Judge Kim Hall gave Jack Haut a stiff sentence yesterday afternoon in the Starke Circuit Court. Hall described Haut as “a despicable human being that deserves far more than the eight years for killing another man,” and Prosecutor Nick Bourff said he was a “medicated menace.”
Haut was found guilty by a jury of his peers on July 21 of Reckless Homicide after striking the motorcycle of Tom White with his pickup truck on U.S. 35, killing him instantly. Neither the state nor defense had any evidence to present, but several victim impact statements were read. Haley White, the daughter of Tom White, read a letter she had written about her father. The letter was charged with emotion, and Haley choked up while she read it aloud to those present. Several other letters were also read, including a letter from Amy White, White’s sister. Tom White will be missed not only by his close family, but also by friends and those who barely knew him. The maximum sentence was requested in all of the letters, and several people also recommended his license be suspended for as long as possible.
In his argument, Prosecutor Nick Bourff told Judge Kim Hall that there wasn’t much more to say than was written in the letters. Bourff did say that in the pre-sentence investigation, Haut said he does not have a drug problem, but admitted to using cocaine, crack, and marijuana. Bourff said he was disturbed to see Haut’s lack of concern.
The defense said that Haut was only impaired by the medication he was prescribed. He was not texting, was not using his cell phone, and was not doing anything else that would have distracted him. The only thing that affected him was the medication he had been taking.
Judge Hall explained Haut’s aggravating factors, and listed a significant number of them, including calling Haut a “self-absorbed drug addict” with no concern for the law. Haut has no remorse, Hall said, committed perjury during his trial, lied to police, violated probation, has a lengthy history of criminal behavior, and is likely to violate the law in the future.
Haut received the maximum sentence of eight years, with none suspended, to be served in the Department of Corrections. Judge Hall also added 18 months from a previous sentence that had been suspended on the condition that he successfully complete the recovery program “A Forever Recovery,” but he dropped out of the program. An additional 24 months from the probation he had violated was also added. In all, Haut received 11 and a half years in the Department of Corrections. An appeal is expected.