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Thompson v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

May 8, 2015

Jay R. Thompson, Appellant-Petitioner,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Respondent,

Appeal from the Harrison Circuit Court. The Honorable Glenn Hancock, Special Judge. Case No. 81-S-62.

Jay R. Thompson, APPELLANT, Pro se, Carlisle, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Justin F. Roebel, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Bradford, Judge. Vaidik, C.J., and Kirsch, J., concur.


Page 1003

Bradford, Judge.

Case Summary

[¶1] Appellant-Petitioner Jay Thompson was convicted of two counts of murder and conspiracy to commit burglary and sentenced to an aggregate 120-year term. On appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the sentence in 1990. Thompson filed a petition for post-conviction relief (" PCR" ) in 1992. Thompson filed several amendments to his petition in the subsequent twenty years but neglected to prosecute the petition until 2014. Appellee-Respondent the State of Indiana (" the State" ) filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to the doctrine of laches and the PCR court granted the motion. On appeal, Thompson argues tat laches can only be used as a defense to a PCR petition based on delay in filing of the petition and may not be based on delay in prosecuting the petition. We disagree and affirm the decision of the PCR court.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2] The facts surrounding Thompson's underlying offenses and trial were provided by the Indiana Supreme Court in Thompson's direct appeal.

The testimony and evidence at trial showed that Richard Dillon and Defendant Jay R. Thompson planned to burglarize the home of William and Mary Hilborn in Petersburg, Pike County, Indiana, about three days prior to March 8, 1982. On Sunday, March 8, 1982, Dillon and Thompson drove to Petersburg, observed the area of the Hilborn home and passed the church the Hilborns attended. Apparently presuming that the Hilborns were still in church, they parked Thompson's green Pinto automobile some blocks from the Hilborn residence and proceeded there on foot. When they arrived, they found the Hilborns at home so they obtained entry by pretending to be looking for

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one Eddie Beadles. After being admitted to use the phone, they accosted the Hilborns to obtain money that was known to be kept by Hilborns in their home. Dillon possessed a " buck" knife and Thompson a folding pocket knife. During the confrontation and scuffle Dillon stabbed each of the Hilborns with his " buck" knife, injuring them. After stabbing Mr. Hilborn, both Dillon and Thompson forced Mary Hilborn, by holding a knife under her chin, to obtain money for them. Dillon then cut the telephone line and stabbed Mrs. Hilborn. After she fell to the floor, Dillon cut her throat with the " buck" knife. As they were leaving the house, Thompson stopped near the kitchen door and told Dillon they could not leave until they were sure the Hilborns were dead. Thompson then stabbed both Hilborns to ensure they were dead. According to Dr. Pless, the pathologist, the fatal wound to William Hilborn's chest and heart was not made by the " buck" knife but by a knife similar to or the same as the folding knife carried by Thompson. The knife's angle of entry into the chest indicated that the assailant was kneeling on the right side of William Hilborn and the size of the wound and time inflicted indicated defendant Thompson inflicted the wound to the chest and heart of William Hilborn with the folding knife. Dr. Pless further testified the wound in Mrs. Hilborn's back indicated she was lying on her side at the time of the infliction of the back wound which pierced her aorta. The size of the wound in the back indicated the use of a knife smaller than the " buck" knife. The blood on her dress around the back of her shoulders, the back of her neck and on the carpet immediately adjacent to her back and shoulders, indicated she bled from the neck onto the carpet while lying face up. The position of her body indicated she was rolled to her left prior to being stabbed in her back. Dillon at first denied any complicity in these crimes but later testified for the State and implicated Thompson in the two murders. Dillon's testimony was corroborated by police investigation which revealed human blood on Defendant Thompson's jeans and human blood similar to the victim's on one of Defendant's gloves. Thompson was a seventeen (17) year-old juvenile when he committed these crimes, but the juvenile court waived jurisdiction and he was tried as an adult. The jury found Defendant guilty of the murders but did not recommend the death penalty. The trial judge, however, found statutory aggravating circumstances to exist and imposed the death penalty on Defendant Thompson.

Thompson v. State, 492 N.E.2d 264, 267 (Ind. 1986). The Court affirmed Thompson's convictions but vacated the death sentence due to " technical deficiencies." Id. at 278. On remand, Thompson was sentenced to consecutive sixty-year terms for each murder and a concurrent thirty-year sentence for conspiracy to commit burglary resulting in injury, which was affirmed by the Indiana Supreme Court on appeal. Thompson v. State, 552 N.E.2d 472 (Ind. 1990).

[¶3] On August 17, 1992, Thompson filed a PCR petition which raised twelve issues concerning denial of due process. Thompson neglected to prosecute the petition until February 11, 2005 when he requested to proceed pro se by affidavit. On March 8, 2005, the State filed an Answer which raised the defense of laches, arguing that it was prejudiced by Thompson's delay in prosecuting his PCR petition. Thompson filed four separate ...

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