Stand-off suspect Dustin Borders sentenced to 16 years

Stand-off suspect Dustin Borders will serve 16 years for his crime. As we previously reported, Lafayette Police went to serve him a warrant in February of 2019.

Posted: May 20, 2020 6:02 PM
Updated: May 20, 2020 6:23 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Stand-off suspect Dustin Borders will serve 16 years for his crime. As we previously reported, Lafayette Police went to serve him a warrant in February of 2019 which resulted in an hours-long stand-off.

Prosecutors say he held his girlfriend Morgan Edmondson hostage in the bathroom in a five hour stand-off, threatening her life multiple times. Edmondson has refuted that accusation since the incident happened, claiming she was in the bathroom voluntarily. 

The stand-off ended when Borders was shot in the side by now Sergeant Ian O'Shields. Sgt. O'Shields, then a SWAT Specialist, was reinstated to his position after a police review board a few weeks after the incident.

He originally faced a number of charges, including criminal confinement, intimidation with a deadly weapon and resisting law enforcement with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors also said he is a habitual offender.

Borders accepted a guilty plea bargain at the beginning of this month. He pled guilty while mentally ill to three counts of intimidation with a deadly weapon, one for each LPD officer involved that day.

The defense called several people to speak on Borders' behalf. His oldest sister, Tonya Crabtree, testified first.

She said she had practically raised Borders. Eventually, Borders was sent to live with relatives in Alabama, where Crabtree testified her little brother was "heavily abused." She said they have a family history of mental illness, and was not surprised that Borders has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She said she would get concerned every time he would call her because she didn't know what version of Dustin she would get, the depressed and suicidal version, or the happy and optimistic version.

She got emotional on the stand as she said she would always stand by her brother and would do whatever she could to help him stay on the right path. She believes that if properly medicated, her brother could transition to being a productive person. She said he wasn't able to finish school but that he wants to work towards getting educated.

Borders has participated in the GED program during his time at the Tippecanoe County Jail. He also has no behavioral write ups, only two instances where he tried to take his own life while at the jail.

Edmondson testified next. When asked her relationship to Borders she replied, "His girlfriend, fiance, my other half, my ever thing." She said she has also struggled with mental health issues throughout her life, so she is able to relate to and support Borders. 

She continued to stick with her story that she was voluntarily in the bathroom with Borders. She claims Borders told her to leave several times, but she stayed anyways. She said she was ready to take her own life if Borders died. Police seem to believe he was trying to get a "death by police officer" end to the situation. 

The prosecuting attorney said he had heard in body camera footage from LPD that Borders had threatened Edmondson's life with a knife.

Borders testified last. He admitted that he was scared to be arrested and taken back to Westville Correctional Facility where he had served time previously. He said it was a traumatizing experience being there. He said he was on cocaine and heroine at the time of the stand-off; the drugs mixed with his mental health issues and anxiety about going back to jail caused him to create an unsafe situation. 

Borders said that he didn't know they were only there to serve a warrant for the first hour of the stand-off. Judge Steven Meyer asked him directly why he didn't just surrender when he realized. He responded that the feeling he had from the drugs caused him to stay in a state of anxiety.

Borders also admitted to having a criminal history. His first crime was a burglary at age 10. His childhood and adult life have been sprinkled with other crimes ranging from theft to having a handgun without a license. 

To conclude, the defense argued that his mental health struggles, abusive childhood, remorse and criminal history of minor crimes should be mitigators in his sentencing. The state argued that his extensive criminal history should be an aggregator, along with the fact that multiple attempts at rehabilitation in the past have failed. 

Judge Steven Meyer began his dissent by acknowledging that this was a very serious offense. He said it was wrong of Borders to intimidate officers by threatening his girlfriend's life. He also said drugs and intoxication are not a defense and he had many opportunities to deescalate the situation. 

Judge Meyer also agreed with the state that his criminal history is an aggregator, considering he has a history of resisting law enforcement since he was a child. He also agreed that it looked unfavorably on him previous attempts at rehab had failed.

Things Judge Meyer found in support of Borders included the guilty plea, Borders' remorseful, his abusive childhood, his diagnosed bipolar disorder and the strong family support.

Borders was ultimately sentenced to 16 years. He'll serve eight years in the Department of Corrections, two years in community corrections and six years under supervised probation. Because he pled guilty while mentally ill, he will go to a DOC facility that is equipped to treat people suffering from mental illness. 

He has waived his right to appeal this decision as part of the plea bargain. Since the stand-off occurred, there has been a no-contact order put in place between Borders and Edmondson. However, the state and Judge Meyer agreed to have that order lifted because they believe she will be a good support system for Borders.

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