The opinion of the court was delivered by: Allen Sharp, District Judge.
Petitioner, William Minnick, was convicted of murder and
sentenced to death on the recommendation of the jury in a state
court trial conducted in Brazil, Indiana, in the Clay Circuit
Court. When that conviction was overturned by the Indiana
Supreme Court due to a Miranda violation, Minnick v. State,
467 N.E.2d 754 (Ind. 1984), he was retried in the Lawrence
Circuit Court in Bedford, Indiana, where he was again convicted
of murder. After his second trial, the jury unanimously
recommended life in prison, but Minnick was sentenced to death
by the judge conducting that trial. The within petition was
filed by counsel in this Court on September 8, 1999, and oral
argument was heard in Lafayette, Indiana on March 16, 2000. This
Court greatly appreciates the high degree of professional
competence displayed by appointed counsel for this petitioner.
The extensive state record has been filed and examined by this
Court under the mandates of Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293, 83
S.Ct. 745, 9 L.Ed.2d 770 (1963) and under the mandates of the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA)
28 U.S.C. § 2244(b). Immediate reference is made to the three decisions in
this case by the Supreme Court of Indiana, namely Minnick v.
State, 467 N.E.2d 754 (Ind. 1984), cert. denied, Indiana v.
Minnick, 472 U.S. 1032, 105 S.Ct. 3512, 87 L.Ed.2d 642 (1985),
Minnick v. State, 544 N.E.2d 471 (Ind. 1989) and Minnick v.
State, 698 N.E.2d 745 (Ind. 1998), cert. denied,
Minnick v. Indiana, 528 U.S. 1006, 120 S.Ct. 501, 145 L.Ed.2d
387 (1999). This petitioner is now confined on death row at the
Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Indiana in this district.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
The Indiana Supreme Court described the events giving rise to
Minnick's conviction as follows:
On the afternoon of October 26, 1981, James D. Payne
returned from work to his home in Greencastle,
Indiana. He discovered his wife's body on the bedroom
floor. He immediately called police. The ensuing
investigation revealed Martha Payne had been raped,
anally sodomized, stabbed in the right rear shoulder,
and struck on the head with a table lamp. In
addition, ligature marks on her neck indicated she
had been strangled, and burn marks on her ankles
showed the perpetrator had attempted to electrocute
her as well. The cause of death was determined to be
the knife wound in her upper back, which penetrated
her lung and severed her pulmonary artery.
Minnick v. State, 544 N.E.2d 471, 473 (Ind. 1989). That
evening, while police cars were still at the Payne home, William
Minnick stopped and spoke with Officer Rodney Cline, mentioning
that he had been at the Payne home that day looking to do some
work. (2 T.R. 2105).*fn1
Late that night, a DePauw University student called the
Greencastle police and informed them he had seen an orange
"Dukes of Hazzard"-type car park in his fraternity's parking
lot, approximately one block from the Payne home, and that he
had seen a dark haired man dressed in a fatigue jacket and jeans
exit the car and walk towards the Payne home. (2 T.R. 1120-23).
Officer Cline heard the student's message, and after calling the
student back to discuss it further, determined that the
individual might have been Minnick. 2 T.R. 1280. At
approximately 3:30 a.m., Cline and Officer Larry Shipman went to
Minnick's house and asked him to come to the police station for
questioning. 2 T.R. 1281. When Minnick asked if the questioning
was about his car, Cline responded "you could say it was about
your car." 2 T.R. 1282. Cline read Minnick his Miranda rights
and told him to read the entire form, which included a waiver of
his rights, asked Minnick if he understood what he read, then
had Minnick sign the form. Id. Cline then proceeded to
interrogate Minnick about the Payne murder without the benefit
of counsel. 2 T.R. 1292. After Cline said "Well, wonder if I
told you that we had a knife that had your fingerprints on it?"
Minnick slammed Cline against the wall, but his parents pulled
him off and calmed him down, stating "if this gets further out
of hand, we'll contact [an attorney]." 1 T.R. 730. Minnick
attempted to leave the interrogation room, but was restrained. 1
T.R. 560. Prosecutor Del Brewer arrived at the police
headquarters between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. 1 T.R. 562. Using a
small tape recorder, Brewer continued the questioning of
Minnick, and the recording captured both Minnick's detention and
Minnick's request for an attorney*fn2. 1 T.R. 2133.
