News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 8, 2013

Man pleads guilty, mentally ill for Nov. 2012 shooting

Staff Report
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A Terre Haute man has pleaded guilty to a Nov. 11 shooting that injured one man.

Clarence E. Sandifer, 37, appeared in Vigo Superior Court 3 on Monday morning where he pleaded guilty but mentally ill to an amended charge of attempted murder, a class-A felony, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a class-B felony.

A charge of aggravated battery was dropped in the plea agreement.

A court-ordered evaluation of Sandifer revealed a diagnosis of methamphetamine-induced psychosis at the time of the shooting.

Sandifer was arrested after a shooting that occurred at a home in the 2000 block of North 13th Street near Maple Avenue. During a struggle with the alleged victim, Sandifer allegedly shot the other man in the chest with a small-caliber handgun. Sandifer then fled the scene. The alleged victim had been trying to defend a woman that Sandifer was battering, police said.

The shooting victim was hospitalized and later released.

The plea agreement also wraps up a 20-count drug case filed against Sandifer as the result of a narcotics investigation that occurred before the shooting. Sandifer agreed to plead guilty to four class-A felony counts of dealing methamphetamine, and five class-D felony counts of dealing marijuana. Other charges of possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance were dismissed in the plea deal.

Judge David Bolk set a Nov. 12 hearing date for acceptance of the plea and sentencing.

The plea agreement calls for a 50-year sentence with 35 years served in prison followed by 15 years suspended to formal and informal probation.