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Anderson v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

June 30, 2015

Lawrence J. Anderson, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

Appeal from the Tippecanoe Superior Court No. 2. The Honorable Thomas H. Busch, Judge. Case No. 79D02-1402-FA-09.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: Timothy P. Broden, Lafayette, Indiana.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Christina D. Pace, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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


Vaidik, Chief Judge.

Case Summary

[¶1] The Indiana Supreme Court has held that walking through an open door does not satisfy the " breaking" element of burglary--but opening an unlocked door does. In this case, the defendant " rushed" a victim to gain unauthorized entry into a dwelling when the door was voluntarily opened for another person whom the victim was expecting. We find that " rushing" someone to gain unauthorized entry is sufficient evidence of force used. Thus, we affirm the defendant's conviction for Class A felony burglary.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2] Alexis Daniels owed her neighbor Cortez Collins $1000.00 for drugs she had purchased from him. Collins asked Alexis if she knew anyone who sold drugs in the Lafayette area so that he could obtain the money she owed him. Alexis informed Collins that Timothy Mounts sold spice. Collins told Alexis to go to Mounts' apartment to buy spice and see if he kept any guns there. When Alexis returned from buying the spice, Collins had her draw a floorplan of Mounts' apartment. Collins later returned to Alexis's apartment and told Alexis that they were going to rob Mounts. The plan was for Lawrence Anderson, Alexis, Collins, and Jaaz Jones to go to Mounts' apartment, wait for him to open the door for Alexis, and then enter the apartment to rob him. At Collins' request, Alexis initiated another buy from Mounts for a larger quantity of spice.

[¶3] After Alexis texted Mounts that she was on her way, Mounts briefly left the apartment to get food for his pregnant

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girlfriend--Jessica Wise--who lived with him. As Alexis approached the door of Mounts' apartment, Anderson and the two other men hid around the corner of the apartment; all were dressed in black and two had their faces covered with pantyhose while the third one had a sock hat over his head. When Alexis knocked on the door, Jessica answered. Because Jessica expected Alexis, she opened the door, turned, and started walking toward the couch. As Alexis " stepped inside [the apartment] and to the side . . . [the men] bombarded themselves inside." Tr. Vol. 1 p. 67. Alexis " got shoved" as the men made their way into the apartment, and Jessica was " rushed." Id. at 21-22, 78. Jessica was pushed on the couch by one of the men--later identified as Anderson--who began to choke and hit her. Id. at 22-23, 78. When Jessica asked Anderson to stop hitting her because she was pregnant, he responded " Bit** I don't give a fu** what you are." Id. at 24. After Anderson stopped hitting her, he dragged her off the couch by her hair through the living room to the safes in the bedroom where he hit her in the back of the head repeatedly with a gun as she tried to open one of the safes. Id. at 30. The men eventually left with one safe and a PlayStation 3.

[¶4] The State charged Anderson with seven counts in connection with this incident: Count I: Class A felony conspiracy to commit burglary, Count II: Class A felony burglary, Count III: Class B felony conspiracy to commit robbery while armed with a deadly weapon, Count IV: Class B felony robbery, Count V: Class D felony theft, Count VI: Class C felony battery, and Count VII: Class C felony battery. A jury found Anderson guilty on all counts. The trial court entered judgment of conviction for Counts II, IV, and VII only and merged the other counts due to double-jeopardy concerns. Tr. Vol. 2 p. 17; Appellant's App. p. 15.

[¶5] Before sentencing, Anderson filed a motion to correct errors contending that there was insufficient evidence to support his Class A felony burglary conviction. Appellant's App. p. 37. Specifically, Anderson argued there was no evidence " of a movement of a structural impediment that could be considered 'breaking.'" Id. The court denied Anderson's motion, finding " that entering the apartment without permission and by force, as occurred here, is sufficient to constitute a breaking, whether or not the door was moved in doing so." Id. at 29-30. The court reasoned that " the doorway itself was a structural impediment designed to prohibit unauthorized entry, the door was opened by subterfuge, and by forcibly crossing the threshold the defendant satisfied the requirement of breaking." Id. at 30. Following the sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Anderson to thirty years for Count II: Class A felony burglary, twenty years for ...

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