JEFFERSONVILLE — A man who recently pleaded guilty to the 2018 death of a Jeffersonville woman has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Leevi Emery, 35, was charged with murder in October 2018, three months after he was arrested in connection with the death of 29-year-old Stevie Cornett at a home on East Chestnut Street where they and two others had lived. Cornett’s body was found hidden in a crawlspace in the home Aug. 6, 2018. Investigators said earlier they believe she died July 27 of that year.
The two other occupants were ruled out as suspects in the case. Emery was scheduled to go to trial July 7 but in June pleaded guilty to a level 2 felony for voluntary manslaughter.
During a virtual hearing in Clark County in which Emery appeared in person, defense attorney Mickey Weber listed mitigating factors that he believed should be taken into account by the judge — that Emery had a childhood “marked by neglect and abuse,” that he had been exposed to drugs at an early age and suffered from untreated substance abuse and mental health issues including Bipolar Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder and that he has dependents.
He argued that based on these factors Emery’s sentence be close to or below the advisory of 20 years listed in the pre-sentence investigation, with some time suspended.
“When Stevie’s death occurred, he was seeking treatment at Clark Memorial Hospital, he was trying to address his substance abuse dependance and his Bipolar Disorder...which would seem to reflect that he was trying to better himself and that he understood that he wasn’t entirely under the best control of his behaviors at the time,” Weber said.
Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tim Gray outlined what he believed to be aggravating factors in the case — a criminal history including nine felony cases, that the crime was committed while Emery was on probation and the manner in which Cornett was killed and hidden.
Clark County Circuit Court Judge No. 4 Vicki Carmichael ruled that based on the pre-sentence investigation, Emery has a high risk to reoffend and that the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating, and handed down the full 30-year sentence, which Gray had requested. A level 2 felony can carry between 10 and 30 years.
Emery was given credit for 745 days, or roughly two years since his Aug. 12, 2018. arrest, but cannot petition for a sentence modification until he has served 10 years.
Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull told the News and Tribune earlier that he had been willing to accept the lesser manslaughter charge Emery ultimately pleaded guilty to due to difficulty securing witnesses in the case. He said that some who had testified early on had later become unwilling or unable to testify during a trial.
“I’m pleased that Judge Carmichael imposed the maximum sentence on Mr. Emery,” Mull said after the hearing. “This was a terrible crime and it had been my objective from the very beginning to secure a very long prison sentence in response to it. I’m confident that the sentence will keep Leevi Emery in prison for most of his adult life and prevent him from hurting anyone else in the community.”
Emery has 30 days to appeal the sentence.