A man with a history of burglary and theft convictions was sentenced to 45 years in prison for breaking into a rural Franklin house and fighting with the homeowner.
Jeffrey L. Daniel, 40, Stilesville, was found guilty in a jury trial of burglary resulting in bodily injury. The maximum sentence he could have faced was 50 years in prison.
Daniel received a lengthy sentence because he has been to prison for burglary four times and was still on parole from his latest burglary conviction when he was arrested. He also injured the homeowner during the crime, which also led to the longer sentence, Johnson Superior Court 3 Judge Lance Hamner said.
“I like this trend that if it’s going to happen in Johnson County that these guys are going to get 45-year sentences and get confronted by a homeowner who’s not going to roll over and take it,” Prosecutor Brad Cooper said.
Daniel was most recently released from prison in February 2010 after being convicted in 2002 on charges of burglary, theft and battery in Marion County. He served less than half of a 20-year sentence before being released on parole, according to the Indiana Department of Correction.
On Aug. 31, 2011, police said Daniel broke into a house east of Franklin. The homeowners, Thomas and Madeline Harris, returned while he was in the house.
They wrote down his license plate number and called 911. Daniel came out of the house and tried to get in his truck while Thomas Harris was on the phone with police.
Thomas Harris attempted to pull him out of the truck, and he and Daniel began fighting. He was able to punch Daniel in the face and back of the head but received scrapes and cuts and was thrown to the ground during the scuffle. Thomas Harris was examined by emergency workers and then was taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital after the fight.
While her husband was fighting with Daniel, Madeline Harris was able to take several items, including musical instrument cases and collectible art pieces, out of the truck.
Other items that were missing included revolvers, a guitar, a banjo and a milk jug filled with change.
After the scuffle, Daniel got into the truck and drove away.
Police found Daniel the next day in Indianapolis driving the same truck he had used in the burglary, the police report said. Police found the milk jug stolen from the Harrises’ home in the truck when he was arrested.
The homeowners identified Daniel in a police lineup, the report said.