Ronald Calvert will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars for killing his mother last year.
Handcuffed and shackled, Calvert appeared Friday in Howard Superior Court 4 and pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murder as part of a proposed plea agreement in the case.
Even though he took responsibility for killing his 67-year-old mother, Joyce Philapy, Nov. 30 at Stoney Creek Mobile Home Community, 1500 W. Markland Ave., Calvert did not say why he did it.
During the hearing, Calvert replied “yeah” and “right” when asked if he understood the plea and his rights. He did not elaborate on the crime.
In prior interviews with police and with the Kokomo Tribune, Calvert admitted to beating and stabbing his mother to death in detail and stated he was sick and tired of her so he killed her.
An autopsy showed Philapy died of blunt force trauma to the head and chest.
After ensuring Calvert understood the plea and his rights, Judge George Hopkins accepted the plea and sentenced Calvert to 50 years in prison. With good behavior, Calvert could be released in 2037 when he’s 75 years old.
When asked if he wished to appeal the sentence, Calvert quickly replied “no, that’s OK.”
The lone testimony in the sentencing hearing came from Philapy’s brother, Jerry Brewer, who said he agreed with the terms of the plea and just wanted Calvert to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“I’m here to represent my mother and the remaining family and show the court who she was,” Brewer began.
“Joyce was one of those rare people who loved everybody all the time. She always saw good in people. Joyce’s faith in God’s word is how she lived.”
Brewer went on to say that Joyce loved her son and tried to raise him to her best ability.
“Ron is a man of lifelong poor decisions,” Brewer said. “She taught him right from wrong and he made his decisions.”
Brewer concluded by asking the judge to sentence Calvert to the maximum sentence.
“When he was caught by police, he said he had thoughts about killing someone else,” Brewer said. “He should live out the rest of his live behind bars.”
Prosecutor Mark McCann echoed Brewer’s sentiment by requesting Calvert be sentenced to the maximum of 65 years with 50 years executed in prison and 15 years on probation.
The plea called for his sentence not to exceed 50 years executed time.
“Due to his criminal history and nature of this crime, he should not be a free man ever again,” McCann said.
Calvert’s attorney, Rodney Shrock, asked for a 40-year term and said when Calvert’s taking his medication he’s a different man.
“He committed a heinous act and he has taken responsibility for that,” Shrock said. “He would be 70 years old when he’s released and his likelihood of reoffending would be less.”
Prior to the plea, Shrock called Calvert’s mental competency into question by filing a motion for psychiatric evaluation. Mental evaluations by two physicians, though, determined Calvert was competent to stand trial.
Police initially arrested Calvert a few miles north of his trailer park on a resisting law enforcement charge after he was seen trying to get into another person’s car, Kokomo police reported.
That charge was dismissed by McCann as part of the plea.
When questioned at the jail, police said, Calvert admitted to the killing. After the interview, police went to the trailer and found Philapy’s body on the floor.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Calvert told Kokomo Police Detective Scott Purtee that he had gotten into an argument with his mother earlier that day. He stated he grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the floor and punched her “like a man,” according to the report.
Calvert further said he kicked her in the head and legs, then retrieved a butcher knife from the kitchen counter and stabbed her one to two times in the stomach and legs, reports show.
Mike Fletcher, Tribune crime reporter, may be reached at 765-454-8565 or via e-mail at email@example.com.