APPEAL FROM THE LAKE SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Diane Ross Boswell, Judge. Cause No. 45G03-1301-FA-2.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: KRISTIN A. MULHOLLAND, Appellate Public Defender, Crown Point, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, JAMES B. MARTIN, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.
BAKER, Judge. KIRSCH, J., and ROBB, J., concur.
Appellant-defendant Ronald Dewayne Thompson appeals his convictions for Rape, a class A felony, and Criminal Deviate Conduct, a class B felony. More particularly, Thompson contends that the trial court erred when it admitted evidence that Thompson was a suspect in another sexual assault case. Additionally, Thompson argues that the State's request to introduce evidence under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b) did not provide reasonable notice as required by that rule and lack of such notice was not excused for good cause. Finding that the evidence was inadmissible under Evidence Rule 404(b) and that it was prejudicial, we reverse and remand for a new trial.
On August 18, 2012, T.H. traveled from Elkhart, Indiana, to Gary, Indiana. T.H. had just finished her CNA program and was going to Gary to celebrate with her nephew Ramon and his girlfriend. To arrive in Gary, she took a trolley, a bus, and the South Shore train. However, when T.H. got off the trolley, she ran into her nephew James. She stopped to talk to him about her CNA certificate. She had a drink of vodka with James, and then continued on a bus to the South Shore train. While on the bus, she drank a tall can of beer she had brought with her in her purse.
After 6:00 pm, T.H. arrived in Gary. She took a bus to 21st street and Broadway and then began walking on Broadway, looking for a bus that would take her to Ramon's house. Before she found a bus, T.H. ran into Thompson, who introduced himself as Michael and asked T.H. if she needed a ride. T.H. told him that, if he would get her safely to Ramon's home, she would like a ride. She got into his white minivan.
T.H. did not have any money, and she offered Thompson her electronic benefits (EBT) card, telling him he could make a purchase with it if he liked. They then went to a service station on Broadway, where Thompson went into the building with T.H.'s EBT card, but he returned to the van empty-handed. He then drove to another store, where he purchased orange juice. He and T.H. each drank some gin from a bottle. At this point, Thompson told T.H. he needed to " run out to [his] job real quick." Tr. p. 64.
Thompson drove to Merrillville, where he took T.H. inside a building. Once she entered the building, T.H. noticed that it was completely empty except for carpeting and a chart on the wall. Worried, she attempted to leave. Thompson would not allow her to leave and blocked her exit. He grabbed T.H.'s hair, and T.H. said " no." Id. at 69.
T.H. tried to leave once more, but Thompson grabbed her clothes, put his hands around her neck, and pushed her against the wall. T.H. pretended to collapse, because Thompson was choking her hard, and she wanted to " get away from the choking." Id. While T.H. was lying on the floor, ...