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Griffin Sentenced To 50 Years In Prison For Belton’s Murder

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UPDATE:  Griffin’s sentence was reduced by the Indiana Court of Appeals from 50 years to 45.  Read the full opinion at the court’s website.


Michael Griffin, the man convicted of killing Indiana University English professor Don Belton, has been sentenced to 50 years in jail. Monroe Circuit Judge Teresa Harper issued the sentence Tuesday, including five years of probation once Griffin is released. Prosecutors had asked for a 55 year jail term — the standard for a murder conviction without aggravating circumstances.

Deputy Prosecutor Darcie Winkle declined to comment on whether she was satisfied with the sentence, noting only that Judge Harper acted within her discretion and did pronounce a total term of 55 years. Since Griffin was found guilty of Belton’s murder, Winkle said she’s spoken with friends and family of the slain professor seeking to put the crime behind them.

“I did speak with Don’s brother and he was obviously happy with the verdict; he wrote a letter to the court,” Winkle said. “He was unable to make the trip back in and in fact had stated in the letter that he has never seen Michael Griffin’s face and he doesn’t want to put a face to the name Michael Griffin. He said it would make it that much harder for him to move on from the events.”

Winkle said Griffin has indicated he plans to appeal the case to the state appellate court.  In the meantime, he’s been given credit for 505 days served in the Monroe County Jail. With good behavior cutting his sentence in half, the soonest Griffin would be eligible for release from prison is December of 2034.

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