Attorney for Appellant
Charles E. Stewart, Jr.
Appellate Public Defender
Crown Point, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee
Jeffery A. Modisett
Attorney General of Indiana
Deputy Attorney General
INDIANA SUPREME COURT
JERMAINE T. ELLIS,
Appellant (Defendant below)
STATE OF INDIANA,
Appellee (Plaintiff below ).
) Supreme Court No.
APPEAL FROM LAKE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT
The Honorable T. Edward Page, Judge Pro Tempore
Cause No. 45G02-9706-CF-127
ON DIRECT APPEAL
March 20, 2000
Defendant Jermaine Ellis was convicted of murder for stabbing and killing another man.
He argues that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction in
that there was no forensic evidence linking him to the murder. He
also argues that witness testimony was inconsistent, incredible, and dubious. Finding the
evidence sufficient to support the conviction, we affirm.
We have jurisdiction over this direct appeal because the sentence exceeds 50 years.
Ind. Const. art. VII, § 4; Ind. Appellate Rule 4(A)(7).
The facts most favorable to the verdict indicate that on June 23, 1997,
Nathan Vann and Lorenzo Campbell
See footnote went gambling, and Campbell won five-hundred dollars.
Vann and Campbell went to David Jacksons house after gambling and slept in
the den. Defendant Jermaine Ellis was also staying with Jackson
The next morning, Jackson was in his bedroom and heard crashing sounds, scu
and furniture being knocked around. He also heard Campbell say, Whats up,
Jermaine, whats up? (R. at 205.) When Jackson opened his door,
he saw Defendant and Campbell fighting. Defendant was wielding a butcher knife.
Jackson returned to his bedroom and closed the door. A few
seconds later, Campbell burst into Jacksons bedroom and tried to hold the door
shut by leaning against it. Jackson testified that Campbell had several bad
stab wounds and slash marks on his face and neck. As Defendant
was forcing his way into the bedroom, Campbell told Jackson to take the
air conditioner out of the window so Jackson could leave the house and
get help. As Jackson was exiting the room through the window, he
saw Defendant leaning through the door and stabbing Campbell. Campbell died from
internal bleeding that resulted from a stab wound to his chest and external
bleeding that resulted from multiple stab sounds.
The State charged Defendant with Murder.
See footnote A jury found Defendant guilty of
the charge and the trial court sentenced Defendant to 55 years.
Additional facts will be provided as necessary.
We neither reweigh the evidence nor assess the credibility of witnesses when r
a sufficiency of the evidence claim. Love v. State, 721 N.E.2d 1244,
1245 (Ind. 1999); Thornton v. State, 712 N.E.2d 960, 961 (Ind. 1999).
We will affirm a conviction if the probative evidence and reasonable inferences drawn
therefrom could have led a jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt. See id. In our review, we need only consider
the evidence favorable to the jurys verdict. See id.
Defendant maintains that there was insufficient evidence as a matter of law to
support his conviction because the State did not present fingerprint evidence, analyses of
blood found at the crime scene, or DNA evidence linking Defendant to the
murder. Defendant also argues that inconsistent, incredible, and dubious witness testimony rendered
the evidence insufficient to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The record shows that both Vann and Jackson saw Defendant with the butchers
knife trying to get to Campbell in Jacksons room. And Jackson saw
Defendant stab Campbell. In addition, both Vann and Jacksons testimonies were consistent
each others testimony, with the testimony of police officers investigating the scene, and
with crime scene evidence. While a murder conviction can be based purely
on circumstantial evidence, see Moore v. State, 652 N.E.2d 53, 55 (Ind. 1995),
this consistent, direct eyewitness testimony is ample to support Defendants conviction for murder.
Because it is within the jurys province to assess the credibility of
all witnesses and weigh the evidence, we will not reassess or reweigh on
review the allegedly conflicting evidence it heard.
We affirm the trial courts judgment.
SHEPARD, C.J., and DICKSON, BOEHM, and RUCKER, JJ., concur.
The record often refers to Campbell as Donte.
Ind. Code § 35-42-1-1 (1993).