Judge to repeat offender: ‘You are a dangerous person’

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LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A repeat offender will spend at least the next two and a half years in prison, despite never being charged in an incident CBS4 covered in 2016.

A family member of a victim contacted CBS4 Problem Solvers, alerting us to Brett Seyfried's case.

Lafayette Police arrested Seyfriend, 27, a year ago, after Officer Kevin Cooney found a woman unresponsive, without a pulse, in a hotel hallway. CBS4 spoke to Cooney at the time about his life-saving efforts.

"I would find a pulse and it was strong and then the next time I checked there wasn’t one. ... There was one time that she turned her head toward me and she took a hold of my hand," Cooney said at the time.

Prosecutor Pat Harrington told CBS4 that his office ultimately found no evidence to link Seyfried to the woman's near-death, so he was not charged.

Eight months later, Seyfried was back behind bars, for violently beating the same woman, as well as a man. He pleaded guilty to six counts, including domestic battery and being a habitual offender.

Harrington said Seyfried is one of many individuals his office deals with time and time again.

"Most of the individuals we see, this is not their first exposure to the criminal court system," Harrington said.

CBS4 wanted to know why Seyfried keeps getting out, only to go back in again. Harrington said Seyfried has been offered help a number of times, and he's instead skipped out on programs and probation. His case is one of many Harrington says have influenced him to put more money into domestic violence programs.

"We have a substantial amount of domestic violence, it’s unfortunately part of our society and everywhere is struggling to try to combat it," Harrington said.

A few weeks after CBS4 Problem Solvers started looking into Seyfried's case, Harrington's office pushed for close to the maximum sentence of nine years.

Seyfried's lawyer said his history is linked to drug abuse, and now that he's clean in jail, he has recognized his problems and wants to enter rehab to get help.

A judge told Seyfried in court, "I believe you want help ... (but) from my eyes from the bench, you are a violent person." The judge went on to say that he has given Seyfriend chances before, which he has not followed through on. He ultimately sentenced Seyfried to the recommended seven and a half years.

If Seyfried gets the help he says he wants, he could get out of prison in two and a half years.

"That is an excellent sentence. Maybe the public won’t agree with that, but in our world we can’t control what state legislators give us," Harrington said. "Whether that’s enough time, that’s up to the defendant."

The victim's family told CBS4 they are happy with the sentence and ready to move on with their lives.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are resources available through most prosecutors' offices. In Tippecanoe County, you can get free counseling, even if you decline to testify in a case.

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