At approximately 9:30 a.m., Judge Vaughn of the Putnam Circuit
Court signed a warrant authorizing the taking of hair, nail
scraping, urine, blood and fingerprints from Minnick, and those
samples were taken around 11:00 a.m. 2 T.R. 1433, 1460. Minnick
was then taken from the Greencastle Police Department to the
Putnam County Jail, where he was housed in a single cell on the
second floor, at approximately 11:30 a.m. 1 T.R. 572, 583.
Between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m., Officer Jim Hendricks of the Putnam
County Sheriffs Department brought Minnick to an interview room
at the jail. 1 T.R. 583, 2694. Hendricks and Indiana State
Police Officer Jim Smith then began to question Minnick without
obtaining a waiver. 1 T.R. 584. During the course of the
conversation, a recording device was used intermittently, and in
the last portion of the recording, Minnick is heard confessing
to the murder. 1 T.R. 585-590, 2596-2604, 533.
Based on information gained from the confession, police
obtained a warrant to search Minnick's home, where they seized a
black shaving kit containing a large quantity of change and an
orange wire with a hair attached to it. 2 T.R. 1518. The hair
was not mentioned in the warrant or the return, and Sgt. Hanlon
of the Indiana State Police (I.S.P.) testified that he either
forgot to list the hair or just failed to list it. 2 T.R. 1474.
Officer Rairdon of the I.S.P. received the orange wire at the
lab, and his receipt does not mention a hair. Nevertheless a
hair was analyzed by the state police and found sufficiently
similar to Payne's hair to be of common origin. 2 T.R. 1756. The
wire was described on the warrant return as being approximately
twelve inches in length and possibly a speaker wire. 2 T.R.
1468. When tested by the state police lab, no blood or skin was
found on the wire, and no carbon marks were found on the ends. 2
Dr. John Pless, a forensic pathologist and pathology professor
at Indiana University, conducted the autopsy of Payne on October
28, 1981. 2 T.R. 1598. Dr. Pless determined that Payne was
killed by a knife wound to her back, but had also received
injuries to her neck in an attempted strangulation, a blunt
force injury to her head, and marks on her ankles consistent
with electrical burns. 2 T.R. 1599-1600. Dr. Pless collected
hair and fiber samples, rectal, vaginal and oral swabs, and
blood samples from Payne; however, he did not find any evidence
of spermatozoa on the swabs. 2 T.R. 161415. Dr. Pless was unable
to determine a time of death from his examination. 2 T.R.
Minnick was initially represented by Stephen Pierson, who was
appointed as pauper counsel by the Putnam Circuit Court on
October 28, 1981. 1 T.R. 55. Pierson filed motions for bail, for
production of evidence, to suppress evidence, and for change of
venue before attorney Woodrow Nasser was employed by Minnick's
parents and entered his appearance on December 1, 1981. 1 T.R.
86-87, 89, 90, 91-92, 97. Nasser filed Minnick's Notice of Alibi
Defense on March 11, 1982, as well as a motion to dismiss. 1
T.R. 171. Most importantly, Nasser briefed and argued the motion
to suppress the confession made by Minnick on the afternoon of
October 27, 1981. 1 T.R. 502. The case was venued to the Clay
Circuit Court, the next county over, and after he denied the
motion to suppress, Judge Ernest Yelton presided over Minnick's
first trial. 1 T.R. 56, 199, 213. Minnick was convicted on the
murder, rape, and robbery charges, although the court granted a
directed verdict on the sexual deviate conduct charge, and after
the jury recommended a death sentence, the court sentenced
Minnick to death. 1 T.R. 328, 333, 362. Minnick appealed his
conviction and sentence to the Indiana Supreme Court, and on
September 7, 1984, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed his
conviction and remanded the case for a new trial, finding that
the confession made by Minnick on October 27, 1981 was taken in
violation of Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880,
68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981). The State filed a petition for writ of
certiorari, but that petition was denied. Indiana v. Minnick,
472 U.S. 1032, 105 S.Ct. 3512, 87 L.Ed.2d 642 (1985).
On remand, Woodrow Nasser was appointed as pauper counsel for
Minnick and he moved for a change of venue from the Clay Circuit
Court. 2 T.R. 64, 66. The case was transferred to the Lawrence
Circuit Court, where Judge Linda Chezem presided, on July 15,
1985. 2 T.R. 66. Nasser moved for production of all evidence not
produced during the first trial, and that motion was granted on
August 26, 1985. 2 T.R. 159, 173. The second trial then
commenced on September 4, 1985 with jury selection on September
4, 5, and 6, 1985. 2 T.R. 181, 184.
