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Taylor v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 25, 2015

Chelsea Taylor, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

Appeal from the Marion Superior Court. The Honorable Lisa Borges, Judge. Cause No. 49G04-1204-FA-022784.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: Lisa M. Johnson, Brownsburg, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Larry D. Allen, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Bailey, Judge. Najam, J., and Pyle, J., concur.

OPINION

Bailey, Judge.

Case Summary

[¶ 1] Chelsea Taylor (" Taylor" ) appeals her conviction for Neglect of a Dependent,

Page 305

as a Class A felony.[1] Taylor presents three issues for review, one of which is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Concluding that the State did not present sufficient evidence of probative value, we reverse.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶ 2] On January 17, 2012, at around 4:30 p.m., Taylor reported to work a shift at an Indianapolis restaurant. Taylor's live-in boyfriend, Ryan Worline (" Worline" ), was left home in charge of Taylor's one-year-old son, J.N., and Worline's toddler, A.W. Over the course of several hours, neighbors in the apartment building heard repetitive thumping noises, suggestive of something being dropped to the floor. Neighbor Emily Jackson went upstairs to investigate but no one responded to her knocking. The noises had ceased by the time she went to bed around 10:00 or 10:30 p.m.

[¶ 3] Taylor arrived home from work around 10:00 p.m. Reportedly, she found A.W. asleep in bed with Worline, then moved A.W. to her own bed and checked on J.N. Taylor went to sleep on the sofa.[2] When she awakened the next morning, she moved to the bedroom without checking on the children. Sometime during the morning, Taylor and Worline awoke and spoke briefly with a family member who had stopped at the apartment to retrieve something.

[¶ 4] Around noon, A.W. made sounds prompting Taylor to enter the children's bedroom. She found J.N. unresponsive. At approximately 12:06 p.m., a 9-1-1 dispatcher received a call reporting that J.N. was unresponsive. Emergency responders entered the apartment but did not attempt resuscitation efforts because they quickly concluded that J.N. was dead. A medical examination would later reveal that J.N. had died as a result of a skull fracture, and that he had likely died around midnight.

[¶ 5] The State charged Worline with Murder; both Worline and Taylor were charged with Neglect of a Dependent. The State further alleged that the neglect offense was elevated to a Class A felony because it " result[ed] in death." I.C. § ...


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