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King v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

October 13, 2016

Thomas King, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from Marion Superior Court. The Honorable Kurt M. Eisgruber, Judge. Cause No. 49G01-1506-MR-21083

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Kimberly A. Jackson Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General of Indiana Chandra K. Hein Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Barteau, Senior Judge

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] Thomas King appeals his convictions of murder, a felony, [1] and possessing a handgun without a license, a Class A misdemeanor.[2] We affirm.

         Issues

         [¶2] King raises four issues, which we restate as:

I. Whether the trial court violated King's right to a speedy trial.
II. Whether the trial court abused its discretion in the course of admitting evidence.
III. Whether the State submitted sufficient evidence to rebut King's claim of self-defense.
IV. Whether the sentencing order contains errors in need of correction on remand.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] Thomas King and Michael Mason were acquaintances and had socialized in the past. Mason's brother and King lived in the same apartment complex in Marion County. Mason had a back condition and carried prescription pain medication with him. He usually lived with his mother, but on June 12, 2015, he went to stay at his brother's apartment. On the afternoon of June 13, 2015, King, Mason, and Mason's brother were seen together at King's apartment.

         [¶4] Luis Corrales and his family lived in an apartment across the hall from King's apartment. Corrales knew King and considered him a friend. Earlier in the day on June 13, 2015, King had knocked on the door to Corrales' apartment several times and demanded money and pills. He repeatedly said people in Corrales' apartment owed him sixty dollars. King's speech was slurred and his eyes "were barely open." Tr. p. 107. Corrales felt threatened. Corrales' fiancée, Donna Greggs, perceived King to be drunk and had seen him consume a pill, Klonopin, earlier that day. To her, King appeared "angry and aggressive." Id. at 138.

         [¶5] Later that day, Mason and his brother left the apartment complex to drink alcohol with friends, and then they returned. Mason was drunk. He went to King's apartment while his brother went to his own apartment to call their mother and to see his girlfriend. After finishing the call, Mason's brother walked toward the building where King lived. As he opened the door to the building, Mason's brother heard a gunshot, followed by a thud, coming from King's apartment. He ran back to his girlfriend, and they called his mother and the police.

         [¶6] Meanwhile, Corrales was resting in his apartment when he heard a gunshot. Next, he heard a knock at his front door. Corrales opened the door and saw King standing there with a handgun tucked into his pants. Corrales recognized the gun, having fired it before. King told Corrales that he had "just shot a man and he wanted us to say it was self defense and - and to hide the gun for him." Id. at 96. King elaborated that he wanted Corrales to say "the guy tried to rob him." Id. Corrales did not see any signs of injury on King, and King's clothes were not disheveled.

         [¶7] Greggs and Dorothy Wininger were also at the door, standing behind Corrales. Greggs heard King say he had just shot someone in the head and wanted Corrales to hold his gun. Wininger saw the gun and also heard King ask Corrales to hold it for him. King seemed calm to Greggs and Wininger. Wininger told Corrales not to take the gun, so he closed the door. Corrales, Greggs, and Wininger heard King leave the apartment building.

         [¶8] After King left, Corrales went into the apartment across the hall. There were no signs of a struggle. He saw what was later identified as Mason's corpse, checked for a pulse and, finding none, went back to his apartment. As he stood on his apartment's balcony, Corrales saw King returning to the building from across the street. King did not have the gun and was on the phone, talking with a 911 dispatcher. To Corrales, King appeared "calm and collected." Id. at 102.

         [¶9] Meanwhile, Officer David Miedema of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (the IMPD) and several other officers were dispatched to the apartment building to investigate a reported shooting. Miedema encountered King, who was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher but hung up when he saw Miedema. King appeared "very calm, easy to understand." Id. at 155. Miedema did not see any signs of injury on King, and King's clothes were not disheveled. King stated that two men had tried to rob him, so he shot one of them and the other ran off. He led the officer to his apartment and gestured inside, where Miedema saw Mason's corpse on the floor. King did not ...


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