Attorneys for Appellee
Karen M. Freeman-Wilson
Attorney General of Indiana
Rosemary L. Borek
Deputy Attorney General
Appellant (Defendant below),
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee (Plaintiff below ).
) Supreme Court No.
June 28, 2001
Mitchell and his friend, Theodis Henderson, were walking along the bridge as
Defendant pulled up. Defendant slowed down next to them with his car
in the middle of the road and his window down. A single
gunshot was fired at Mitchell, hitting him in the head. Mitchell died
from the gunshot wound.
At trial, both passengers in Defendants car testified that Defendant rushed to the
bridge after learning that Mitchell was there. They testified that as Defendant
slowed down, they heard a shot fired from the inside of the car
from the drivers seat, although they did not see a gun. Hendersons
testimony was consistent with Shawns and Harvells. He testified that he was
walking in front of Mitchell as Defendant drove toward them. He then
heard a gunshot, turned around, and saw Mitchell fall to the ground as
the car drove away. In court, Henderson identified the driver of the
car as Defendant. There was also testimony that a few days before
the murder, Defendant and Mitchell had a confrontation in which Mitchell had knocked
out several of Defendants teeth.
Defendant was convicted of Murder
See footnote and sentenced to 65 years imprisonment. (R.
In reviewing a sufficiency of the evidence claim, the Court neither reweighs the
evidence nor assesses the credibility of the witnesses. See Brasher v.
State, 746 N.E.2d 71, 72 (Ind. 2001); Chambliss v. State, 746 N.E.2d 73,
77 (Ind. 2001). We look to the evidence most favorable to
the verdict and reasonable inferences drawn therefrom. Id. We will affirm
the conviction if there is probative evidence from which a reasonable jury could
have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Id.
Circumstantial evidence alone may be sufficient to support a conviction. See Taylor v. State, 676 N.E.2d 1044, 1047 (Ind. 1997), rehg denied. If a reasonable inference can be drawn from the circumstantial evidence, the verdict will not be disturbed. Id.
Although none of the witnesses in this case saw Defendant with a gun,
the evidence supports a reasonable inference that Defendant shot Mitchell. First, there
was evidence that Defendant held a grudge against the victim; second, Defendants passengers
at the time of the murder indicated that Defendant hurried to get to
the Mitchell when he heard of his whereabouts; third, the passengers both testified
that they heard a gunshot emanate from where Defendant was sitting. See
Pratt v. State, 744 N.E.2d 434, 436-37 (Ind. 2001) (upholding a conviction where
the defendant was the only person in the room with the victim and
there was evidence that the victim died from blows to the head); Collier
v. State, 562 N.E.2d 722, 724 (Ind. 1990) (upholding a conviction where defendant
was seen at the scene of the crime with a gun, and witnesses
heard gunshots.) Finally, a third witness heard the shot, and turned around
to see Defendant fleeing the scene in his car.
SHEPARD, C.J., and DICKSON, BOEHM, and RUCKER, JJ., concur.