Posted on

Naylor goes to prison for at least 60 years

Harrison Superior Court Judge Roger D. Davis Friday sentenced John Michael Naylor, 23, Frankton, to 120-1/2 years in prison for the June 12, 2004, murder of Myrtle Satterfield, formerly of Marengo, the attempted murder of her daughter, Linda Pittman, in Mauckport, and related crimes. He may earn his release in 60 years with good behavior.
‘I’m just thankful it’s done and over with,’ said Pittman following the sentencing hearing. ‘I’m going to get on with my life and try to get some sense of normalcy.’
She said she is glad the judge saw through the ‘bull’ in the reasons Naylor claimed, through his attorneys, he should get a lighter sentence.
At sentencing, Naylor, in chains and wearing an orange and white jail jumpsuit, read from a statement he had prepared:
‘I’m sorry for all the bad things that have been brought to all the people,’ he said, speaking softly with his side to the audience. ‘I wish I could take the sadness and pain away from everyone.’
Later, Linda Pittman said she could not hear Naylor’s statement. ‘I wouldn’t believe anything he said anyway,’ she said.
Davis left the door open for an appeals court to impose a stronger sentence than he, should justices interpret a new sentencing law differently.
Under the old law, a heavier sentence could have been imposed because the evidence proved that Naylor and co-defendant Hobert (Albert) Pittman were ‘lying in wait’ to ambush Satterfield and Linda Pittman when they returned to the residence from Marengo. Albert Pittman was found guilty last year of both murders (including that of his father and step-grandmother), attempted murder and related crimes. He was sentenced to two life terms without the possibility of parole plus 73 years. His case is on appeal, which is usual.
At that trial, evidence showed the two ‘friends,’ who met in prison, waited at the rear of the Pittmans’ secluded house, in the tree line (as evidenced by two towels taken from the house that had been sat on), and then hid themselves from view in the garage when Linda and her mother arrived home.
Linda Pittman’s husband, Hobert, 59, was already dead from a single gunshot wound to the back of his head. He lay on the ground hidden from view, between his pickup and the house, covered with a blue tarp.
The three had been working at Satterfield’s farm near Marengo, making repairs to the fence, cleaning and painting the inside of the house. Satterfield, 80, whose legs had been amputated above the knees, was living with her daughter and son-in-law when the killings occurred.
When Linda and her mother arrived home, Myrtle was apparently killed during the first hail of gunfire, because Linda said she heard nothing from the back of the van where she had been seated in a wheelchair. Linda escaped with her life, she said, by playing dead.
The judge could not impose additional time for lying in wait because the prosecution had not asked for the death penalty and a request for life without the possibility of parole had been withdrawn. In return, Naylor had agreed to let the judge decide the sentence.
If he could, Davis said he would assign ‘heavy weight’ to the circumstances in deciding the sentence. But since he couldn’t, he left it to the court of appeals or the supreme court ‘to make their own decision.
‘The court of appeals or the supreme court may revise a sentence authorized by statute if, after due consideration of the trial court’s decision, the court finds that the sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender,’ Davis wrote in his 18-page ruling.
Davis considered that Satterfield was 80 and thus ‘old and helpless’; that Naylor had a history of criminal activity that included felony shoplifting which turned violent when he was confronted and pulled a knife; and, after he was released from prison, violated parole by committing the crimes he is charged with in this case. He had met with his probation officer on June 1, 2004, less than two weeks before the murders, Davis noted.
Besides murder and attempted murder, Naylor was charged and found guilty of burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, auto theft and assisting a criminal. The judge imposed consecutive sentences, as follows:
Murder of Myrtle Satterfield, 60 years; attempted murder of Linda Pittman, 40 years; conspiracy to commit burglary, 15 years; assisting a criminal, four years; and auto theft, 18 months.
He was not sentenced separately for the burglary because that was committed in conjunction with the murder, Davis said.
By allowing the judge to rule on the sentence rather than taking a chance the jury would send him to prison for life without the possibility of parole, Naylor will be eligible for release in 60 years if he stays out of trouble. Davis said that hardly seems likely, because Naylor had gotten into trouble when he had just three months to serve on the theft, battery and intimidation charges. As a result, he served the full six-month sentence.
Davis considered that psychiatrists had found that despite Naylor’s mental illness, he knew the difference between right and wrong and was competent to stand trial.
He was examined by more than one psychiatrist who found Naylor capable of standing trial and assisting his attorneys.
One, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Denise Epperson, testified at sentencing that Naylor has above average intelligence, makes up stories, is incapable of telling the truth, and doesn’t have normal impulse control. He maintained he had been coerced by Pittman into committing the crimes.
‘The court finds that the defendant’s alleged fear of the co-defendant (Albert Pittman) is just another one of the defendant’s made-up stories,’ the judge ruled.
Later, Naylor’s co-defense attorney Stanley Robison of New Albany said, ‘The judge made every effort to be fair and deliberative in reviewing all the information and evidence before him.
‘He did an admirable job of upholding the intent of the jury when it rendered its verdict.’
Robison’s co-counsel, David Mosley of Jeffersonville, agreed.
Both were appointed as public defenders by the court to represent Naylor.
Prosecutor Dennis Byrd and Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Colin were satisfied with the sentence.
‘It was an appropriate sentence, especially given the heinous nature of the crime,’ Colin said.
‘The whole situation is a very sad affair,’ the judge said. ‘Nobody would want to be in Mr. and Mrs. Naylor’s position. It is awful for them, and I feel sad for them having to be put through this.’
Davis added; ‘On the other side, two people are dead and another was almost killed. I feel even sorrier for them, sadder for them. Nothing I can say would relieve the pain … on either side. It is a very sad affair.’
He said to Naylor: ‘You have earned the sentence you are getting.’
Naylor showed no emotion during or after the sentencing.