“I was scared (the intruders) would find my grandfather in the hospital and kill him,” the letter read. “I didn’t want him to die.”
Daughter Alisha Long talked about the crime’s impact on her parents and family.
“Their lives and ours will never be the same,” Long said, later adding, “As a family, we do not want to see another family go through this ordeal.”
Deputy Prosecutor Don Pitzer said Hill and Hunt broke into the Neers’ home and had the cowardice to attack and violently injure an elderly man.
“This is one person who must never be released in the public again, period,” Pitzer said of Hill.
In testimony Thursday, Neer family members indicated Hill had attempted to sexually assault Beverly. Hill denied that allegation. Prosecutors did not file any sex crime-related charges against Hill.
Given the opportunity to speak, Hill stood up from the defense table and turned to face the Neers.
“I’m sorry for what happened to you,” he said. “...What we did was wrong. I’m sorry. I have no reason to lie. Pretty much my life is over with.”
Hill told the Neers he understood why they were angry.
“I wouldn’t want that to happen to my parents,” he said tearfully.
Judge Shewmaker pointed out that Hill has 11 prior felony convictions. Pitzer had listed prior offenses including burglary and automobile theft.
“At some point in time, someone has to say enough is enough,” Shewmaker said.
Hill’s plea deal with prosecutors allowed him the option of appealing his sentence. Hill told Shewmaker Thursday that he does plan to appeal.
Hunt’s next scheduled court appearance is June 19.
In another home invasion case, Antoine McDuffie, 21, Bay Pointe Drive, Elkhart, was sentenced for his role in a Goshen robbery that also took place Nov. 4.