GOSHEN — Jeffrey Hill said nobody was supposed to get hurt. That’s not what happened.
On the night of Nov. 4, 2013, Donald Neer suffered skull and wrist injuries and three broken vertebrae in his neck. His wife, Beverly, was thrown to the ground.
The Neers sat in the front row of the audience section in Elkhart Circuit Court Thursday. They heard Hill say he was sorry. They also listened as Judge Terry Shewmaker sentenced him to 120 years in prison.
Hill, 43, Winona Lake, earlier this month admitted his role in the home invasion at the Neer residence south of New Paris. He’d pleaded guilty to armed robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, a Class A felony; burglary, a Class A felony; conspiracy to commit burglary, a Class B felony; and criminal confinement, a Class B felony.
Authorities allege that Hill and his son, 26-year-old Jeffery Hunt of Winona Lake, broke into the Neers’ home and robbed the couple. Prosecutors say Hunt and Hill stole a .50-caliber muzzleloader, a .54-caliber muzzleloader, a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, an extra gun barrel, gun cases, a flat-panel television, a DVD/VCR unit and approximately $100.
Family members of Hunt and Hill implicated the men in the robbery, according to police. Investigators said the Neers’ property was later found at the home of Hill’s mother and Hunt’s grandmother in Chicago.
Donald Neer was 82 years old at the time of the robbery, and Beverly 78. On the witness stand Thursday, Beverly Neer said Hunt beat her husband over the head with a tire iron.
“Don’s clothes were soaked in blood,” she said.
Neer asked that Hill be sentenced to the full extent of the law. “He will do this again if he gets out,” she said.
Children and other family members of the Neers also testified Thursday. Daughter Amber Osswald read a letter from her own 11-year-old daughter in which the child described her grandparents as “awesome examples of Christ.” She also wrote about fear.