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House v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

September 30, 2016

Ricky R. House, Jr., Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from the Posey Circuit Court The Honorable James M. Redwine, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 65C01-1409-F1-329

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT James H. Voyles Jennifer M. Lukemeyer Voyles Zahn & Paul Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General of Indiana Ellen H. Meilaender Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Barnes, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] Ricky House appeals his convictions for three counts of Level 1 felony rape, two counts of Level 5 felony criminal confinement, and one count each of Level 5 felony kidnapping, Class A misdemeanor battery resulting in bodily injury, and Class A misdemeanor pointing a firearm. We affirm.

         Issue

         [¶2] House raises one issue, which we restate as whether the trial court properly excluded evidence of the victim's prior drug usage.

         Facts

         [¶3] House and his girlfriend, Kendra Tooley, lived in a trailer in Stewartsville that did not have running water. House told Tooley that he had a fantasy about abducting a woman and raping her.

         [¶4] On July 9, 2014, J.L. was living in a shelter in southern Indiana. She was walking back to the shelter in the early evening when House stopped to talk to her. J.L. knew House and Tooley because she had previously worked with Tooley. House asked if J.L. wanted to go with him to see Tooley, and House agreed to bring J.L. back to the shelter before her midnight curfew. J.L. went to House's trailer where she smoked marijuana with House and Tooley and drank alcohol.

         [¶5] As J.L. was getting ready to leave so that House could return her to the shelter, House "came at" her and placed a rag soaked with chloroform on her face. Tr. p. 286. J.L. lost consciousness and, when she woke up, she was naked, blindfolded, had zip ties on her wrists and ankles, and was tied "spread eagle" on a bed. Id. at 287. House repeatedly sexually assaulted J.L. over the next fifty-eight days. Sometimes Tooley would hold J.L.'s head and force her to give House oral sex. House and Tooley made J.L. wear a belt, dog collar, and leash. About halfway through the fifty-eight days, House constructed a wooden cage in the trailer. House and Tooley would place J.L. in the cage and lock the door with a padlock. If J.L. did exactly what was asked of her, she would be allowed to sit on the couch and watch TV. Either House or Tooley was with J.L. at all times. When J.L. screamed and struggled, House told her "to shut up or he would shoot [her], kill [her]." Id. at 289. House and Tooley repeatedly threatened to shoot or "sell" J.L. Id. at 291. House burned J.L.'s purse and other possessions. According to J.L., House and Tooley regularly consumed marijuana and methamphetamine during this time period.

         [¶6] On September 4, 2014, Ronald Higgs came to the trailer to visit Tooley, who was his ex-wife. Tooley was having back pain and had asked Higgs to bring her painkillers. When Higgs arrived, Tooley told him that they were keeping a woman in a cage in the next room. House gave J.L. a t-shirt to wear and brought her out of the cage. Higgs did not recognize J.L., who "looked like a whipped dog, " was wearing a dog collar, had a rope hanging down her back, was disheveled, and "had a slight odor to her." Id. at 398. Tooley told J.L., "The rules don't change because [Higgs] is here." Id. at 439. Eventually, J.L. was able to tell Higgs that she "didn't want to be there" and that "they wouldn't let [her] leave." Id. at 320. On September 6, 2014, Higgs was leaving and gave House and Tooley $100 and said that he was taking J.L. with him. House and Tooley refused to let J.L. leave with Higgs and said, "She is not going nowhere." Id. at 421. Higgs and House got into a physical altercation, while Tooley grabbed the dog collar and tried dragging J.L. back to the cage. House retrieved a gun, which he pointed at Higgs. Higgs ultimately convinced House that J.L. was leaving with him. Higgs took J.L. to his apartment in Evansville where she showered, ate, and called her mother. J.L.'s mother contacted the police, who had been looking for J.L.

         [¶7] The State charged House with sixteen counts: (1) Level 1 felony rape; (2) Level 1 felony rape; (3) Level 1 felony rape; (4) Level 1 felony rape; (5) Level 1 felony rape; (6) Level 1 felony rape; (7) Level 1 felony conspiracy to commit rape; (8) Level 3 felony criminal confinement; (9) Level 5 felony criminal confinement; (10) Level 3 felony criminal confinement; (11) Level 5 felony criminal confinement; (12) Level 3 felony kidnapping; (13) Level 5 felony kidnapping; (14) Level 3 felony ...


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