Yoder gets 30 years for trying to kill his sister

tina mcgrady | [email protected]

A young woman who tried to kill her older sister by pouring boiling water on her and repeatedly stabbing her during an attack in 2020 was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison.

Blessing Jay Yoder, 20, has admitted to the July 5, 2020 attack that left his sister, Laura Thorpe, 31, scarred both physically and emotionally.

Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Harry Siamas accepted a plea deal that includes Yoder taking responsibility for the attempted murder charge, the most serious of the charges brought against him. In exchange, three other felony charges were dismissed: aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

Yoder must spend a minimum of 20 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. That portion of his sentence cannot be modified or suspended. The remaining 10 years of the sentence will be served on probation.

Upon his release from prison, Yoder was ordered to have no contact with his sister. He was given 138 days of credit for time served. His sentence was also ordered to be served consecutively with a previous sentence from Cook County, Illinois, for possession of a stolen vehicle, which is related to the local case.

“I’m sorry and I’m sorry,” Yoder said in a prepared statement that he read in court.

He added that he plans to make better decisions in the future; she hopes her sister will forgive her one day; and she thanked her family for her support.

Yoder, who had just turned 18 in March 2020, lived with Thorpe in an apartment on the east side of town. The two worked in a local factory and shared household expenses. Thorpe testified that the only friction between the two seemed to be over finances after Yoder became unemployed.

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Yoder had spent July 4, 2020, at his adoptive mother’s home in Jamestown and had called Thorpe for a ride back to the apartment. However, Thorpe was working and couldn’t pick up Yoder until July 5, 2020. The two returned to the apartment, where Thorpe said he got some sleep before starting to eat dinner and getting ready to go back to work. Thorpe testified that the two sisters were preparing dinner when she left the kitchen to go to the bathroom. Yoder proceeded to enter the bathroom and poured boiling water over Thorpe. She then began to stab Thorpe with one of two kitchen knives.

Thorpe told the court that he eventually used a laundry basket as a barrier to thwart the attack as he fled to his room and called for help.

When police arrived at the apartment in the 200 block of Knoll Circle, they found Thorpe bleeding significantly from multiple stab wounds to his face, neck, shoulders and upper body. Thorpe testified that he had 10 stab wounds. Thorpe also suffered severe burns to his left shoulder and chest from scalding liquid.

A kitchen knife with “blood-like” stains was recovered from the home, and subsequent interviews with neighbors resulted in a photo of Yoder from a doorbell camera, court records show.

Forensic technicians also recovered a handwritten list of “things to do” in the shared housing. At the top of the list, the words “kill Laura” were visible. Also on the list were the entries for “cleaning apartment and packing” and “moving to Florida.”

Thorpe sustained a large laceration to the right side of his face, near his eye, and several blisters were developing on his face. He had a significant cut to his left shoulder and a small laceration to his armpit area, according to court documents.

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“It appeared that a knife had entered the shoulder and pierced up to the armpit,” the probable cause affidavit says.

On the morning of July 6, 2020, Thorpe was transported to Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis, where her condition was listed as stable but critical. She was hospitalized for several days.

Yoder initially fled to Tippecanoe County, where he stole a car on July 6, 2020. That felony charge is still pending. Three days after the attack, Yoder was arrested at a hotel in the southwestern suburb of Countryside, Illinois, near Chicago, for possession of a stolen vehicle. She has since been sentenced to four years on that charge.

In her sentencing comments, Siamas said the attack was “horrible for the victim…she was going about her normal business at home, where she and everyone expect to feel safe.”

Before issuing his sentence, Siamas cited Yoder’s young age as a mitigating factor and that science has shown that minds are not fully formed at 18 years of age.

“Eighteen-year-olds do things they would never consider doing later in life,” he said.

Siamas added that Yoder’s remorse appears genuine, he did not have an adult criminal record prior to the attack, nor did he have a substance abuse problem.

However, Siamas cited other offenses stemming from the original incident as aggravating factors, the attack was not carried out off the cuff, and Yoder had made a to-do list.

Siamas said the 30-year advisory sentence on the attempted murder charge was the correct sentence in this case.

The judge encouraged Yoder to take advantage of the programming offered in prison, so that she is better prepared when she rejoins society.

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