News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 11, 2013

Two more plea agreements in Long shooting case

Tribune-Star staff report
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Plea agreements have been filed for two defendants connected with the July 2011 shooting death of a Terre Haute police officer.

A Dec. 6 sentencing date has been set in Monroe Circuit Court 2 in Bloomington for 25-year-old Jenny Torres and for 23-year-old Jesse Padgett II. Both have admitted to resisting law enforcement on the day that Terre Haute Police officer Brent Long was killed in an exchange of gunfire with a wanted suspect, Shaun Seeley.

Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt said that sentencing will be argued for a class-D felony conviction, which carries a sentencing range of six months to three years in prison.

Monroe Judge Marc Kellams accepted the plea agreements on Thursday, and also set a Dec. 6 hearing date for co-defendant Roberta Utterback, who has also been charged in connection with Long’s death.

Co-defendants Heather Elkins and Charles Elkins have already been sentenced after accepting plea agreements in their cases.

The five criminal cases  — originally filed in Vigo County following the July 2011 incident — were venued to Monroe County after the defendants claimed they could not receive fair trials in Vigo County because of pretrial publicity and public outrage about Long’s death.

The five defendants were present in July 2011 when a federal task force presented an arrest warrant at the residence of  Heather Elkins on North Eighth Street. Officer Long was killed in an exchange of gunfire with Seeley, and Long’s K-9 partner, Shadow, was also injured by gunfire. Seeley later committed suicide, police said.

Modesitt said that Kellams stated that at Utterback’s hearing on Dec. 6, either a plea agreement will be submitted or a trial date will be set.

Modesitt also said that his prosecution team has not yet decided how many witnesses will be presented during the Dec. 6 sentencing hearing for Torres and Padgett.

Both defendants appeared in court Thursday with their attorneys. They are no longer incarcerated.

Utterback, however, remains held in the Vigo County Jail. She also faces unrelated criminal charges in several drug-related cases.