FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne man who spent more in a mental health facility while his legal case connected to the beating death of his mother wound its way through the court system will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

An Allen Superior Court judge sentenced 48-year-old Chad Ingram to 55 years in prison Friday.

The sentence was part of a plea agreement Ingram made with Allen County prosecutors where he pleaded guilty but mentally ill to one count of murder in the death of his mother, 61-year-old Heidi Colley.

Friday’s sentencing hearing brings a close to a case that has languished in the court system since officers found Colley lying on the bedroom floor of her New Haven home in 2017, dead from blunt force trauma to her head.

Chad Ingram
Chad Ingram

Ingram, who was 42 at the time, was sitting on a couch nearby drinking liquor from a bottle, according to Allen Superior Court documents. He was too drunk to speak to officers, but he was the prime suspect in the killing.

In January 2018, prosecutors formally charged Ingram in Colley’s killing, but that’s when legal wrangling on whether he understood the charges against him began.

A judge ruled in 2018 Ingram not competent to stand trial after a psychologist testified that Ingram has delusional disorder and/or bipolar disorder and was unable to help his attorneys with his defense, according to court documents.

The psychologist said in court documents that Ingram gave bizarre answers to questions and the judge decided to shelve a scheduled trial at the time. Ingram was sent to be held at a state hospital, according to court records.

Multiple competency hearings were held in 2022, one which ended with a judge ordering Ingram to be forcefully medicated with drugs prescribed by a psychologist while another ended with a ruling that he was still unable to assist his attorney.

More than five years after the killing, he was finally found competent to stand trial.

He pleaded guilty this past July.