AUBURN — An Auburn man has pleaded guilty to his role in a March 2021 break-in at Castle Court Apartments in Auburn that resulted in a sleeping girl being shot in the face.

Coltin Herzog, 19, of the 1900 block of Maple Street, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of burglary, a Level 4 felony, as part of a plea agreement filed in DeKalb Superior Court II. The plea agreement leaves sentencing open to the court. A Level 4 felony carries an advisory sentence of six years, with up to four years that can be subtracted for mitigating factors and six years that can be added for aggravating factors, for a sentencing range of two to 12 years.

The charge originally was filed as a more serious count of burglary resulting in serious bodily injury, a Level 1 felony.

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Also under the plea agreement, a charge of attempted murder, a Level 1 felony, will be dismissed. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 22.

Herzog admitted that on March 20, 2021, he was with a co-defendant, Dominick Stapleton.

Stapleton had hatched a plan to enter apartments to which he had the entry codes and enlisted Herzog to come along as the driver, Herzog agreed under questioning from his attorney, J. Seth Tipton.

At some point, Herzog went into an apartment to assist with taking items, or to act as a look-out, Herzog agreed.

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Herzog said he did not know Stapleton was armed with a gun, or intended to harm anyone.

In April, Stapleton, 15, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting a sleeping 16-year-old girl in the face during the break-in at the apartment.

Stapleton pleaded guilty to attempted murder as part of a plea agreement filed in DeKalb Circuit Court. The plea agreement stated the court would impose the mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years.

Stapleton’s case was waived to adult court earlier this year by DeKalb Circuit Judge Kurt Grimm.

In May, Stapleton sent a hand-written note to the court, stating he had decided to appeal his sentence “due to inadequate counsel,” and asked the court to appoint a public defender.

The court granted Stapleton’s request and appointed William Joseph Carlin Jr. for the purpose of appeal.

On May 24, Carlin filed a motion to correct error. Carlin said Indiana’s mandatory minimum non-suspendable sentencing scheme does not adequately account for the differences between juvenile and adult minds.

Originally published on, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.

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