The maximum legal penalty is reserved for our society’s worst offenders.

That’s how Howard County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mark McCann described Jeremy Blanchard’s treatment for the April 8 mur*ders of three people in the 1500 block of South Courtland Avenue.

Judge Lynn Murray of the Howard Circuit Court agreed to sentence the 30-year-old Gas City man to a maximum of 195 years in prison.

Blanchard was sentenced after pleading guilty to stabbing his ex-girlfriend, Jessica Berg, 28, and her mother, Rebecca Berg, 57, both of Gas City, as well as her mother’s boyfriend, David McPike, 62, of Kokomo.

The three bodies were discovered the next day at McPike’s home after a family member went there to pick up the Bergs for a funeral, according to Kokomo police.

Families of the victims packed the gallery as Blanchard was sentenced.

Blanchard came to Kokomo knowing the family was going to a funeral, according to McCann. Blanchard went to McPike’s house after seeing the family at a local restaurant. He gained entry by pushing a basement window open. Blanchard hid in the basement until the family returned home, at which point he waited until they went to bed.

Blanchard struck at that moment.

Blanchard stabbed McPike six times, Rebecca Berg seven times, and Jessica Berg 22 times, according to McCann.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my career,” McCann said as he asked for the maximum sentence.

Murray handed down the lengthy sentence, citing the fact that the aggravated factors outweighed the lone mitigating factor that he pleaded guilty, sparing the family the agony of reliving the mu*rders in a jury trial.

Blanchard has spent the majority of his life in and out of prison, beginning when he was 11 years old.

“Obviously, the criminal justice system did not prevent Mr. Blanchard from committing these offenses,” Murray stated.

“He acted more like an animal than a human being.”

“He got what he deserved,” said David McPike’s brother, Steve McPike. “We don’t have to worry about him ever being on the street again.” Kokomo will be able to sleep soundly at night.”

Jessica’s father, Paul Berg, and several others testified, urging the judge to award Blanchard the maximum sentence.

“Jessica’s son, Alex, will never feel his mother’s kisses and hugs,” he explained. “Alex will never have her affections again.”

David’s daughter, Jessica McPike, agreed that Blanchard should never be released from prison.

“My dad was an outstanding citizen,” she said. “He was a friend, grandfather, and brother all rolled into one.” Everyone in this town adored him. My father would do anything for anyone. My father did not deserve to be followed and preyed upon.”

Blanchard was arrested after police discovered he had threatened Jessica Berg and was stalking her.

McCann sought life in prison without the possibility of parole at first, but that request was denied in exchange for Blanchard’s guilty plea.

McCann also dismissed charges of battery by bodily waste and intimidation for allegedly threatening a corrections officer while incarcerated in Howard County.

Blanchard did not testify, but he did apologize to the court and the victims’ families in a statement.

“I’m taking responsibility for my actions by pleading guilty,” he explained. “… I don’t expect forgiveness for what I did.” I only seek God’s forgiveness. I deeply regret their losses and my actions.”

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