VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A Clay City man responsible for the violent beating and death of Jeffrey Cottrell with a baseball bat was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday.

Nathan Epple changed his plea to guilty in March as part of a plea deal that reduced a 2019 murder charge to the level 2 felony of voluntary manslaughter, and a level 2 felony charge of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. As part of that plea agreement, Epple agreed to not object to suggested sentencing from the prosecution and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest was dropped.

According to court documents, on September 27, 2019, Cottrell reported to Terre Haute Police that he had found a man in his bedroom.

The man found in Cottrell’s room, Epple, then allegedly beat Cottrell with his own aluminum baseball bat.

Cottrell was taken to Union Hospital where he died of his injuries two days later.

After a pre-sentence investigation was completed, Epple appeared for sentencing in front of Judge Matthew Sheehan Wednesday.

The sentencing hearing also concerned an earlier 2017 case in which Epple pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery, a level 3 felony.

Sheehan sentenced Epple to a total of 40 years in prison as a result. 10 years for each of the armed robbery charges served concurrently with each other, but consecutively with the 2019 case. 30 years for the charge of voluntary manslaughter and an additional 30 years for the robbery with serious injury charge to be served concurrently.

In response to the sentencing today, Prosecutor Modesitt said “I would like to express our sympathies to the friends and family of Jeffrey Cottrell for this horrible crime and hope that this sentence will allow them to move forward in their grieving knowing the criminal case is closed.  We commend Detective Devon Huebner, Sgt. Troy Davis (Retired) and the other members of the Terre Haute Police Department involved in this investigation for their diligent and detailed work that allowed us to successfully prosecute this case and send Mr. Epple to prison for a very long time.”