We conclude that the admission of Anderson‟s police statement was error, but was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt with regard to the murder conviction alone. The erroneous admission of Anderson‟s police statement unquestionably influenced the jury verdicts as to his convictions for burglary and abuse of a corpse; therefore, we reverse those convictions. Additionally, we conclude that the DNA evidence was obtained by “mistake,” which constitutes a valid exception to the applicable statute and our federal and state exclusionary rules. Regarding Anderson‟s additional challenge to his sentence, we find no abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court and conclude that Anderson‟s murder sentence is appropriate in light of the nature of the offense and Anderson‟s character. Accordingly, although we vacate Anderson‟s burglary and abuse of a corpse sentences, we affirm Anderson‟s sixty-five year sentence for murder and decline the invitation for sentence revision.
Facts and Procedural History
The relevant admissible evidence indicates that on Thursday, October 25, 2007, forty-four-year-old Jane Pepper spent the evening alone in her Indianapolis apartment. Pepper‟s apartment was on the ground level of the apartment building, and Pepper often left her bathroom window open to allow her two cats to roam freely. Pepper spoke with her boyfriend on the phone around 11:00 p.m. and discussed her plan to attend a Purdue University football game with friends that Saturday. Pepper and her boyfriend, Charles Brnardic, had been in a serious and exclusive relationship since February of 2007. Shortly after 11:00 p.m., a neighbor saw Pepper lean out her apartment door to coax one of her cats inside. Pepper told the neighbor not to worry about the other cat because he could just use the open bathroom window to come in later.
Judge(s): Terry A. Crone
Jurisdiction: Indiana Court of Appeals
Related Categories: Constitutional Law
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Court of Appeals Judge(s)|
|Appellant Lawyer(s)||Appellant Law Firm(s)|
|Michael Fisher||Office of the Marion County Public Defender Agency|
|Appellee Lawyer(s)||Appellee Law Firm(s)|
|Jodi Stein||Office of the Indiana Attorney General|
|Gregory Zoeller||Office of the Indiana Attorney General|