WTH man gets 30 years in girlfriend's death

Floyd Cheesman

A West Terre Haute man was sentenced to 30 years in prison Tuesday in connection with the September 2020 death of his girlfriend.

Floyd “Spanky” Cheesman, 44, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, a Level 2 felony, in Vigo Superior Court 6 where Judge Michael Lewis said Cheesman is a serious violent felon who loses all rights to possess any firearm.

During a sentencing hearing Tuesday, Cheesman made no comments to the court after victim impact statements were presented by the sister and daughter of Kacie Hartbank.

Cheesman was charged with murder and auto theft in the Sept. 21 strangulation death of Hartbank at her home in the 2000 block of Fourth Avenue. A plea agreement called for a 30-year prison term on the lesser count of voluntary manslaughter, which applies to a murder committed during “sudden heat.”

As noted in the probable cause affidavit, Cheesman said he argued with Hartbank when she came home and he pushed her against the wooden steps of her bunk beds. While Hartbank was on the bedroom floor, Cheesman said, he choked her until she went limp. Those circumstances qualify for voluntary manslaughter under Indiana law.

Police found Cheesman at a local motel after he had been seen driving Hartbank’s car and trying to sell some of her belongings.

Cheesman receives credit for 298 actual days and 98 credit days served in the Vigo County Jail awaiting resolution of the charges.

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