Court Report

WHITLEY COUNTY — A Williamsburg man accused of forcing his way into a home in May 2018 and holding its residents at gunpoint before robbing them accepted an agreement with prosecutors Friday, entering a guilty plea to lesser charges.

Samuel Plotnick, 42, appeared in Whitley Circuit Court for a scheduled pretrial conference Friday, where he entered a guilty plea to charges of an amended count of second-degree burglary, resisting arrest, second-degree fleeing or evading police and second-degree persistent felony offender. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors offered to dismiss some of his original charges as well as recommend lesser sentences for those he pleaded to.

As part of the agreement, prosecutors recommended that Plotnick serve 10 years for the count of second-degree burglary and 12 months in the county jail for the counts of resisting arrest and second-degree fleeing or evading police. The other count of second-degree persistent felony offender that Plotnick entered a plea to will enhance the burglary count to 15 years. All of the sentences are recommended to be served concurrently -- or at the same time -- for a total of 15 years.

Prosecutors also offered that the remaining counts against Plotnick, including charges of receiving stolen property - firearm and convicted felon in possession of a firearm be dismissed at his sentencing.

The amended count that Plotnick pleaded to was originally charged as first-degree burglary, a Class B felony that could have been punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison, if convicted.

Plotnick's attorney asked the court that formal sentencing be waived and proceed with sentencing during Friday's proceedings. In waiving the formal sentencing, Plotnick gave up his right to a pre-sentence investigation report -- which details the criminal behavior/background of a particular defendant -- that the judge would review before making a final ruling.

Judge Dan Ballou allowed the request for Plotnick to be sentenced Friday, ruling to follow the recommendations set forth by prosecutors for Plontick's punishment.

During the sentencing phase, Plotnick requested to make a statement. Plotnick has two co-defendants in the case, Cara Lawson and Courtney Willhite, who allegedly assisted Plotnick in the alleged incident. According to Plotnick, the two women are innocent.

"The two girls that are in this, they had nothing -- and I mean nothing -- to do with this," said Plotnick.

The pair still face charges in connection to the incident.

On May 7, 2018, Plotnick allegedly forced his way into a 2nd Street home in Williamsburg, where he took a .22-caliber pistol before holding it to one of the residents' heads while threatening to kill others in the home. He then fled the scene and got into a nearby waiting vehicle.

The residents were able to get a look at the vehicle and gave a description to police, which led to a traffic stop of the vehicle matching the description later that day. Plotnick, who was allegedly a passenger at the time of the stop, had to be tased by police due to acting erratically and attempting to fight with police. According to police, Plotnick "could not be controlled by taser deployment" and he soon fled on foot and could not be located.

The other inhabitants of the vehicle, Lawson and Willhite, were arrested. They were each initially charged with receiving stolen property, though they both face additional charges after being indicted in May 2018. Lawson was indicted on her initial charge as well as first-degree robbery and second-degree persistent felony offender. Willhite was indicted on her initial charge as well as first-degree robbery.

Three days after eluding police, Plotnick turned himself in. He was allegedly found sitting on a bench outside a Williamsburg business, where he asked employees to call 911. According to police, when officers arrived at the business, Plotnick was only wearing pants, stating that he was wet, tired and had not eaten in three days. The taser probe was also still planted in his chest. He was later indicted on his charges in August 2018.

Lawson is currently out on bond. Willhite remains jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center.

Plotnick remains jailed in a local jail.

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