The Lisa Owens story this week has brought up an interesting question. How did the sentence modification occur?
On May 23rd of 2001, Lisa Owens killed her husband Jeff. On August 8th, Owens and the State entered into a plea agreement that provided that she plead guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter. The agreement called for the Starke Circuit Court to sentence her to 40 years in the Department of Corrections.
All parties to the agreement agreed that the plea would not operate as a waiver of Owens right to seek sentence modification or the State’s right to object to a modification.
The first motion to modify was filed on August 11th, 2003 and the trial court denied the motion, leaving the original sentence intact.
The second motion came on November 6th, 2006 and the trial court heard arguments and accepted evidence. The motion was again denied.
Owens then appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals and it ruled 2-1 that the trial court erred in determining that it lacked authority to modify the sentence and remanded the case back to Judge Raymond Kickbush to exercise his discretion in deciding whether to grant Owen’s petition for modification. Kickbush then modified the sentence over the state’s objection.
Owens is to be released in 2011 either in the spring or summer.