MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana man twice sentenced to 141 years behind bars for a brutal 1991 slaying is set to be released from prison.
Delaware County Judge Kimberly Dowling on Thursday re-sentenced Matthew W. Stidham, to terms of 60, 50 and 20 years for his murder, robbery and criminal confinement convictions. The judge ordered those terms served at the same time, not consecutively.
The order means that Stidham, 44, is eligible for near-immediate release with credit for good behavior and time served, The Star Press reports .
“The defendant is ordered released to probation (for six years and nine months) in this matter,” Dowling said.
Stidham was 17 when he some friends attacked Daniel Barker, beating the 31-year-old Eaton man and stabbing him 47 times before throwing his body into a river.
The judge said in court that Stidham’s crimes were “heinous,” but that his accomplishments while in prison were “remarkable.”
Stidham earned college degrees while behind bars and also received several certifications related to firefighting while working as a fire captain at the Indiana State Prison.
His attorney said Stidham “changed drastically” over the decades and is no longer the “angry teenager” prosecuted for Barker’s death.
Stidham said he’s been on “a slow road to put the past behind me.”
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Eric Hoffman opposed the re-sentencing, saying Stidham and his accomplices attacked Barker “like a pack of wild animals.”
“This wasn’t just a murder,” he added. “This was a brutal, cold-hearted execution.”
Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com