South Bend, Ind. A judge sentenced 22-year-old Khawann Lamar to the maximum of 65 years in prison for his role in a fatal Dec. 2012 home invasion.
Lamar is one of five men accused of breaking into a home in the 1000 block of North Michigan Street. During the home invasion, Sandra Price and several of her family members were slashed with a knife. Price later died from her injuries.
In exchange for pleading guilty to felony murder in July, two counts of robbery, two counts of burglary and one count of felony murder against Lamar were dropped.
During his sentencing hearing Friday, two of Sandra Price's family members spoke out.
Christine Jordan and her two children were inside the home on Dec. 27 when Lamar and the others broke in.
"We heard them tell her [Sandra Price] 'We're going to kill you and we're going to get away with it,'" Jordan said after the hearing.
Jordan's 14-year-old son, who was only 13 at the time, was the first person the men encountered when they got to the home.
His hands were cut so badly they no longer have full sensation.
"He [Lamar] did have the opportunity to walk away instead of walking over my child as he was laying on the floor bleeding and screaming,” Jordan said. “He could have picked up the phone that was right behind him and dialed 911. And, he chose not to.”
While Lamar agreed to participate in the home invasion, his attorney says he didn't physically harm anyone in the house. But, under Indiana law, Lamar can still be held accountable for Price’s death because he participated in the felony during which it occurred.
Price’s family asked Judge John Marnocha to sentence Lamar to the maximum penalty for his involvement in the horrific crime. Price’s daughter, Beth Beaty, says Lamar had been in her parents’ home and shared meals with them. She says her father, Kent, even gave money to Lamar when he was broke and offered him rides to work when he didn’t have transportation.
“The home that we’ve lived in for more than 30 years in no longer a safe haven,” Beaty told the judge.
But Lamar’s wife asked the judge to also consider her loss in deciding the sentence.
When her husband was arrested, two of her children were taken away. She still has custody of their 3-year-old son, who was at the sentencing hearing.
“He [Lamar] would do anything for his family,” she said in court. “And I believe that was the only reason he was at your house that night.”
According to Judge Marnocha, Lamar at one point was diagnosed with some type of psychiatric disorders. He also has no juvenile criminal history and his only previous adult offense was driving without a license.
But, after listening to the victim impact statements, Marnocha sentenced Lamar to the maximum penalty of 65 years with credit for time served.
“This was simply I think a matter of those folks have something, let’s get it,” he said. “I guess I don’t understand that."
Earlier this week, a jury found one of the other defendants in the case, 19-year-old Lee Griffin, guilty of two counts of robbery, two counts of burglary and two counts of felony murder. He’ll be sentenced Oct. 11.
48-year-old Walter Neely is serving a 115-year sentence after pleading guilty to murder and robbery.
19-year-old Nate Coley and 18-year-old Gemari Cotton both have trials scheduled for November.
Sadly, this isn't the first time Sandra Price's family has dealt with such a tragedy. Her own mother, Betty Rink, was murdered in April 1986.
Rink was 58 years old when she was found critically injured in her Haney Street apartment.
She'd been hit in the head with a hammer and later died from her injuries.
Tim King was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
According to the Indiana Department of Corrections website, his earliest release date is Sept. 2028.