By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — A man who received a 38-year sentence for carjacking and threatening an elderly woman had his sentence upheld on Tuesday.
Jimmy Nave Jr., 34, of Anderson, had his appeal denied by Judge Paul Mathias of the Indiana Court of Appeals. Nave was originally given a sentence of 38 years, with 35 executed in prison, in July by Madison Circuit 4 Judge David Happe. After a one-day bench trial on June 18, Happe found Nave guilty of kidnapping, a Class A felony.
On Feb. 16 in a Mounds Mall parking lot, Nave jumped into the backseat of an 81-year-old woman's car, allegedly held a knife to her neck and told her to drive.
Several police officers who investigated the case testified, but key information came from the victim, Nave’s mechanic and a witness who watched the incident unfold.
Nave also testified, telling the court he jumped into the car because he saw someone back into his vehicle in the parking lot and was trying to track down the person responsible. He admitted to getting into the woman’s car and yelling at her, but said he only did it out of frustration. Happe said the story was implausible, and found Nave guilty.
Nave was also convicted of attempted carjacking, but the charge was negated Monday when it was determined the two charges violated double jeopardy.
Happe used Nave's criminal history as a leading factor in levying the lengthy sentence. In 2000, Nave and his brother robbed a bank at gunpoint and tried to abscond to Tennessee. They were eventually convicted and Nave spent time in a federal prison for the crime. He was still on federal probation when he attacked the woman in February. At sentencing, Happe encouraged Nave to stop denying and take responsibility for his actions.
In his denial of the appeal, Mathias agreed that the sentence was slightly higher than typical for a Class A felony, but nowhere near the maximum of 50 years. He wrote that considering Nave's history and the nature of the offense, the sentence was appropriate.
"Nave attacked a particularly vulnerable victim ... Nave's actions went beyond the bare minimum required to commit the crime. Thus, the nature of the offense supports the the trial court's sentence," Mathias wrote in the decision.
On Monday, the victim, now 82, said she thought the sentence might have been a little cruel, but at the same time she's glad Nave will have to serve time.
"I just wouldn't want him to do something like that to someone else," she said.
The woman said she's still not 100 percent sure Nave was the person who attacked her, because the incident happened so fast, but she was fairly certain they convicted the right man. The eyewitness, who came to her aid in the parking lot, positively identified Nave in court.
She said she had never been more scared in her life than that day, and the incident has made her more cautious of her surroundings.
"It was a very nerve-racking experience," she said. "I'd like to be able to just stay in and not go out anymore, but I'm not going to do that. If I do that, he's already won."
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