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Evans v. Zatecky

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

February 27, 2014

TY EVANS, Petitioner,



For the reasons explained in this Entry, the petition of Ty Evans for a writ of habeas corpus must be denied and the action dismissed with prejudice. In addition, the court finds that a certificate of appealability should not issue.

The Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

I. Background

Evans is serving the executed portion of sentences imposed following his convictions in an Indiana state court for attempted murder, resisting law enforcement and habitual offender enhancement. See Evans v. State, 855 N.E.2d 378 (Ind.Ct.App. 2006) (" Evans I "). Evans' convictions and sentence were affirmed in Evans I, and the Indiana Supreme Court denied his petition for transfer on February 15, 2007. The trial court's subsequent denial of a petition for post-conviction relief was affirmed on appeal in Evans v. State, No. 49A04-1112-PC-697 (Ind.Ct.App. Aug. 8, 2012) (" Evans II "). The Indiana Supreme Court denied Evans' petition for transfer on February 15, 2013. The evidence supporting the jury's verdicts was summarized as follows:

Evans occasionally paid nineteen-year-old Melinda Keedy to clean his house, do his laundry, and care for his yard. Keedy kept all her belongings at Evans's home and sometimes stayed there. Evans and Keedy were also partners in a scheme to commit bank fraud in Tennessee and Kentucky. Evans created false identity papers for Keedy that she used to open a bank account as well as checks that Keedy deposited in that bank account. He created these checks by stealing mail from mailboxes and copying information from the checks he found therein. Keedy would deposit or cash the checks created by Evans using a false thumbprint. However, in early May 2005, Keedy used her actual thumbprint to cash a check. When she informed Evans that she had done so, he became very angry. Evans was afraid the police would catch them, and he decided to kill Keedy.
On May 15, 2005, Evans contacted his friend and employee, Billy Neely, and offered him an unspecified job for which Neely could earn three or four thousand dollars. On May 16, 2005, Neely went to Evans's house. Evans then told Neely that he wanted to kill Keedy, whom Neely also knew. Evans explained the plan to Neely: Evans had told Keedy that he was going to rob a house in Geist that night, and Keedy had agreed to drive him. Keedy was to meet Evans at a grocery store where he would pick her up. After Evans picked up Keedy, he would bring her back to his house, where Neely would be waiting. Once inside the house, Evans would strangle Keedy with a rope while Neely remained ready to apprehend Keedy should she attempt to escape. Evans would wash the body in a wading pool to remove any evidence and place it in a box, both of which he had in his garage. Finally, Neely would bury Keedy in an excavation for a new house. After explaining the plan, Evans drove Neely to the construction site where Neely was to bury Keedy. They then returned to Evans's house, and Neely waited there while Evans picked up Keedy.
Evans, however, was unaware that Keedy had agreed to act as a police informant. A few days earlier, Ryan Stephenson, Keedy's intermittent boyfriend, had contacted United States Postal Inspector Richard Petry and provided him with information regarding Evans and Keedy's bank fraud scheme. On May 16, 2005, at approximately 5:00 p.m., Inspector Petry learned of Keedy's location, and Indianapolis police officers pulled Keedy over. Keedy admitted her involvement in the bank fraud scheme and agreed to accompany Inspector Petry to his office for an interview. On the way to Inspector Petry's office, Keedy told him about the robbery she was to help Evans with that very evening. Inspector Petry immediately stopped his car and contacted the Indianapolis Police Department. Keedy drove with police officers to the home that she thought Evans had targeted for the robbery. The police formulated a plan wherein Keedy would meet Evans as planned, and while under police surveillance, they would drive to the Geist home, and the officers would interrupt the robbery before it occurred. Keedy agreed to wear a wire. The police put the wire on Keedy, and she went to meet Evans at the grocery store.
At approximately 7:30 p.m., Keedy arrived at the grocery store parking lot. Evans was waiting there as planned. Keedy got in his car, but Evans did not drive to the Geist house. Instead, he drove to his house, explaining to Keedy that he had to get his gun. Evans parked his car in his garage and closed the garage door. Just before she exited the car, Keedy saw Evans put a glove on his left hand. She entered the house in front of Evans. After she had taken a step or two, Evans put a rope around her neck, started strangling her, pulled her to the ground, and said: "You robbed the wrong motherfucker this time, didn't ya? $2, 000 out of my dresser. It's all over with bitch. You can't be trusted. About two minutes, it'll be all over. This ain't no game You were told." State's Exhibits 10, 11. Neely was also in the house and made derogatory comments to Keedy. Evans continued, saying, "Yeah, you were told time and time again to keep your... mouth shut." Id.
Meanwhile, the police officers monitoring the transmission from Keedy's wire realized something was wrong and attempted to enter the house. Evans's house had two doors. Some officers ran to the front door, while Officers Jeffrey Krider, Dewey Poskon, and Jeffrey Avington ran to the side door. Next to the side door, there was a full-length window approximately three feet wide. Officer Poskon looked in the window and saw a pool table. On the other side of the pool table, he saw two pairs of legs, perpendicular to each other. One set of legs was bare, and the other set had on light blue jeans. Officer Poskon yelled, "They're in there." Tr. at 235. The officers yelled, "Police, " and tried to open the door, but it was locked. Id. at 244. Officer Avington attempted to kick the door open three times, but it would not open. Evans came to the window and said that he could not open the door. Officer Avington kicked the door once more, and it opened. He rushed in and ran after Neely, who had jumped over the banister and run up the stairs. Neely had on a hooded sweatshirt, brown work pants, and brown boots. Neely ran to the front door and unlocked it, allowing the officers there to enter. After the officers subdued Neely, Officer Avington returned to the room in which Keedy lay.
Meanwhile, Officer Krider had knocked Evans down. Evans was wearing light blue jeans. Officer Krider attempted to subdue Evans, who continued to fight. Evans was face down and was kicking and bucking while Officer Krider was on his back. Officer Poskon went to the other side of the pool table and saw Keedy face down with her head in the fireplace. He yelled for an ambulance and then went to assist Officer Krider in subduing Evans. Having returned to the room, Officer Avington went to help Keedy. He turned her over and removed the rope from around her neck. She had blood on her face and was foaming at the mouth; her eyes were rolled back in her head; and she had urinated on herself. He was unsure whether she was dead or alive. After a few seconds, Keedy gasped and started to cough and moan. Her face was "cherry red" due to the extensive hemorrhaging, she had an abrasion on her neck from the rope, her voice was raspy and hoarse, she was gasping for breath and hyperventilating, and she had difficulty swallowing. Id. at 468. However, she was able to indicate that Evans was the person who had attempted to strangle her. At some point, the police were able to handcuff Evans.
Police found two gloves in the room and two other gloves that Neely had dropped as he attempted to flee. Inside Evans's garage, police found a small wading pool, a box large enough to hold a grown adult, a bottle of acid, a bottle of 409 spray, three bottles of isopropyl alcohol, and two packs of disposable rubber gloves. In Evans's car, police found two bags of ready mix concrete, a shovel, a pick ax, a big heavy-duty trash bag, a towel, and a complete change of clothes. A brown paper grocery bag was taped over the overhead dome light. Neely showed police the construction site where he was supposed to bury Keedy's body.
On May 18, 2005, the State charged Evans with class A felony attempted murder, class B felony aggravated battery, class B felony criminal confinement, and class D felony resisting law enforcement. On October 12, 2005, the State amended the information to include a habitual offender charge.

Evans I, 855 N.E.2d at ...

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