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Words give window into pain

March 30, 2011

COLUMBIA CITY — Linbeth Doggendorf’s voice was barely audible as she gushed about the daughter she lost more than a year ago.
Her testimony could barely be heard in a courtroom with bad acoustics, compounded by her soft-spoken nature and muffled further by the sobs of friends and family.
“It’s turned our world upside down,” she said. “Nothing is the same. Everything’s not right anymore.”
The mother of Kaylin Doggendorf, who was raped and murdered March 18 of last year, displayed the emotion felt by nearly everyone in the courtroom Monday as the young girl’s convicted killer appeared before Whitley County Circuit Court Judge James Heuer for sentencing.
In fact, while even Defense Attorney Brad Voelz choked back tears when addressing the court, it seemed the only person in the crowded room who appeared anything but saddened was the defendant, 18-year-old Joshua Wright.
Wright entered the courtroom with a shirt and tie, a fresh haircut and a smirk as he awaited the decision by Heuer on whether an agreed 100-year sentence would be invoked.
When asked twice by Heuer if he would like to speak, Wright refused, instead choosing to address the court and the family of the victim through a letter read by Voelz.
“I would first like to say how sorry I am for what I did and the heartache it caused the Doggendorfs,” read Voelz from a letter he said was penned by Wright.
In his own words, Voelz expressed his own condolences to the family of Kaylin Doggendorf.
“I can’t imagine what this must be like,” he said. “The Doggendorf’s patience has served them well.”
Wright was given a total of 100 years for raping and murdering 14-year-old Kaylin last year.
Her body was found in a briar patch just 1,500 feet from her residence in eastern Kosciusko County.
The Doggendorfs live in western Whitley County on the Whitley/Kosciusko county line.
The normally soft-spoken Heuer was more vocal than usual after hearing testimony from both the prosecution, family members of Kaylin and Voelz.
“In a few days I’ll start my 20th year,” said Heuer. He said that if he’d been told at the outset he would be judging a case involving a (then) 17-year-old murdering a 14-year-old, “I’d have said ‘that’ll never happen on my watch.’”
He described the crime as “brutal and horrific” and had an equally descriptive choice of words for the defendant.
“You may be one of the most vicious and depraved individuals who’s ever stood in this room,” he said to Wright.
“I shall never know how or why this could have happened in our community,” Heuer said.
Wright was given the 100 years in exchange for the state dropping its quest for a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
According to the Indiana Parole Board, Wright typically would be eligible for parole in 50 years.
However, based on good behavior, the parole board could grant clemency earlier than 50 years.

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