Muncie, IN – A career criminal convicted of breaking into a residence and beating a man with a gun during an armed robbery was sentenced to house arrest for nine years late last week.
Joshua Lee Ireland was one of four suspects arrested in connection with the Feb. 27, 2018 home invasion, during which three victims were held at gunpoint and robbed of firearms, shoes, video game equipment, and cash, The Star Press reported.
The suspects tied up one of the victims and pistol-whipped him during the attack, according to investigators.
Police said that in addition to being in possession of stolen items at the time of his arrest, Ireland was also carrying nearly two grams of heroin, 13 grams of methamphetamine, more than 30 grams of marijuana, and digital scales, The Star Press reported.
According to court records, Ireland is a habitual offender with prior convictions for battery, residential entry, two counts of burglary, two counts of marijuana possession, two counts of driving while suspended, conversion, driving while intoxicated, false informing, and possession of paraphernalia, The Star Press reported.
Ireland recently landed a sweetheart plea agreement reducing his methamphetamine distribution charge to a methamphetamine possession charge.
In exchange for his guilty plea on the amended charge and a robbery count, prosecutors agreed to dismiss two counts of theft, two counts of robbery, dealing in marijuana, dealing in a narcotic drug, possession of paraphernalia, and domestic battery, The Star Press reported.
Delaware County Deputy Prosecutor Maricel Driscoll recommended a sentence of 12 years in prison during Ireland’s sentencing hearing on March 16.
But Delaware Circuit Court 2 Judge Kimberly Dowling opted for a much more lenient sentence and committed Ireland to nine years of electronic house arrest followed by three years of probation, The Star Press reported.
Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman blasted Dowling’s decision and said he “vehemently” disagreed with giving a repeat offender like Ireland such a lenient sentence.
“Josh Ireland is a career criminal who belongs in prison,” Hoffman told The Star Press.
It is unclear when Ireland will be released from custody to begin his nine years of house arrest.