APPEAL FROM WARRICK CIRCUIT COURT, The Honorable Donald G. Hendrickson, Judge, Cause No. CR-77-46.
Givan, J., Shepard, C.j., DeBruler, Pivarnik and Dickson, JJ., concur.
A jury trial resulted in a conviction of appellant for Murder for which he received a sentence of life imprisonment.
The facts are: On June 1, 1977, appellant shot and killed Oscar Evans at the Yankeetown Docks Corporation in Warrick County, Indiana, where both of them worked. Appellant apparently entertained the idea that the decedent was having an affair with his wife which led to the shooting.
Following the shooting, appellant immediately turned himself into the Warrick County jail where, after being read his Miranda rights, he stated that he had shot Evans and the gun he used was in the front seat of his car parked in front of the jail. However, when appellant was presented with a Miranda waiver form, he refused to sign it.
Appellant was charged with murder; however, the trial court found that he was mentally incapable of defending himself. Therefore he was committed to the Department of Mental Health. On November 30 of the same year (1977), the Department of Mental Health certified appellant as competent to aid in his defense and to understand the nature of the criminal action against him. He was ordered back to the Warrick County jail for trial. However, on March 9, 1978, appellant again was found not competent to participate in his defense and was once more committed to the Department of Mental Health. On October 10, 1978, appellant was returned to the Warrick Circuit Court for a hearing. After the hearing, the court again found that he was incompetent to stand trial and he was recommitted to the Department of Mental Health.
On September 17, 1984, the hospital informed the court that appellant had obtained competence to stand trial. The court ruled that appellant was in fact competent to stand trial. The trial commenced on July 22, 1985. At trial, appellant invoked the defense of insanity at the time of the commission of the offense. Many witnesses, including laymen, police officers, and doctors, testified that appellant appeared to be sane and to understand the consequences of his acts at the time Evans was killed.
On the other hand, several laymen and doctors testified that in their opinion appellant was not accountable for his actions at the time Evans was killed. The doctors so testifying stated that in their opinion appellant was a paranoid schizophrenic and unable to control his actions.
Appellant claims the trial court erred in admitting photographs of the decedent's body showing the wounds inflicted thereon. He points out that he had entered into a stipulation with the State that he did in fact kill Oscar Evans by shooting him with a pistol loaded with gunpowder and bullets. Thus he claims it became unnecessary to show photographs of the decedent's body. He contends the sole purpose for the State doing so was to inflame and prejudice the jury.
Appellant states that he is not basing his reason for exclusion of the exhibits on their gruesome nature as was done in Kiefer v. State (1958), 239 Ind. 103, 153 N.E.2d 899. Whether or not to admit photographs of this nature is largely within the sound discretion of the trial Judge. Finch v. State (1984), Ind., 459 N.E.2d 1184. Even though appellant had stipulated that he in fact had killed the decedent, there was nevertheless the question of the nature of the attack which included evidence that after the decedent had fallen to the floor as a result of the first shots, appellant walked up to him, placed the gun against his head and fired again. We see no abuse of discretion on the part of the trial Judge in allowing the photographs in evidence even though the corpus delicti had been established by the stipulation. See Wagner v. State (1985), Ind., 474 N.E.2d 476.
Appellant claims the trial court erred in admitting State's Exhibit No. 25 which is a transcript of a hearing before the United States Department of Labor, Office of Administrative Law Judges. Appellant had filed a claim for black lung benefits. The transcript was introduced by the State to demonstrate appellant's ability to function, including personal testimony at such a hearing. Appellant claims the admission of the document is violative of his constitutional right to remain silent and not to be required to submit evidence against himself.
He further claims that he was denied the right to cross-examine the attorney who represented him at the hearing or the attorney who represented the respondent. However, as pointed out by the State, neither attorney testified at the hearing thus there was no statement by them concerning appellant's abilities for which they could have been cross-examined. The witnesses who testified were appellant and his daughter.
We would further point out that when appellant invoked the defense of insanity he opened up his conduct for examination. Lock v. State (1980), 273 Ind. 315, 403 N.E.2d 1360. Evidence which might otherwise be inadmissible becomes admissible when there is a question of sanity. Coble v. State (1985), Ind., 476 N.E.2d 102. All evidence, remote as it may be, having a logical reference to appellant's sanity is admissible on that issue. Lock, supra. The remoteness in time and the ...