INDIANAPOLIS — “I’d like to say I’m sorry.”
In court Friday afternoon, Thomas Stone apologized directly to Robyn Matthews, the woman he raped in 2016 during what prosecutors called a “reign of terror.”
Despite the apology, a Marion County judge sentenced Stone to 26 years for three counts of rape, one count of criminal confinement and one count of intimidation in connection with the February 2016 rape of Matthews.
As part of his sentence, Stone will have to register as a sex offender the rest of his life and the court found him a sexually violent predator.
Matthews has been waiting nearly seven years for justice to be served.
It’s an update to a WRTV Investigation we brought you earlier this year— Justice Delayed.
The judge said in 15 years, the court can reconsider the remainder of Stone’s sentence in the Indiana Department of Correction if he’s had no violations and has shown good behavior.
He had faced a maximum of more than 55 years in prison.
Stone can appeal both his conviction and sentence and the court appointed a public defender to handle the appeal.
He apologized to Matthews, but Stone said his attorney told him not to say much more.
Matthews said she was surprised to hear Stone admit to raping her.
“Frankly, the apology didn’t feel genuine, as people who are truly sorry don’t proceed to file an appeal to claim that they are actually innocent,” said Matthews.
Matthews said she was pleasantly surprised by the 26-year sentence.
“I felt that he probably deserved twice that amount, but I am happy with this outcome and feel optimistic that further justice will be served as a result of his next rape trial for a separate victim,” said Matthews.
A third woman, Mikayla Devore, says Thomas Stone raped her in 2016 but that trial has not yet been scheduled.
The case against Thomas Stone has been pending in the Marion County judicial system for nearly seven years.
"It's extremely bothersome this case is so old," Judge Grant Hawkins said Friday.
Robyn Matthews read a victim impact statement in court in which she expressed the impact the rape has had on her life.
“It’s impacted every job I’ve had, my relationships, my mental health,” said Matthews. “The fact that I have had to wait this long it’s been frustrating. But I’m happy to finally close this chapter.”
Matthews is ready to move on with the criminal justice process.
“I won’t ever have to worry about trials again or speaking in court again,” said Matthews. “There’s only an extent to how much I can move on from it.”
Stone was found not guilty of raping another woman in 2016, but WRTV is not naming the alleged victim because she does not want to be identified.
“It's been very emotional and I’m still processing my emotions over it,” Matthews told WRTV after the verdict was read in August 2022. “I’m just happy to close this chapter of my life and move on. I feel very good and at peace.”
Robyn Matthews had hoped he would receive a harsh sentence for raping her.
“He's going to be gone for a while and this won't be happening to anybody else,” said Matthews in August.
After Matthews spent an evening out in Broad Ripple with friends, Stone forced Matthews to perform oral sex in his car, then took Matthews his house on Vistamere Way where he raped her.
Stone has refused to answer any questions from WRTV Investigates.
New efforts are underway across the state to address delayed justice for both victims of crimes and defendants.
WRTV’s Investigation Justice Delayed revealed the many reasons why justice can be delayed: COVID-19 delays and shutdowns, defense strategy, court and attorney caseloads, as well as the number of witnesses and evidence involved in a case.
We uncovered no state or local agency appears to be tracking how long criminal cases take.
Hancock County prosecutor Brent Eaton wants to change that.
“Anything you measure you're going to become better at," said Eaton.
Eaton is looking at creating a database for Hancock County using software designed by the nonprofit organization called Measures for Justice.
It could track how quickly cases move through the system, how cases end and what percentage of referrals from law enforcement are actually charged.
“That would be interesting to know,” said Eaton. “I think a database would bring accountability and transparency so people would have an idea of what they’re actually doing based on actual facts.”
Eaton said tracking the length of criminal cases would be a valuable tool for improving public safety.
“As prosecutors, we want to try to serve the public,” said Eaton. “We want to try to be the voice for people that don’t have one. If this is going to help serve our communities better—I don’t know that you can put a price on that. Those people don’t ever get that back. They’re counting on us to do that right.”
Eaton also said there’s a cost to the judicial system when cases languish for years.
“If the case pends for a longer period of time, the person that has a public defender will be on the public payroll for a longer period of time,” said Eaton. “That’s just what it is. There may be additional man-hours for support staff as you prepare for trial, for law enforcement.”
Eaton is working on getting cost estimates to start up and maintain such a data-tracking program.
The prosecutor emphasizes he can only look at data tracking for Hancock County.
“That’s as far as I’m able to go,” said Eaton.
TIMELINE IN THOMAS STONE CRIMINAL CASES
- January 29, 2016- Alleged assault against Mikayla Devore
- February 25, 2016- Assault against Robyn Matthews
- March 5, 2016- Alleged assault against a 3rd woman who we are not naming because she did not agree to speak with us.
- March 5, 2016- Stone is arrested, and released on bond the next day, jail records show.
- March 10, 2016- Marion County prosecutors file 11 rape, criminal confinement and kidnapping charges against Thomas Stone
- April 25, 2016- Marion County prosecutors file additional charges against Stone for the 3rd woman, bringing the total to 16 felony charges including rape, attempted rape, intimidation, criminal confinement and kidnapping.
- July 1, 2016- Alleged assault against Sara Arnold.
- July 1, 2016- Police arrest Thomas Stone in connection with Sara’s incident and he is booked into the Marion County jail. The court orders he be held without bond.
- July 5, 2016- Prosecutors charge Thomas Stone with rape in Sara’s case, which is a different case number than the three other women.
- February 10, 2017- While still incarcerated in the Marion County jail, Stone requests a speedy trial on Sara’s case
- April 19, 2017- A jury finds Stone not guilty of rape in Sara’s case
- May 9, 2017- Stone is released from the Marion County jail but remains on home detention.
- December 14, 2017- The court grants a motion for continuance in the case involving Robyn Matthews, Mikayla Devore and a 3rd woman. Court says Stone must stay away from establishments that serve alcohol.
- July 3, 2018- The court grants another continuance.
- October 31, 2018- The court grants another continuance.
- December 28, 2018- Stone is released from home detention, but remains on GPS monitoring and must stay away from establishments that serve alcohol.
- March 22, 2019- The court grants another continuance.
- March 2, 2020- The court grants another continuance.
- June 1, 2021- The court grants another continuance.
- July 26, 2021- At the urging of Stone’s attorney, the judge agrees to separate the women into different cases, but it’s not yet clear when or how their cases will be tried.
- July 26, 2021- Judge says Stone is not allowed on dating sites or in any establishment that serves alcohol.
- October 26, 2021- The court grants another continuance
- February 17, 2022- The court grants another continuance.
- April 14, 2022- A pre-trial conference takes place, and a judge sets a trial for July 18-20, 2022.
- July 18-20, 2022- Trial scheduled for two alleged victims. Another trial will be scheduled for the third alleged victim, Mikayla Devore.
- August 2022- Trial continued for two alleged victims.
- August 23, 2022- Judge found Stone guilty of three counts of rape, one count of criminal confinement, and one count of intimidation. Those charges stem from the rape of Robyn Matthews. Stone is found not guilty of raping a second alleged victim, who we are not naming. Stone was also fount not guilty of kidnapping and criminal confinement in the second alleged victim’s case, which was combined with Robyn Matthews’ case for purposes of trial.
- November 18, 2022- Thomas Stone sentenced for raping Matthews; also pre-trial conference for case involving 3rd woman Mikayla Devore