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Koonce v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 3, 2015

Everett Harry Koonce, Jr., Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

Editorial Note:

These opinions are not precedents and cannot be cited or relied upon unless used when establishing res judicata or collateral estoppel or in actions between the same party. Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 65(D).

Appeal from the Lake Superior Court; The Honorable Salvador Vasquez, Judge; 45G01-1310-FC-120.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: Kristin A. Mulholland, Crown Point, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Graham T. Youngs, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

May, Judge. Barnes, J., and Pyle, J., concur.


May, Judge.

[¶1] Everett Harry Koonce, Jr., appeals his sentence of seven and a half years for Class C felony attempted battery by means of a deadly weapon.[1] As the sentence was not inappropriate, we affirm.


[¶2] On October 3, 2013, Koonce was arrested after he bumped a sixteen-year-old girl with his car and then chased her with his car, nearly running over her when she tripped and fell. Koonce agreed to plead guilty and the judge imposed a sentence six months short of the maximum eight-year sentence allowed for a Class C felony.


[¶3] Koonce argues his sentence is inappropriate because it imposes an undue hardship on his family, who needs his assistance caring for his father so that his mother can maintain employment.[2]

We may revise a sentence authorized by statute if, after due consideration of the trial court's decision, the Court finds that the sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender. Although appellate review of sentences must give due consideration to the trial court's sentence because of the special expertise of the trial bench in making sentencing decisions, Appellate Rule 7(B) is an authorization to revise sentences when certain broad conditions are satisfied. Whether we regard a sentence as appropriate at the end of the day turns on our sense of the culpability of the defendant, the severity of the crime, the damage done to others, and myriad other factors that come to light in a given case. In addition to the due consideration we are required to give to the trial court's sentencing decision, we understand and recognize the unique perspective a trial court brings to its sentencing decisions.

[¶4] Couch v. State, 977 N.E.2d 1013, 1017 (Ind.Ct.App. 2012) (citations and quotation marks omitted), reh'g denied, trans. denied. The appellant bears the burden of demonstrating his sentence is inappropriate. Amalfitano v. State, 956 N.E.2d 208, 212 (Ind.Ct.App. 2011), trans. denied.

[¶5] At the time Koonce committed his crime, the sentencing range for a Class C felony was " between two (2) and eight (8) years, with the advisory sentence being four (4) years." Ind. Code § 35-50-2-6(a) (2013). The court imposed a seven and a half year sentence. Koonce claims that is inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of his offense.

[¶6] As for Koonce's character, the record reflects: Koonce, a thirty-seven-year old man, has a predilection for young girls, and the court surmised he is " a predator of children." (Sent. Hrg. Tr. at 39-40.) His first offense against children was in 1991 and would have been felony child molestation if he had been an adult. In 2005, Koonce was charged with rape and incest and was convicted of Class C felony sexual misconduct with a minor pursuant to a plea agreement. Koonce was convicted of various drug offenses. Prosecution was deferred twice and probation was allowed once. Although Koonce completed some self-help programs while in the Department of Correction, those programs and his prior punishments did not deter him from committing the instant offense. Koonce has been given the benefit of leniency and treatment to no avail, which leads us to conclude his sentence is not inappropriate in light for his character.

[¶7] As to his offense, Koonce asserts his actions " were not particularly egregious." (Appellant's Br. at 9.) Koonce prowled around the area of a high school; he stopped his car in front of a teenage girl in an alley, forcing her to walk around his car; he bumped her with his car as she walked down the alley in front of him; he began chasing her with his car after she confronted him for bumping her; he drove after her through a park on a bicycle path; and when the girl tripped and fell, Koonce nearly ran over her with his car. We decline to characterize his crime as " not particularly egregious." The victim testified she is " so scared and paranoid" that she does not go anywhere on her own. (Sent. Hrg. Tr. at 28.) Although she was not hurt physically, she was traumatized mentally and emotionally. ( See id. (" I'm terrified." ).) We cannot say this sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of his offense.

[¶8] The trial court did not impose an inappropriate sentence on Koonce based on his character or offense. Accordingly, we affirm.

[¶9] Affirmed.

Barnes, J., and Pyle, J., concur.

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