FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The Fort Wayne man who police said broke into a home, stabbed two people, then lit part of the home on fire during an incident that left a Fort Wayne police officer in a medically induced coma has been sentenced.
Justin D. Pease, 32, was sentenced to 26 years in prison and four years of probation afterward for two counts of battery, two counts of resisting law enforcement and three counts of arson early Friday inside Allen Superior Court. Pease pleaded guilty to the charges through a plea deal last month that dropped four additional charges against him.
According to police, Pease went to a home at the corner of St. Mary’s and Margaret Avenue in early April 2016 and broke through a glass door and threatened to kill his former girlfriend. In the process, he stabbed two people, police said.
As officers responded, Pease reportedly heard the sirens of the squad cars and threatened to set the house ablaze. At that point, police said he locked himself in an upstairs bedroom and lit a fire.
As flames rose, Pease yelled out that he had a hostage, which turned out to be untrue.
Fort Wayne Police Officer Boyce Ballenger and two other officers pushed through the home and pulled one victim out before moving on to Pease. The officers reportedly kicked the door down, fought through a fire and subdued Pease with a Taser shot before they pulled him out, police said.
Ballinger was taken away from the scene in serious condition, suffering from smoke inhalation. Police said he was in a medically induced coma.
Pease, meanwhile, was listed in critical condition, a result of smoke inhalation, a self-inflicted stab wound and an injury to his head, inflicted by a victim. A mugshot released by police showed him with severe wounds to his face and head.
Pease admitted in court that he suffers from PTSD, paranoia, schizophrenia and bipolar mental illnesses. He said he is taking medications.
After the hearing Friday morning, Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Adam Mildred said the officers who encountered Pease that day should be commended.
“The officers put themselves in harms way to protect the defendant,” said Mildred. “They should be commended for their actions.”