A La Porte man said he hopes his 50-year prison sentence for muder serves as a community wake up call. With his voice cracking, 24-year old Brent Krueger warned others they could meet the same fate.
"I had a job and a life that is now gone. I was not a worthless drug addict. I had a problem,’’ Krueger said. "I hope everyone sees what drugs is doing to this town. It‘s not getting any better."
Friday, Krueger was given a 45-year prison sentence for murder and 5 years for burglary of four storage units near Michigan City in 2010. The sentence was issued under a guilty plea accepted by La Porte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos.
Krueger admitted to killing 46-year-old James Greve outside the victim’s apartment in the 1100 block of Indiana Avenue on Oct. 30, 2011. Police said Krueger was wearing a "Scream" mask when he approached Greve with a 12-gauge shotgun to rob him of heroin.
Defense attorney David Jones said Greve was with two other people who did not try to help him after he was shot in the chest. Instead, Jones said those people merely rolled him over on the ground and searched his pockets for heroin then vanished in the darkness.
"That’s what the drug will do to you," said Jones.
Police said Krueger decided to rob Greve because he refused to give Krueger heroin on a buy-now-pay-later deal. Greve was released from prison in 2010 after serving a 10-year sentence out of Allen County for armed robbery.
A friend of Greve's told the court Greve, had difficulty finding work and sold heroin to raise child support for his daughter. "He was a loving father and he was my best friend," Justin Mazur said.
From the witness stand Friday, Maureen Greve said she and her ex-husband were still friendly and he spent a lot of quality time with his 6-year old daughter. To Krueger she said, "He was her hero. You have also destroyed her sense of security that the world is a safe place and all people are good. May God rest your soul."
Krueger apologized to both families. He noted drug dealers are just as bad as the people who get hooked on drugs and then kill to get the drugs.
"Are people giving the drugs any better than me? I get 50 years and they get three or four. Does this make sense,’’ said Krueger.
Judge Alevizos told Krueger his opinion holds some truth, but taking a life cannot be overlooked. "I know you want to feel you are not any worse. In a way you are not, but murder has its consequences."