As in the first trial, Brewer presented evidence from several
of the Greencastle Police, Putnam County Sheriffs Department,
and Indiana State Police officers who had participated in the
investigation, as well as several friends and relatives of both
the victim and Minnick, working to establish Minnick's
opportunity. Gary Hood, the Technician Supervisor for the
I.S.P., testified that he had gathered evidence at the Payne
home and had taken photographs of the crime scene, which were
then presented to the jury. 2 T.R. 886 et seq. Martha Payne's
mother then testified that her daughter would have received
$30,000 from a trust fund established by her grandfather when
she was 25 and another $30,000 from a trust fund established
after her father died when she turned 30. 2 T.R. 961.
Jim Payne, Martha's husband, testified that he arrived home
between 4:45 and 4:50 p.m. on October 26, 1981. 2 T.R. 998. He
called her name when he arrived home, then went to the bedroom
to change his clothes. 2 T.R. 1002. He threw something at the
wastebasket, but missed, and when he went to pick it up, he saw
the bloody knife on the floor by the basket. 2 T.R. 1002. He
then circled the bed and found Martha's body. 2 T.R. 1004. Payne
also testified that he had been in the habit of saving his
change in a large glass cider jug, and that when he lasted
counted the jar in July, 1981, it contained between seventy and
eighty dollars. 2 T.R. 976. When he looked after the murder, the
jar was gone, although he could not state with certainty that he
had seen the jar in the week prior to the murder. 2 T.R. 978.
Jim also testified that he and Martha had engaged in sexual
intercourse the day prior to the murder and that Martha had used
a diaphragm on that occasion. 2 T.R. 994.
Linda (Detro) Marley testified that she had had breakfast with
Martha on the morning of October 26, 1981, and that Martha had
been prepared to pay for her own breakfast, suggesting that she
had cash in her wallet, which was found empty after the murder.
2 T.R. 1060. Additionally, Marley spoke with Martha on the
telephone at 12:00 p.m. that day. James Peck, Superintendent of
the Greencastle Community Schools, testified that Martha had
stopped by his office at approximately 1:15 p.m. to sign up for
the substitute teacher list. 2 T.R. 1064. Janet Pierce testified
that she was exercising at the Figurette Salon with Martha, and
that Martha was still at the salon when she left at 2:10 p.m.
Donna Duell, who worked at the Figurette, testified that Martha
checked out of the salon at approximately 2:20 p.m. 2 T.R. 1078.
Debra Haerr, a neighbor of the Paynes, testified that she saw
Martha backing out of the driveway at 12:50 p.m. on October 26,
1981 and that she saw Jim Payne walking towards his porch at
4:55 p.m. that same day. 2 T.R. 1084-85. Haerr also testified
that she cleaned the house after the murder and found Martha's
diaphragm, which appeared to be clean and in its usual place. 2
Marty Williamson, who knew both Payne and Minnick, testified
that Minnick had visited him at 2:30 p.m. on October 26, 1981
and asked him if he would assist Minnick with a job at the Payne
house. 2 T.R. 1099. Minnick told Williamson at that time that
Payne was not yet home. Id. Minnick left, then returned
approximately fifteen minutes later and stated that Payne was
still not at home. 2 T.R. 1101. Williamson then declined the job
offer because he had another job to do that day. Id.
