In Ripley Co
On December 14, 2018, Christian Stewart, 23-years-old, of Madison, IN, was found guilty as charged of Conspiracy to Commit Burglary While Armed with a Deadly Weapon, a Level 2 Felony, and Possession of a Firearm as a Serious Violent Felon, a Level 4 Felony following a four-day jury trial. Stewart will be sentenced on January 10th, 2019, by Judge Jeffrey Sharp with a range of imprisonment from 10 to 30 years on the Level 2 conviction and 2 years to 12 years on the Level 4 conviction. Stewart’s charges stem from two burglaries he, his younger brother, and his girlfriend completed in the Cross Plains, IN area during the morning and early afternoon of May 16, 2017.
Defendant’s younger brother, Cameron Stewart, and Defendant’s girlfriend, Kelsey Luellen, have both been previously convicted of burglary charges for their role in the crimes and are currently serving sentences at the Indiana Department of Corrections.
The investigation began when Ripley County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant, Randy Holt responded to a call placed by one of the victim’s neighbors that a cabin had been broken into and a tractor had been destroyed. Upon arrival, Christian Stewart was located in the area where the neighbors had found him possessing a loaded handgun. While at the scene and after learning that there were potentially more individuals involved in the burglary, Lieutenant Holt responded to a vehicle stuck in a field within approximately a half mile of the burglarized cabin. At the truck, Holt located Stewart’s girlfriend, Kelsey Luellen, along with items taken from the cabin, multiple facemasks and bandanas, and multiple pairs of gloves. Shortly thereafter, officers observed a third individual, later identified as Stewart’s brother, Cameron Stewart, located in a house approximately three-quarters of a mile from the first burglary. After officers had the house surrounded, the individual attempted to flee from the house but was quickly apprehended by officers where he also had a loaded handgun in his possession.
At both scenes, the burglars were extremely destructive. Both of the burglary scenes included a kicked-in door and broken windows so that they could enter and exit the buildings. While in the buildings, the burglars turned over and broke furniture, pulled items off the wall, removed drawers from dressers and cabinets, and left the buildings completely ransacked.
At trial, the State of Indiana was represented by Chief Deputy Prosecutor Shane A. Tucker. Tucker wanted to compliment the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office for their dedication to this case and their thorough investigation. Further, Tucker wanted to thank the jury for their attentiveness to the evidence throughout this trial. Regarding the case, Prosecutor Ric Hertel stated, “These defendants placed many lives in danger that day. We’re very happy with the jury’s finding of guilt on all counts.”