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08/27/87 MICHAEL S. WHICKER v. STATE INDIANA

Filed: August 27, 1987.

MICHAEL S. WHICKER, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT BELOW),
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF BELOW)



APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT Criminal Division IV, The Honorable Patricia J. Gifford, Judge, Cause Number Cr 85-189D.

Shepard, C.j., DeBRULER, Givan, Pivarnik, and Dickson, JJ., concur.

Author: Shepard

SHEPARD, C.J.

Appellant Michael S. Whicker appeals his convictions for burglary, a class B felony, Ind. Code § 35-43-2-1 (Burns 1985 Repl.), and for theft, a class D felony, Ind. Code § 35-43-4-2 (Burns 1985 Repl.). The trial court sentenced Whicker to concurrent terms of twelve years for the burglary and two years for the theft.

Whicker raises two issues on direct appeal:

1) Whether the evidence of "breaking and entering" and "intent to commit a felony" is sufficient to support the burglary conviction, and

2) Whether the conviction should be reversed on grounds of juror prejudice when one of the jurors is distantly related to the defendant.

The scene of the crime was the ninth floor of the Dearborn Hotel in Indianapolis. The hallway has doors on both sides and the only exits are the elevator and the stairs. Around 8 p.m. on August 8, 1985, Donald Trenkle took the elevator to the ninth floor. He lived in # 906. As he proceeded from the elevator to his room he saw two men, one of whom he identified as Whicker. He talked briefly with the two and entered his room. A few minutes later he heard someone kicking a door. There was the sound of breaking wood and there were several bangs. The noise came from down the hall, near the elevator. Unsure what to do, Trenkle waited in his room for a short time and then left to report the disturbance. On his way down the hall he noticed the wooden door of Lawrence McMullen's room was slightly open. McMullen lived in # 901, near the elevator. Someone pushed the door closed as Trenkle walked past. Trenkle reported what he had seen and heard to the hotel desk clerk, Daniel Fetherolf.

After Fetherolf called the police, he took the elevator to the ninth floor and noticed McMullen's door was ajar. Fetherolf nudged the door open and saw two men inside; one was Whicker. He observed a few items strewn about and saw a bag in the middle of the room. Fetherolf asked what they were doing, and Whicker said they were visiting "Mac." Fetherolf knew this was a lie because McMullen was downstairs having a drink in the bar. Whicker's companion then drew a knife, and Fetherolf backed away into the elevator. He took the elevator down. By the time Fetherolf reached the first floor the man with the knife, who had taken the stairs, was in the lobby. Fetherolf chased him. The man swiped at Fetherolf's face with the knife and knocked off his glasses before escaping.

Ten or fifteen seconds later the police arrived. At the same time Whicker came down the stairs and the police arrested him. As they were taking Whicker, away a pad of McMullen's checks fell from his clothing.

McMullen testified he left his residence locked. He found his door forced open, some of his possessions assembled in a trash bag in the middle of his room, and some checks missing.

I. Sufficiency of Evidence

Whicker argues the evidence is insufficient to support the burglary conviction. A burglar is a person "who breaks and enters the building or structure of another person, with intent to commit a felony in it. . . ." Ind. Code § 35-43-2-1 (Burns 1985 Repl.). He claims specifically the State did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt either of the two elements of burglary: "breaking and entering" and "intent to commit a felony." Whicker also asserts the burglary was not a class B felony.

As an appellate court, our review of evidence is limited. We will not weigh conflicting evidence nor Judge the credibility of witnesses. Loyd v. State (1980), 272 Ind. 404, 407, 398 N.E.2d 1260, 1264, cert. denied, 449 U.S. 881, 101 S.Ct. 231, 66 L.Ed.2d 105. We consider the evidence favorable to the verdict and draw ...


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