BROOKVILLE, Ind. — The long saga of the Franklin County Conn family is nearly over, with a guilty plea on Wednesday from a third family member.
Barbara Gambill, 45, who’s also known as Spurlock, pleaded guilty in Franklin Circuit Court to an amended charge of conspiracy to commit battery with a deadly weapon, a Class C felony. The charge was reduced from a Class A felony charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
The plea agreement accepted by Franklin Circuit Judge Steven Cox sentences Gambill to five years and imposes a $250 fine.
Cox refused to accept a plea with only a four-year sentence because of Gambill’s many prior convictions. Gambill is currently serving a 10-year sentence for dealing in methamphetamine.
The Conn family of Laurel collectively was charged with 85 felony counts in 2009 and 2010, charges that included dealing in controlled drugs, conspiracy to commit murder, welfare fraud, possession of stolen property and intimidation.
Gambill agreed in court she had scouted the location and layout of the home of a potential witness against the family’s drug-dealing operation and relayed that information to her brother, Lloyd Conn, and her father, Bill Conn, who had plotted to kill the witness.
Bill Conn was never tried because he died in October 2010 at age 69 at the Indiana Department of Correction’s Regional Diagnostic Center in Plainfield.
Lloyd Conn, 36, has the family’s only remaining charges. He’s scheduled to be tried on June 13 on Class C felony charges of intimidation of a law enforcement officer, intimidation with a deadly weapon, and interfering with a law enforcement officer. He is serving a 55-year sentence in the Department of Correction for conspiracy to commit murder and dealing in methamphetamine. He appealed his murder conspiracy conviction to the Indiana Court of Appeals.
Darlene Conn, 64, Lloyd and Barbara’s mother, pleaded guilty earlier this month to three counts of welfare fraud, Class D felonies. She was sentenced to 18 months, with 12 months suspended, and received credit for time served. She is out of jail and must repay the Indiana Division of Family Resources $1,000 for each count of welfare fraud. All other charges against her were dismissed.
Prosecution of the Conn family has occupied the Franklin County prosecutor’s office for much of the last two years. Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Wilhelm said the arrests and prosecution of the family has impacted the local crime rate.
“It looks to me like burglaries have dropped significantly in Franklin County over the last two years,” Wilhelm said.
The Conns’ drug-dependent customers often stole items to trade to the Conns for drugs, police said.
When police raided the Conn compound on Lower Smokey Hollow Road in 2009, officers recovered hundreds of tools, jewelry, guns, and other items that were sold at an auction last year to pay the state for income taxes it levied against Bill and Darlene Conn’s drug income.