By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Plymouth man received a 7 1/2 year sentence after threatening to kill his relative and forcing her to accompany him to a gas station.
Gene Michael Poe, 37, 1400 Pioneer Drive 59, Plymouth, was charged with criminal confinement, a level 3 felony. An intimidation charge was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Poe pled guilty but mentally ill to the charge prior to sentencing in Kosciusko Superior Court One on Monday, July 19.
According to court documents, on Feb. 16, 2018, the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a person armed with a knife and threatening to kill everyone inside of a Marathon gas station on US 30.
Upon arrival at the scene, officers found Poe was the individual armed with a knife. Poe obeyed officers’ commands to drop the knife but refused to obey further commands. Several officers were successful in placing handcuffs on Poe.
After securing the scene, officers spoke with Poe’s relative about what occurred. She said Poe began threatening her earlier in the day and forced her to accompany him to a gas station by holding a utility knife to her side.
While walking across the gas station parking lot, Poe told her, “If you do one thing wrong, I’ll gut you right there in front of everybody.”
Once inside the gas station, the relative convinced Poe to let her use the restroom. While heading in that direction, she was able to gain the attention of an employee by mouthing, “Call the cops.” The employee was able to distract Poe long enough for the woman to lock herself in the restroom; then, the employee called 911.
During court proceedings, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Sobek said Poe’s plea agreement was in the best interest for justice. Defense Attorney Jay Rigdon said the plea agreement was fair given Poe’s mental health background.
“Everyone recognizes the mental health issues that may have been at play here,” said Judge Karin McGrath. “I’m glad you understand and take responsibility for what happened.”
For criminal confinement, Judge McGrath sentenced Poe to 7 1/2 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. Four and one half years will be executed and three years will be served on probation. Poe also has 1,249 days of jail time credit, or about three years and three months, in this case.
A no-contact order between Poe and his relative remains in effect.