James R. Eisert, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff
from the Ripley Circuit Court The Honorable Ryan King, Judge
Trial Court Cause No. 69C01-1603-F5-11
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE Alan D. Wilson Kokomo, Indiana
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Leanna Weissmann Lawrenceburg, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Tyler G. Banks Deputy Attorney General
James R. Eisert appeals his six-year sentence for Level 5
felony stalking and Class A misdemeanor invasion of
privacy. He argues that sentence is inappropriate
in light of his character and offenses. We affirm.
and Procedural History
Eisert was married to G.E., and together they had two
children, L.E. and M.E. By December 2015, Eisert and G.E.
were estranged, L.E. was at college, and M.E. lived with G.E.
On December 26, 2015, Eisert battered G.E. and M.E., and he
threatened to hurt G.E. and to kill G.E., M.E., and L.E.
Eisert was arrested, and the State charged him with multiple
counts of battery on December 30, 2015. The trial court
released Eisert on bond pending trial and ordered him to have
no-contact with his ex-wife or children, but on January 1,
2016, Eisert was arrested for violating that no contact
order. The court once again released Eisert from custody and
entered another no contact order as to G.E. and M.E.
Following the violence in December 2015, G.E. consulted with
workers at a domestic violence shelter to develop a safety
plan for herself and her children. G.E. changed the locks on
all the doors to her home and added two additional locks to
each door. She installed security cameras that recorded what
was happening at her house's back door and basement door.
She and M.E. changed their routines to ensure their arrival
and exit at work and school, respectively, were monitored by
On February 5, 2016, after 10:30 p.m., Eisert climbed onto
the roof of G.E.'s house, entered the attic through a
window, and then used razor blades to cut his way through the
dry wall between the attic and the living space. G.E. was
home alone, and when she heard someone trying to break into
the house, she called M.E. and then called 911. G.E. was on
the line with the 911 operator when she saw Eisert emerge.
G.E. screamed repeatedly and told the operator she was
running outside her house, but then the phone went dead. G.E.
tried to run out the front door, but Eisert grabbed her by
the hair, pulled her to the garage, and tried to force her
into a car. Eisert told G.E. that they needed to "go
talk to Jesus, " (Tr. Vol. II at 36), which G.E.
believed was a threat to kill her, and she was "scared
to death." (Id.) Before Eisert could get G.E.
into a car, M.E. returned home. Eisert fled the house and hid
near the woods until police used heat sensors to locate him.
G.E. was so terrified that she needed medical attention at
On February 9, 2016, under Case Number 69C01-1603-F5-11, the
State charged Eisert with Level 5 felony stalking, Level 6
felony residential entry,  and Class A misdemeanor invasion of
privacy. In May 2017, Eisert and the State entered an
agreement whereby Eisert would plead guilty to stalking and
invasion of privacy, while the State would dismiss the
residential-entry charge. The trial court accepted Eisert's
The trial court held a sentencing hearing at which the State
and Eisert presented evidence. The court then entered a very
detailed sentencing order to explain its sentencing:
Aggravating Factors are as follows:
1) The trauma suffered by the victim was significant and
continues to impact her, as well as continues to impact her
children. First, immediately after the crime the victim
suffered an anxiety related episode that resulted in law
enforcement calling an ambulance - she broke-down because
only moments before she believed that she was going to be
killed by her estranged husband. Second, Kim Bowman, Safe
Passage Director of Shelter, testified that the safety plan
implemented to protect the victim was the most extensive Safe
Passage has ever implemented: the victim had a security
system installed (which is why the Defendant accessed the
home through the attic), the locks on the marital home were
changed, guns were removed, and the son they share was
escorted to and from the school house doors. Bowman stated
that the Lethality Assessment indicated that the victim and
her family were in danger. Third, during the sentencing
hearing, the fear the victim had, and continues to have, is
readily apparent due to her demeanor of fear. Fourth, the
statements of the children concerning the events herein show
that they too fear the Defendant. The significant impact on
the victim and her children is a substantial aggravating
2) The nature and circumstances of the crime are
particularly egregious. The events of February 5, 2016,
are substantially aggravating: Defendant broke into the
victim's attic by prying open a window, then cut a hole
in the drywall between the attic and the residential portion
of the home using a razor blade to gain access to the living
quarters, attempted to pull the victim into a car while
telling her they were going to go "talk to Jesus, "
and when law enforcement responded to the home Defendant fled
and hid until he was discovered via the use of thermal