Judge denies sentence modification for woman convicted in motorcycle death

Feb. 21—ANDERSON — A request for a sentence modification has been denied for an Anderson woman convicted in the 2019 death of a Chesterfield motorcyclist.

Madison Circuit Court Division 1 Judge Angela Warner-Sims ruled Tuesday not to modify the sentence of Martha Neata-Skehan, 69, who was seeking release from the Indiana Department of Corrections for medical reasons.

Neata-Skehan pled guilty last year to a felony charge of causing death while operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance.

Through a plea agreement Judge Warner-Sims sentenced Neata-Skehan to seven years with two years to be served and five on probation.

"The court was made aware of Defendant's health issues and concerns at the time of sentencing," the court ruling states. "The court considered those concerns but found said issues and concerns did not outweigh the nature of the offense to avoid a period of incarceration.

Neata-Shehan was arrested following the death of Brian Harney, 49, who was struck by a car driven by her on Sept. 26, 2019, and he died more than two weeks after the accident.

Harney was riding a motorcycle east on Ind. 67 and attempted to turn onto 500 East as a 2017 Nissan Rogue driven by Neata-Skehan approached from the rear, according to a news release from the Madison County Sheriff's Department.

Neata-Skehan was traveling on the right shoulder as she approached the intersection, the release said. Harney attempted to turn the motorcycle as Neata-Skehan continued through the intersection on the right shoulder.

Police said Harney's motorcycle collided with the driver's side of the Rogue as it turned.

"In reviewing defendant's medical records, the court notes that while the defendant does have a myriad of ongoing health related issues, none are determined to be terminal at this point, and all reported medical issues are being addressed," Judge Warner-Sims wrote.

"Given the nature of the offense and evidence presented to the court, the court finds that a modification is not warranted at this time and would only depreciate the seriousness of the defendant's criminal actions in this case."

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.