Attorney for Appellant Attorneys for Appellee
Patrick R. Ragains Karen M. Freeman-Wilson
Anderson, Indiana Attorney General of Indiana
Arthur Thaddeus Perry
Deputy Attorney General
IN THE INDIANA SUPREME COURT
CHRISTOPHER NICHOLSON, )
Appellant (Defendant below ), ) Cause No.
v. ) 48S00-9907-CR-395
STATE OF INDIANA, )
Appellee (Plaintiff below ). )
The Honorable Thomas Newman, Jr.
APPEAL FROM MADISON SUPERIOR COURT 3
Cause No. 48D03-9710-CF-405
ON DIRECT APPEAL
September 13, 2000
The appellant, Christopher Nicholson, appeals from his convictions and sentences on eight
counts, including Murder and Robbery. These convictions and sentences were entered in
connection with the stealing of a car and credit card and the confinement
and murder of a single victim.
The trial court imposed sentences for both Murder and Felony Murder. As
the State of Indiana, by its Attorney General, concedes, we have long held
that such a sentence is impermissible where there is only one victim.
The Felony Murder conviction should be vacated. Franks v. State, 262 Ind.
649, 656, 323 N.E.2d 221, 225 (1975); Garrett v. State, 714 N.E.2d
618, 621 (Ind. 1999); Appellees Br., p. 8.
Similarly, the State concedes the impropriety of the trial court imposing two sentences
of Life Without Parole where there is only one victim. Appellees Br.,
Further, and again as the State points out, a court cannot sentence a
defendant to both a term of years and to Life Without Parole
for the same offense. Appellees Br., p. 9.
There are additional problems with the sentencing order. A sentence of Life
Without Parole is imposed under the same standards and is subject to the
same requirements as a capital sentence. Ind. Code § 35-50-2-9; Ajabu
v. State, 693 N.E.2d 921, 936 (Ind. 1998). In Harrison v. State,
we held that the sentencing order in a capital case requires greater specificity
than in other types of cases, and discussed those more stringent standards.
644 N.E.2d 1243, 1262 (Ind. 1995). In Farber v. State, we remanded
for resentencing where the trial court failed to meet the requirements of Ind.
Code § 35-50-2-9 in imposing a sentence of Life Without Parole. 703
N.E.2d 151 (Ind. 1998). As the State of Indiana additionally concedes, the
sentencing order in this case does not comply with Harrison. Appellees Br.,
The cause is remanded to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing
and the entry of proper sentencing order, after which a new appeal may
be taken in accordance with the procedures set out in a separately issued
All Justices concur.