Williamson then left his house and went to a laundromat to see
his future mother-in-law and let her know he wouldn't be able to
pick up his girlfriend/future wife after school. 2 T.R. 1104. He
noted the time as a few minutes before three. Id. As he left
the laundromat and started toward his next job in
Crawfordsville, he saw Martha Payne walking down the street
towards her home. 2 T.R. 1106. Brewer then presented the
testimony of Steve Huber, the DePauw fraternity member, from the
first trial, in which he had testified that he saw a person park
an orange Dodge Chargertype vehicle in his fraternity's parking
lot at approximately 2: 15 p.m. 2 T.R. 1124. Mace Terry, who had
been a student at Greencastle High School and a neighbor of the
Payne's, testified that he saw Minnick walking toward the Payne
house at approximately 2:55 p.m. 2 T.R. 1138.
Judy Flower, who lived in the upstairs apartment at the Payne
house, testified that she returned home from teaching school at
approximately 3:15 p.m., turned on her television, and made
several phone calls. 2 T.R. 1147. At approximately 3:45 p.m.,
she heard the downstairs door close and believed it to be Martha
checking the mail. 2 T.R. 1149. Flowers made a few more phone
calls, then heard Jim Payne arrive home at approximately 4:57
p.m. 2 T.R. 1153. Shortly thereafter, she heard male voices
downstairs, looked out her window and saw police cars. 2 T.R.
Marty Crowe, an acquaintance of Minnick's, testified that
Minnick gave him a ride home from his job at Rector Hall at
DePauw University at approximately 4:00 p.m. 2 T.R. 1180.
Charlene Jones, Minnick's girlfriend at the time, testified that
Minnick arrived at her home at approximately 4:30 p.m. and
stayed until between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. 2 T.R. 1193. Howard
Keller, former owner of the K&K's Pro service station in
Greencastle, testified that Minnick came into his station at
approximately 2:00 p.m. and got $2.00 of gas on credit from
Keller. 2 T.R. 1199. Harold Smiley, one of Keller's employees,
then testified that Minnick returned to the station and paid for
the $2.00 of gas with a dollar bill and four quarters. 2 T.R.
1204. Mark Secrest testified that he saw Minnick at McGoo's, the
local video game parlor, between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. 2 T.R. 1214.
Secrest left with Minnick and another individual, Louis Rachel,
known as Ace, and went to Secrest's brother's house. 2 T.R.
1215-16. Minnick had purchased a car from Secrest and made his
first payment that evening of $50.00, all in change. 2 T.R.
1218. At one point while Minnick, Secrest, and Rachel were
counting out the coins, which Minnick had carried in a black
shaving kit, some other people arrived at the house, and the
three hid the money before opening the door. 2 T.R. 1218.
Secrest asked Minnick where he got the money, but Minnick didn't
answer. 2 T.R. 1218-19. Secrest also testified that there were
pieces of broken clear glass in the bag with the money. 2 T.R.
Rodney Cline, a Greencastle police officer, testified that he
was working the rope line at the crime scene and spoke with
Minnick at the crime scene the night of October 26, 1981. 2 T.R.
1275. Minnick at that time told Cline he had been at the Payne
house that day about a job. Id. Cline was the evening shift
commander, so when the other officers finally went home for some
sleep, Cline stayed on duty and started going through the tapes
of phone calls to the department with possible leads. 2 T.R.
1277. Cline heard the tape of the call from DePauw student Steve
Huber, and called Huber back at approximately 3:00 a.m. to get a
better description from him. 2 T.R. 1280. Based on that
information, Cline went to Minnick's home as described above. 2
T.R. 1291. On cross-examination, Cline described a previous
confrontation he'd had with Minnick, when Minnick's car had run
out of gas and then got a flat tire, and Minnick left the car to
get gas. 2 T.R. 1303. When he returned, Cline had called a tow
truck, and the two got into an argument over who would pay for
the tow truck. 2 T.R. 1303.
Jo Anne Hayes, who had been the dispatcher at the Clay County
Sheriffs Department in 1982 when Minnick was housed there during
the first trial, testified that she heard Minnick through the
audio monitoring system in his cell state to another individual
"and then Martha said . . . No, Billy don't . . . please don't."
