Starke County convicted murderer argues in appeal that court ignored self-defense claims

Matthew Schutz
By: 
Shawn McGrath
Staff Writer

A North Judson man convicted of murder and sentenced in October to the maximum is appealing both his conviction and his sentence, according to documents recently filed with the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Matthew Schutz, through his Knox-based, court-appointed attorney, Timothy Lemon, filed a brief on Feb. 13 supporting the reasons for his appeal of both his conviction and sentence.

A jury found Schutz guilty of a single count of murder for fatally stabbing 28-year-old Bradley White with a hunting knife in January 2017 inside Schutz’s home in the 4000 block of South Dawn Drive.

A Starke Circuit Court jury deliberated a little over three hours before finding Schutz guilty of fatally stabbing White a single time in the chest.

Judge Kim Hall sentenced Schutz in October to 65 years in prison, which is the maximum.

Hall said mitigating factors in the case were Schutz’s general lack of criminal history and his mental health. Schutz suffers from 14 mental health disorders, including some with a risk of violence, such as explosive disorder, conduct disorder, paranoia and anti-social personality disorder.

“Without professional psychological assistance and medication, he knew that he was a danger to himself and to others,” Hall writes in the sentencing order. “Although mental illness is a mitigating factor, this court finds that the voluntary refusal of this defendant to seek professional help to address and to minimize his numerous mental health issues and to lower his risk of engaging in irrational violence, is a significant aggravating factor.”

Along with Schutz’s failure to get mental health treatment, Hall also found his history of violence, abuse of alcohol and drugs, threats to kill the victim and others, and his lack of “appreciation for the value of a human life” to be aggravating factors warranting the maximum sentence, according to the sentencing order.

“The fact that the defendant does not appreciate the value of any human life, especially his own, makes him the most dangerous of all criminal defendants,” the judge writes in the order.

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