New Plea For Kosciusko County Murder Suspect

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

December 16, 2013 Updated Dec 16, 2013 at 6:16 PM EDT

KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. (21Alive) -- Paul Gingerich, 15, pleaded guilty for a second time to a charge of conspiracy to commit murder, in the April 2010 shooting death of Phillip Danner.

Colt Lundy shot Danner, his stepdad. Gingerich says he shut his eyes and fired two shots that also struck the victim.

A 25-year-prison sentence originally handed down to Gingerich in a plea was reversed by an appeals court that found Gingerich's lawyer didn't have sufficient time to prepare a proper defense.

Now, under a new statute called "Paul's Law", named for the defendant, Gingerich is looking at 25 years again, but this time, rather than being automatically transferred to an adult prison at age 18 to complete his sentence, he'll get a Department of Correction review at 18 and could be ordered to serve the balance of his sentence in prison, or under house arrest or even on probation.

Gingerich by all accounts has been a model inmate at the Pendleton Juvenile Facility.

"But the kid was good in school, he's a good boy. I mean, if you looked at some of the writings that he's done you would be shocked that this child was capable of this, and it's not because he is a sociopath, it was just a perfect storm of bad things happening," said Monica Foster, Defense Attorney.

"If the defendant does any type of bad conduct as the Judge had warned him today in the initial hearing, he will move on to the maximum prison facility, so that is always there," said Dan Hampton, Kosciusko County Prosecutor.

We'll find out whether the plea agreement is accepted at a sentencing hearing scheduled for the justice center on February 3rd. It's expected that Phillip Danner's family will be making statements at that time.

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