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Guilmette v. State

Supreme Court of Indiana

August 13, 2014

DOUGLAS A. GUILMETTE, Appellant (Defendant below),
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee (Plaintiff below)

Appeal from the St. Joseph Superior Court, No. 71D08-1012-MR-11. The Honorable Jane Woodward Miller, Judge. On Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No. 71A04-1205-CR-250.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: Philip R. Skodinski, South Bend, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Karl M. Scharnberg, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Massa, Justice. Dickson, C.J., and Rucker, David, and Rush, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 39

Massa, Justice.

This appeal presents us with a single question: must police have a warrant before subjecting lawfully seized evidence to laboratory testing if that evidence is unrelated to the crime for which the defendant is in custody? We think not, and thus we affirm the trial court.

Facts and Procedural History

On the evening of September 13, 2010, Doug Guilmette and his co-worker Greg Piechocki were visiting the home of their employer, Kevin Rieder. Around 12:30 a.m., Rieder took a sleeping pill and went to sleep in another room with the door closed and the fan on high. Sometime later, Piechocki went to sleep in the second bedroom. During the early morning hours of September 14, Guilmette entered that bedroom and stole Piechocki's car keys and $280 in cash. Guilmette then drove Piechocki's car to Wal-Mart and Meijer, where he shoplifted several items of merchandise. He returned to Rieder's home around 7:00 a.m., parked Piechocki's car on the street in front of the house, and left again.

That afternoon, Rieder discovered Piechocki's body in the spare bedroom. A forensic pathologist later determined Piechocki suffered at least ten blows to his head, causing multiple skull fractures, and at least fifteen blows to his body--all consistent with being hit by a baseball bat.

Police questioned Guilmette, but he initially denied any involvement in the murder and claimed he rode a bicycle to Wal-Mart and Meijer. At a second interview, however, after police confronted Guilmette with surveillance video showing him driving Piechocki's car at both Wal-Mart and Meijer, Guilmette admitted he took Piechocki's keys and money. At the conclusion of that interview, police arrested Guilmette on two counts of theft. They also seized his clothing, including his shoes, in accordance with their standard booking

Page 40

protocols. When police inspected Guilmette's clothing, they found what appeared to be blood under the laces of his left shoe. Testing revealed the presence of Piechocki's DNA in that blood.

The State charged Guilmette with four felonies: one count of murder, two counts of theft, and one count of habitual offender status. Guilmette moved to suppress the DNA evidence found on his shoe, arguing the police should have obtained a separate warrant before subjecting the shoe to testing. After a hearing, the trial court denied that motion. Guilmette was ...


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