(ANGOLA) - 19-year-old Tyler Lee Biggs was told to serve 15 years of a 25 year sentence on Tuesday in Steuben Circuit Court for his part in a Jimmerson Lake murder almost a year ago. Biggs entered a guilty plea to a Class A felony of conspiracy to commit murder three weeks ago in connection with the death on July 7th of last year of Ruben Sanchez Junior of Muncie. Under terms of the plea agreement, the cap for executed time and probation would have been 25 years. Judge Allen Wheat cited "substantial mitigating circumstances" in the case before he passed sentence. He added there had been numerous letters written to the court about the case.
Ten years of the 25 year sentence was suspended and Biggs was also placed on probation for five years. Biggs was given credit for 331 days already served in jail. He was ordered to pay $18,000 in restitution to cover funeral expenses.
Prosecutor Mike Hess asked for a 25 year sentence with five years suspended and five years of probation while defense attorney Randy Fisher felt his client should have gotten 20 years with 10 years of the sentence suspended.
Biggs' two grandmothers were among those who spoke on his behalf. It was noted by one of them that he was a "good boy" who had a tough life since his father and mother abandoned him. But a grandmother of the victim said Biggs made the decision to take her grandson away from her.
Biggs called his actions stupid and apologized to everyone for what happened. He added "what happened that night is not who I am."
Biggs admitted under oath three weeks ago that he obtained and provided the gun to 28-year-old Mark Hines which Hines used to shoot and kill Sanchez. Hines has already admitted his guilt to the murder and was given a 45 year prison sentence last November.
According to testimony and witness statements, there was an argument followed by a fight between Hines and Sanchez before the shooting which culminated a night of 4th of July partying. A series of events which led up to the shooting apparently started when Hines became angry his girl friend talked with a man at a nearby bar and nightclub.
Since the plea agreement was accepted by Judge Wheat, prosecutors dismissed a murder charge against Biggs.