KENDALLVILLE — Former Noble County Prosecutor Eric Blackman says justice was not served in Thursday’s sentencing of Kyra Frost, the third and final defendant to be sentenced in relation to the March 5, 2018, double homicide in Ligonier.
Blackman, who was prosecutor at the time of the shooting that left two people dead at Riverside Villa Apartments, offered a comment after Thursday’s sentencing, when Frost received no prison time while being sentenced on two Level 5 felony counts of assisting a criminal.
Noble Superior Court 1 Judge Robert Kirsch sentenced Frost to six years, four executed, with the stipulation that the executed time could be served on home detention. After receiving credit for time already served in jail and on pretrial release, Frost’s remaining sentence boiled down to two years and 36 days.
“I was shocked and saddened when I read the headline that there would be no prison time in Kyra Frost’s case. Ms. Frost played an integral role in the commission of one of the most horrific crimes in Noble County’s history,” said Blackman, who was voted out of office in 2018 after serving one four-year term as prosecutor.
Blackman’s office had charged Frost and her co-defendant Tiffani Cox with aiding in armed robbery, a Level 3 felony, as well as aiding in felony murder at the outset of the case.
He had also charged the shooter, Michael J. Johnson with two counts of murder, two counts of felony murder and one count of attempted murder for the shooting.
Cox pleaded guilty to aiding in attempted armed robbery, a Level 3 felony, and was sentenced in October 2018 to 14 years, with eight years to be served in prison.
Blackman, along with deputy prosecutor Wendy Gensch, successfully tried Johnson at a jury trial in December, landing convictions on all five counts. His sentenced was held in early 2019, when current Noble County Prosecutor Jim Mowery argued for a max sentence and nearly got it, with Kirsch handing Johnson a 170-year sentence.
But Blackman aired disappointment late Thursday at both the plea deal that was offered to Frost as well as the sentence she ultimately received.
“This makes the decision by Noble County Prosecutor Jim Mowery to offer such a plea agreement to resolve Ms. Frost’s case, and for Noble Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch to accept it, both puzzling and disappointing. In my opinion, justice was not served,” Blackman said.
Mowery responded to an email Friday, stating he could not opine about the Frost sentencing.
At Thursday’s sentencing, Frost’s attorney Bart Arnold had accused Blackman’s administration of ignoring efforts made by Frost to cooperate with the investigation against Johnson and that Frost never should have been charged with the more serious crimes.
“They made a determination that (listening to Frost was) not what they wanted to do,” Arnold said. “She should never have been charged with these charges to begin with.”