “(He was) not indicating any degree of regret,” Cochren said.
During presentation of mitigators, defense attorney Shaunda Lynch highlighted Wilson’s criminal history in a different way. Lynch told the court Wilson had been working to get back on track from juvenile offenses, when at 17 he was charged as an adult in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court.
Lynch focused on Wilson being sentenced to state prison on his first adult defense, as well as his treatment in juvenile hall.
Lynch said she has been able to get to know Wilson and he is an intelligent, thoughtful person. “Jacob can still do something with his life if Jacob has the opportunity to get out in a reasonable time,” she said.
During sentencing, the judge found Wilson’s stipulation to the habitual offender count a mitigating factor, but said he would not second guess previous judges’ rulings, regarding prior convictions.
Meade said he would note the lack of remorse presented by Cochren, giving it “modest weight” as an aggravator, as well as the violent criminal history and seriousness of the crime.
Wilson chose not to speak on his own behalf at the hearing. “I would like to say some things,” he said. “But I think for once it’s better I keep my mouth shut.”
Wilson said he will be appealing, and asked for indigent counsel following the sentencing. Meade appointed the State Public Defender’s Office.