WARSAW — Prosecutors say a Pierceton woman’s cooperation during an investigation of a crime in which she was also implicated helped to successfully prosecute the crime’s ring leader and may have ultimately afforded her a lighter sentence.
Heather Kay Hersha, 33, 8013 E. CR 250S, Pierceton, was in court on Feb. 14 where she pleaded guilty to criminal confinement, a level 6 felony. She appeared in Kosciusko County Superior Court 1 for sentencing on Thursday, March 21.
Hersha was accused of assisting two men, Shawn Lee Jefferson of Pierceton and Freddy Lee Roberts of Mentone, in battering a male victim during a five-hour ordeal in December of 2017.
Prosecutor Brad Voelz said Hersha’s cooperation helped to facilitate the prosecution of Jefferson.
“One of the reasons he pleaded guilty is because of Heather’s cooperation,” said Voelz.
“I wanted to give her credit for what she did to help put this bad guy away.”
According to police, Hersha was present and played a role in an incident where a man was lured to Jefferson’s house by Hersha and then battered with what the victim believed was a baseball bat. During the initial stages of the altercation, the victim bit off one of Jefferson’s fingers.
The victim was tied up and put in the trunk of a car, but was later left and able to escape and seek help.
“She’s learned a very valuable lesson,” said Hersha’s attorney, Scott Lennox.
Superior Court 1 Judge David Cates told Hersha that this case wasn’t her first brush with the law. “You do have a criminal history,” Cates said. “But you also appear to have a substance abuse problem and it bothers me that you don’t seem to think substance abuse is a problem.” Cates also cautioned Hersha about becoming involved with people like Jefferson and Roberts.
“Peer associations matter,” Cates said.
Cates sentenced Hersha to two years in the Kosciusko County Jail and suspended the term in favor of probation. Hersha was also ordered to pay $23,607.41 in restitution to the victim in the case. She stayed in place after her sentencing for a hearing on violation of probation in another case. Cates extended her probation term in that case by another year.