INDIANAPOLIS — A man charged this week with 10 robberies in Marion County would have been in prison for a 2020 robbery if it weren’t for a plea deal, court docs show.
Donta Allen, 24, was charged with robbery and an unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon in 2020. However, a plea deal got him time served, four years home detention with GPS monitoring and three years of non-reporting probation.
Now, Allen has been charged with 10 counts of armed robbery, 10 counts of criminal confinement and escape. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said he was found with aluminum foil wrapped around his GPS monitor.
The dates and locations Allen is accused of robbing are:
- March 25: Disc Replay at 8210 Rockville Road
- March 27: GameStop at 3269 W. 86th Street
- March 27: Auto Zone at 4606 E. County Line Road
- April 2: GameStop at 4525 Lafayette Road
- April 2: Auto Zone at 7455 Michigan Road
- April 3: Disc Replay at 9739 E. Washington Street (Allen)
- April 5: Disc Replay at 7317 US 31 South
- April 5: Auto Zone at 8525 Southeastern Avenue
- April 5: Auto Zone at 6055 E. 82nd Street
- April 8: GameStop at 6905 S. Emerson Avenue
FOX59 asked the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for an interview regarding the 2021 plea agreement for the 2020 crimes. The office could not accommodate an interview Thursday, but a spokesperson sent the following statement:
“Both investigations involving the defendant faced evidentiary challenges from the beginning that became more significant to the integrity of those cases as they progressed. Despite those challenges, prosecutors were able to secure major felony convictions for each case.”Marion County Prosecutor’s Office
MCPO Spokesperson Michael Leffler said both cases involved “challenges regarding identification concerns.” Leffler said there were identification issues in the robbery case which, generally speaking, “these issues can involve or include witnesses, victims, law enforcement, photo arrays, security footage, photos, etc. and can happen at any time during an investigation.”
Leffler said in the SVF case, the body camera footage “contradicted” some details in the probable cause affidavit.
Former Deputy Prosecutor Aaron Freeman, who is a state senator, said it is common for prosecutors to agree to plea deals because of evidentiary issues.
“We’re going to take what we can get, given the limitations of the evidence,” Freeman explained.
The 2021 plea agreement gave Allen four years of home detention with a GPS monitor. It allowed him to plead to a lesser felony charge for the robbery case, bringing it from level 3 to a level 5. In this case, he got time served and then non-reporting probation, which means he does not have to report regularly to the probation department.
“When you’re talking about a level 3 you’re talking about somebody armed with a deadly weapon, threatening to kill somebody or harm them in a very serious way, and taking property of theirs,” Freeman said. “For example, if there’s evidentiary issues like the witness would say at the deposition, ‘well I thought they had a gun or I thought they had a knife, or I thought whatever it is, but I really don’t know that or I really can’t say that,’ that’s a situation where the lesser included of an armed robbery is a robbery. Then you just get to, I took your stuff in your presence. Like that would be a level 5 for example.”
Allen’s criminal history shows guilty pleas for gun crimes, robberies and possession of marijuana over the course of six years. Freeman said criminal histories must be taken into account when entering into a plea agreement.
“Here you’ve got a pattern,” Freeman said. “What is, in my view, a pattern of criminal conduct that in my opinion, the prosecutor should say, look, once is once, but this is four times.”
As for the judges, Freeman said they are only able to accept or reject plea deals.
“The judge’s job is to either accept or reject the plea agreement,” Freeman said. “If the defendant asks the court to accept the plea agreement, the judge has to sentence them completely within the confines of the agreement. So the judge can’t make the sentence worse or the sentence less. So, judges are constrained to the four corners of that document.”