2 T.R. 1325. Dennis Sluder, who had been an inmate at the Clay
County Jail along with Minnick, testified that Minnick told him
in jail that he had murdered Martha Payne. 2 T.R. 1333. Sluder
specifically testified that Minnick told him he had used a
hunting knife, that he had stuffed Payne's panties in her mouth
to stop her screaming, that he urinated on the electrical wires
to create a better connection, and that he stabbed Payne several
times before finally killing her by stabbing her in the neck. 2
Officers Norm Varvel and Larry Huffman of the Greencastle
Police both testified as to Jim Payne's distraught nature when
they arrived at the Payne home. 2 T.R. 1363, 1387. Wayne
Hopkins, the Putnam County Coroner and a local funeral home
director, testified that when he arrived at the Payne residence
shortly after 5:00 p.m., he observed the body and pronounced
Martha Payne dead. 2 T.R. 1247. After the technicians had
finished taking evidence, Hopkins took the body to his mortuary,
and then contacted Dr. John Pless to perform an autopsy. 2 T.R.
Sheriff Jim Baugh testified primarily about Minnick's escape
from the Putnam County Jail on December 6, 1981. 2 T.R. 1392.
Minnick was placed in the third "drunk tank" cell upon his
return to Putnam County on December 6, 1981. 2 T.R. 1397. After
Minnick was discovered to be missing, Baugh went into the cell
and saw a Bible with a scratched cover. 2 T.R. 1398.
He locked the cell door, then slid the Bible cover into the
lock, opening it. Id. Sgt. Jack Hanlon of the Indiana State
Police testified that he had been present at the scene and
assisted in taking evidence. 2 T.R. 1427. He noticed that the
carpet under Payne's body was wet and had it taken as evidence.
2 T.R. 1427. Between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. on October 27, 1981,
Hanlon was asked by Prosecutor Brewer to go to the Greencastle
Police Department, where the police were interviewing Minnick. 2
T.R. 1432. Hanlon then obtained a search warrant from Judge
Vaughn, seeking Minnick's hair, blood, and urine samples. 2 T.R.
1433. Hanlon also testified that he was one of two officers who
apprehended Minnick after his escape attempt on December 6,
1981. 2 T.R. 1443.
Charles Rairdon, a crime scene technician for the I.S.P.,
testified that he took some of the photographs of the Payne home
and collected evidence the evening of the crime. 2 T.R. 1507.
Additionally, he attended the autopsy and collected evidence
from the victim at the autopsy. 2 T.R. 1510. Rairdon was the
officer in charge of maintaining the evidence log, and he
produced all of the physical evidence taken at the scene. 2 T.R.
1515-19. Dr. Pless testified that he had performed an autopsy on
Martha Payne on October 28, 1981. 2 T.R. 1599. In that autopsy,
he found a single stab wound in the back to the right of the
spine, which pierced a lung and a major pulmonary artery. 2 T.R.
1600. Additionally, he found ligature marks around her neck and
hemorrhages of the face which suggested a strangulation attempt,
a blunt force injury on the back of the head, and small areas of
burning of the tissue on the inside of both ankles. Id. He
found the burning to be consistent with an electrical burning. 2
T.R. 1607. Pless further testified that he did not find any
sperm on the swabs he took from the victim. 2 T.R. 1630. He did,
however, find hyperemia of the vagina, suggestive of irritation,
which would not have been caused by Payne's intercourse with her
husband the previous day. 2 T.R. 1635.
William Kuhn, a forensic serologist at the I.S.P. Laboratory,
testified that he tested the carpet sample from the Payne home
and found semen from an individual with type O blood who
secreted his blood type in his bodily fluids, i.e., a type O
secretor. 2 T.R. 1688. Kuhn also typed samples from Jim Payne,
Minnick, and Louis `Ace' Rachel, and found that Payne was a type
O secretor, as was Minnick, but that Rachel was a type A
secretor. 2 T.R. 1699, 1701. Thus, the semen stain on the carpet
could have come from either Jim Payne or from Minnick. 2 T.R.
1701. Kuhn did find sperm on the vaginal swabs. 2 T.R. 1724.
Michael Oliver, a hair and fiber examiner with the I.S.P.
Laboratory, testified that he compared a hair found on an orange
wire in Minnick's car and found the hair to be sufficiently
similar to be of common origin to the victim, Martha Payne. 2
T.R. 1756. The prosecution then finished with the testimony of
Linda Copeland from the first trial, at which she testified that
she had been incarcerated at the Putnam County Jail at the same
time as Minnick, and that Minnick had told her that he had raped
the victim, but that Ace had killed her. 2 T.R. 1801.
