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Thornton v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 5, 2015

Anthony J. Thornton, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

Page 801

Appeal from the Lake Superior Court. The Honorable Salvador Vasquez, Judge. Cause No. 45G01-1308-FA-22.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: P. Jeffrey Schlesinger, Appellate Public Defender, Crown Point, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Katherine Modesitt Cooper, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Baker, Judge. Vaidik, C.J., and Riley, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 802

Baker, Judge.

[¶ 1] Anthony Thornton appeals his conviction for class B felony Criminal Confinement[1] as well as the sentence imposed by the trial court for that conviction. Thornton raises a number of arguments, one of which is dispositive. He contends that the trial court erroneously admitted evidence regarding out-of-court statements by an alleged accomplice in violation of his rights under the United States and Indiana Constitutions. We agree, and reverse.

Facts

[¶ 2] In the early morning hours of July 27, 2013, K.W. left her apartment in Illinois to go to a nearby gas station. After completing a purchase inside the gas station, she exited and encountered three men later identified as Thornton, Kevin Dillard, and Denzel Nelson. Dillard asked K.W. if she was alright. K.W. asked Dillard if the men could give her a ride down the street, and they agreed. She entered the vehicle and sat in the back seat; Thornton was driving.

[¶ 3] Ignoring K.W.'s requests to take her home, the men instead drove her to an apartment complex in Hammond, Indiana. K.W. followed the men into an apartment and entered the bathroom. Dillard followed her into the bathroom and demanded that she perform oral sex. Feeling outnumbered and threatened, K.W. complied. Nelson then entered the bathroom and attempted to have sex with K.W. The men took turns slapping K.W. and tossed her back and forth by her hairpiece. K.W. dropped to the bathroom floor and began to pray out loud. Dillard retrieved a gun

Page 803

and placed it to K.W.'s head and in between her legs. Thornton entered the bathroom and told the other men to let K.W. clean herself up. He told K.W. that he would not let the men kill her but that " You got to do exactly what I tell you to do." Tr. p. 65-66. Thornton then demanded that K.W. perform oral sex on him. Dillard reentered the bathroom and had sex with K.W. After that, Thornton told K.W. to clean herself up.

[¶ 4] Thornton and Nelson led K.W. back to the vehicle and drove away. She fled the vehicle at a stoplight and entered a CVS store, where she told the cashier that she had been raped and asked the cashier to contact the police. Later, K.W. retraced the route with a detective and they located the apartment and Thornton's vehicle. ...


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