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Stephenson v. State

Supreme Court of Indiana

April 23, 2015

CHARLES STEPHENSON, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee (Plaintiff)

Page 112

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 113

Appeal from the Dearborn Circuit Court, No. 15C01-1205-MR-1. The Honorable James Humphrey, Judge.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: Leanna K. Weissmann, Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Brian L. Reitz, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana; Lynn M. Deddens, Deputy Prosecutor, Dearborn County Prosecutor's Office.

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

OPINION

Page 114

Dickson, Justice.

Convicted following a jury trial for the April 2012 robbery and murder of 67-year-old Leigh Jennings in Aurora, Indiana, the defendant, Charles R. Stephenson, brings this direct appeal to challenge his convictions and resulting sentence of life imprisonment without parole. For the reasons expressed below, we affirm both the convictions and sentence.

Because the defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, this Court has mandatory and exclusive jurisdiction over this appeal. Ind. Appellate Rule 4(A)(1)(a). The defendant asserts the following appellate claims: (1) insufficient evidence of robbery; (2) insufficient evidence to support the sentence of life imprisonment without parole; (3) erroneous admission of suicide attempt evidence; (4) erroneous admission of evidence regarding the defendant's appearance after the victim's apparent death; and (5) sentence inappropriateness.[1]

1. Sufficiency of Evidence of Robbery

The defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the robbery conviction. He argues that such conviction required proof that the physical violence perpetrated on Leigh Jennings was part of a plan to take her property and not just part of the murder.

In reviewing a claim of insufficient evidence, an appellate court will affirm if, considering only the probative evidence most favorable to the verdict and any reasonable resulting inferences and without reweighing the evidence or judging witness credibility, it finds that a reasonable finder of fact could find each element of the crime proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Baker v. State, 968 N.E.2d 227, 229 (Ind. 2012); Grace v. State, 731 N.E.2d 442, 445 (Ind. 2000).

The defendant was convicted of Robbery as a Class A Felony. This offense is defined as follows:

A person who knowingly or intentionally takes property from another person or from the presence of another person:
(1) by using or threatening the use of force on any person; or

Page 115

(2) by putting any person in fear;
commits robbery, a Class C felony. However, the offense is a . . . Class A felony if it results in serious bodily injury to ...

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