The defense presented Wanda Rogers, Minnick's mother, to
testify that Minnick was a good worker and that the entire
family had a practice of keeping coins in jars. 2 T.R. 1907,
1909. Rogers also testified that on December 6, 1981, when
Minnick escaped from jail, he arrived at her doorstep with fresh
cuts on his face. 2 T.R. 1912. Minnick's brother, Earl Minnick,
testified about Minnick's change bag and about Minnick's bruised
appearance during his escape attempt. 2 T.R. 1927,
1930. The testimony of Annette Boyd, operator of the Commercial
Hotel, was read from the first trial. 2 T.R. 1950. At that
trial, she testified that she had accused Ace Rachel of killing
Martha Payne, and that Phil Burchett then told her Rachel asked
him to kill her. 2 T.R. 1955, 1957.
Jerry Nodley then testified that he had been working at the
United Oil Station in Greencastle on the day of the murder and
that he saw Minnick at the station between 3:00 and 3:15 p.m.
that afternoon when Minnick purchased fifteen dollars of gas. 2
T.R. 1963. Earl Richardson, a mechanic at K&K Pro Station,
testified that he saw Minnick in the garage between 3:00 and
3:30 p.m. on October 26, 1981. 2 T.R. 1996. Dennis Rumley, who
also worked at the K&K Pro Station, also testified that he saw
Minnick at the station between 3:30 and 3:45 p.m. 2 T.R. 2008.
The testimony of Amy Kern from the first trial was read into the
record. 2 T.R. 2020. Kern, an eleven year-old paper carrier at
the time of the murder, testified that she heard a scream coming
from the Payne home approximately twenty to thirty minutes
before the police cars arrived at the home. 2 T.R. 2025. Linda
Copeland's prior testimony as a defense witness was read, in
which she stated that the Sheriff had maced Minnick prior to
lunch time on Tuesday, October 27, 1981. 2 T.R. 2037. Minnick
was yelling for his lawyer at the time and may have spit in the
Sheriffs face. Id.
Minnick personally took the stand during the second trial. 2
T.R. 2082. Initially, he was presented for the limited purpose
of showing Officer Cline's animus towards him, but when that was
excluded, Minnick stayed on the stand, explained his activities
on October 26, 1981, testified that he had escaped from his
unlocked cell on December 6, 1981 because he had been beaten by
an officer, and proclaimed his innocence. 2 T.R. 2089,
2107-2128, 2141-2146, 2158. The prosecutor attempted to
cross-examine Minnick about his prior confession, but the court
held a brief suppression hearing and determined that the
statement should not be used for purposes of impeachment because
Minnick had not been warned of that possibility prior to taking
the stand. 2 T.R. 2196. The defense rested at the end of
Minnick's testimony. 2 T.R. 2205.
The jury received the case for deliberations on September 18,
1985, and that same day reached verdicts of guilty on all
counts. 2 T.R. 218. The following day, the jury returned for the
penalty phase of the trial. 2 T.R. 271. The state presented no
additional evidence, resting on the evidence it had presented
during the trial. 2 T.R. 2303. The defense presented Minnick,
who again denied any involvement in the offense. 2 T.R. 2307.
The jury deliberated and recommended that the death penalty not
be imposed. 2 T.R. 2339.
On October 16, 1985, the court held the sentencing hearing for
Minnick. 2 T.R. 305. The probation officer testified as to her
pre-sentence report. 2 T.R. 343. The prosecutor tried again to
put the suppressed confession into the record, which the court
denied. 2 T.R. 350. The defense put Minnick on the stand, and he
again protested his innocence. 2 T.R. 361. No other evidence was
presented, and the court orally and in writing rendered her
findings. 2 T.R. 306-07, 370-72. She specifically stated as
The court, after considering all mitigating
circumstances listed by statute and pursuant to the
last paragraph thereof had looked for any other
circumstances appropriate for consideration. The
court feels that a clean record for three months of
adulthood is not the kind of lack of criminal
record that the legislature envisioned in setting
out the statutes for mitigating circumstances and
the courts finds same not to be a mitigating
The court further finds the aggravating
circumstances overwhelmingly outweigh the