ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE
Belle T. Choate Jeffrey A. Modisett
740 Market Square Center Attorney General of Indiana
151 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204 Andrew L. Hedges
Deputy Attorney General
Office of Attorney General
Indiana Government Center
South, Fifth Floor
402 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2770
MARCUS RICHARDSON, ) Appellant (Defendant ) ) Supreme Court No. ) 49S00-9602-CR-181 v. ) ) STATE OF INDIANA, ) Appellee (Plaintiff ). )
APPEAL FROM THE MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT The Honorable Paula E. Lopossa, Judge Cause No. 49G01-9409-CF-125321
ON DIRECT APPEAL
Marcus Richardson ("defendant") was tried before a jury, together with co- defendants Kiano Austin, Carlos Mitchell, and Claude Nash, for murderSee footnote 1 and conspiracy to commit murder,See footnote 2 both class A felonies. The jury convicted both defendant and Austin for murder and conspiracy to commit murder, and convicted Mitchell and Nash of the lesser included offenses of batterySee footnote 3 and conspiracy to commit battery, both as class C felonies. The trial court, without objection from the State, subsequently vacated all of the conspiracy convictions and merged those convictions into the convictions for murder and battery. It did so for reasons unrelated to any issues raised by the parties on appeal. Defendant Richardson now challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and also argues that the trial court improperly denied his request for lesser included offense jury instructions on battery as class A and B misdemeanorsSee footnote 4 and criminal recklessness, as class C and D felonies.See footnote 5 We disagree and affirm his conviction for murder.
side of the house at 1043 36th and he was laughing. Defendant and Nash began chasing Taylor
and the other men followed them. When Ogletree, Mitchell, and Austin caught up with them,
Taylor had run through a fence and was behind 1039 36th Street on the ground. The five men
stood circled around Taylor, and defendant said, "Where's my shit at, Bitch?" (R. at 920-21.)
Taylor returned the three packages of cocaine to defendant, and then pleaded repeatedly, "Please
don't hurt me." (R. at 922.) Defendant and then Mitchell told Taylor, "Bitch, we're gonna teach
you a lesson about coming around here stealing from us." (R. at 923.) Defendant hit Taylor in
the face with his fist. Nash kicked Taylor in the face. The men, including defendant, Nash,
Austin, and Mitchell, continued to punch and kick Taylor as he lay on the ground. Defendant
struck Taylor in the face seven or eight times as Taylor tried to cover his head.
The five men left Taylor as he lay on the ground, coughing and spitting up. Defendant and Mitchell had blood on their pants, and Nash had a substantial amount of blood on his pants. As they were walking along the side of 1039, towards the front of the house, Austin picked up a large rock, weighing approximately fifty-four pounds, and said: "I'll bet this mother fucker won't steal from nobody else." (R. at 930.) Austin and defendant then went back behind the house, and Austin dropped the rock on Taylor's head. When they returned to the front of the house, Austin and defendant were laughing, and defendant reported to the others, "Man, he dropped the brick on his head." (R. at 933.) Austin replied, "Ah, fuck it, man; it wasn't nothing." (R. at 933.)
The men then returned to 34th and Clifton where they laughed and talked about the crime. Defendant informed Watkins: "Man I pistol whipped him so bad, Michael. I just kept on hitting him in his legs and head [and said] [b]etter not never take none of my dope no more."
(R. at 1293-95.) Defendant and Ogletree then brought Watkins to the body. Watkins confirmed
that Taylor was dead and removed and discarded his jacket and wallet which contained
Eric Taylor died as a result of the injuries to his head.
At the conclusion of the jury trial, the trial court had a lengthy colloquy with counsel regarding the appropriateness of certain tendered lesser included offense instructions. Defendant's written tendered instructions requested that the trial court instruct the jury on several offenses as lesser included offenses of murder, including, involuntary manslaughter,See footnote 7 battery as a class B misdemeanor and a class C felony,See footnote 8 and criminal recklessness as a class C and D felony.See footnote 9 During argument on the lesser included instructions, defense counsel also asserted that the court should instruct the jury as to all lesser forms of battery ranging from battery as a class C felony to battery as a class A or B misdemeanor. Ultimately, in addition to instructing the jury on the elements of murder, the trial court also instructed the jury on the offenses of aggravated battery, a class B felony,See footnote 10 battery as a class C felony,See footnote 11 and involuntary manslaughter.
After deliberating, the jury found defendant and co-defendant Austin guilty of murder, while finding co-defendants Mitchell and Nash guilty of battery as a class C felony.
pound boulder on Taylor's head while defendant watched, or that Taylor died of head injuries
caused primarily by the impact of the boulder. Rather, defendant argues that because he did not
personally drop the boulder on Taylor's head, he cannot be guilty of murder. This argument is
The State need not prove that defendant personally participated in the acts that caused Taylor's death, for the evidence plainly shows that he and Austin were accomplices. An accomplice who acts in concert with another who actually committed the direct acts constituting the elements of the crime is equally as liable as a principal for all natural and probable consequences of the plan. See Wright v. State, 690 N.E.2d at 1104 & n. 6, 1106-07; Taylor v. State, 676 N.E.2d 1044, 1047 (Ind.), reh'g denied (1997); Ind. Code § 35-41-2-4 (1993).See footnote 12
Here, there is ample evidence from which the jury could conclude that defendant, Austin, and the other co-defendants, pursued and brutally beat Taylor because he did not pay them for the cocaine defendant supplied to him; that Austin then, with the full support of defendant and while in his company, dropped a boulder on Taylor's head, a boulder so heavy that the natural and probable consequence of that act would be, and was in fact, Taylor's death; and that defendant then bragged about their accomplishments to Watkins. We decline to second- guess the jury in its assessment of the evidence.
any issues regarding the propriety of the trial court's refusal to give the tendered lesser included
offense jury instructions.
To preserve for appellate review an issue regarding the propriety of a trial court's refusal to give a proposed jury instruction, a defendant must comply with App. Rule 8.3(A)(7) which requires that "[w]hen error is predicated on the giving or refusing of any instruction, the instruction shall be set out verbatim in the argument section of the brief with the verbatim objections, if any, made thereto." Id. Failure to comply with App. Rule 8.3(A)(7) results in waiver of the issue. See Taylor v. State, 587 N.E.2d 1293, 1303 (Ind. 1992); Norris v. State, 498 N.E.2d 1203, 1206 (Ind. 1986).
Even if, however, defendant had properly preserved the issues for review, his arguments must still fail because his proffered jury instructions were incomplete and potentially confusing. The record before the Court reflects that the tendered written instructions did not explain that battery as class A or B misdemeanors and criminal recklessness were lesser included offenses to murder, explain the differing degrees of culpabilitySee footnote 13 or harm, or otherwise explain the relationship between the asserted lesser included offenses and the charged offense of murder. This Court previously has held that for this reason alone a trial court may properly refuse a tendered instruction on an asserted lesser included offense. See Simpson v. State, 506 N.E.2d 473, 476 (Ind. 1987); Johnson v. State, 435 N.E.2d 242, 246 (Ind. 1982); Smith v. State, 422 N.E.2d 1179, 1184 (Ind. 1981).
Thus, even if defendant had not waived appellate review of the jury instruction
issues by failing to comply with App. Rule 8.3(A)(7), prior decisions of this Court support the
trial court's refusal of defendant's proposed lesser included offense instructions because they were
incomplete and potentially confusing.
person . . . commits criminal recklessness, a Class D felony. However, the offense is a Class C
felony if committed by means of a deadly weapon."
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