COLUMBIA CITY — A Columbia City man will spend the next four decades in prison after being found guilty in a trial last month.
Jordin Shoda, 26, was found guilty of three counts of child molesting, two Level 1 felonies and one Level 4 felony, in the Whitley Circuit Court trial. Shoda was convicted of molesting a 5-year-old child multiple times in the shower.
The sentence by Judge Matthew Rentschler was ordered to be served concurrently — 40 years for each Level 1 felony and 12 years for the Level 4 felony. In total, he will spend 40 years at the Indiana Department of Correction with no opportunity for early release.
Upon his release, he will have to pay $1,495 in restitution to the victim and will register as a sexually violent predator.
“I did not commit this crime,” Shoda said. “I told the truth and still I sit here. I did not and would not ever commit these crimes.”
The sentencing was preceded by statements from Shoda, his family and girlfriend, defense attorney Travis Friend, Prosecutor D.J. Sigler and the mother of the victim.
Shoda’s family spoke to his character, the impact his incarceration will have on the family, and future plans that are now lost.
“Family has always been a big part of his life,” girlfriend Marissa Morrow said. “I’ve never seen that he’s the type of person these charges are saying he is.”
His aunt, Marcy Schlotterbeck, also spoke on his behalf.
“This decision not only affects Jordin, but the rest of us too,” she said. “I hope (Rentschler) allow him to have a second chance while he’s still young enough.”
Also speaking on his behalf were his brother, Joshua Shoda, and father, Brady.
“It breaks my heart. I might be dead before he’s free,” Brady Shoda said.
The state painted a different picture of Shoda, a man who has a criminal history of sexual misconduct as a juvenile, including molesting three young children when he was 12 years old — two 6-year-olds and a 3-year-old.
According to a pre-sentencing report, Shoda was victimized himself as a child, and later admitted to molesting the young children when he was still a child himself.
“It was victimization at a young age. But there’s another way to look at this,” Sigler said. “If you’ve been victimized, you have the most intimate knowledge of the fear, terror, uncleanliness. You have the most intimate knowledge of how awful it makes you feel, what it does to you as a person, dehumanizing you and making you feel less. He knew that, and still this was the result.”
Though Shoda claimed he passed a polygraph test, Sigler presented two other polygraph tests that he failed. Shoda also argued that there was none of his DNA found on the victim, which Sigler argued was a tactical move by Shoda.
“Make no mistake, underneath all of this, we’re talking about the rape of a child in the shower — again, and again, and again,” Sigler said. “DNA gets bad guys. He wants credit for being good at harming her.”
Protecting children is at the top of Sigler’s list as prosecutor, he said.
“We all go home to our children, we all tuck them in and tell them the same story — there are no monsters under the bed, there are no monsters in the closet — sometimes the monsters are in the shower.”
The victim’s mother gave a powerful testimony at the sentencing hearing.
“We have been dealing with this for 456 days now. My child has been through the ringer,” she said. “People don’t understand the trauma. She will have to deal with this forever — her first boyfriend, first car, first dance. I’m heartbroken at the people who don’t believe her. She needs to be believed. I believe her and I will stick by her side.”
In his final arguments, Sigler pointed out Shoda’s high risk to reoffend, as reported in his pre-sentencing investigation, and his lack of remorse, both for crimes in the past and present.
Sigler suggested a sentence of 75 years, 35 years for each of the Level 1 felonies and five years for the Level 4 felony.
Friend wanted a 30-year sentence, saying that there was only one victim who had no physical injuries.
“His adult life is just beginning,” Friend said.
Friend spoke to the 24 letters submitted to the court on behalf of Shoda’s character.
“He has a strong family support system,” Friend said.
“The witnesses portray a beautiful, sunny, rosy situation,” Sigler said. “These are crimes done in secrecy. Not something you’re proud of or boast about. Sexual gratification from a young child. You don’t discuss that. It makes me sick to stand in this room and talk about it now. Shakespeare had it right when he said, ‘One may smile and smile and be a villain.’ That’s the case here.”
Rentschler said he read every letter sent to him.
“I feel horrible for the people who described a wonderful person. Someone they knew to be a generous, kind and loving person, and the unspeakable heartbreak that you caused by committing this offense and separating yourself from them and everyone else,” Rentschler said.
With a 40-year sentence, Shoda will be released when he is 66 years old, unless his sentence is appealed.