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Williams v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

November 17, 2016

Gabriel G. Williams, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from the St. Joseph Superior Court. The Honorable Jane Woodward Cause No. 71D01-1508-F5-165 Miller, Judge.

          Attorney for Appellant Thomas P. Keller South Bend, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General of Indiana Christina D. Pace Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Sharpnack, Senior Judge

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] After a bifurcated jury trial, the trial court entered judgment of conviction against Gabriel G. Williams on one count of Level 5 felony criminal recklessness, [1] and one count of Level 5 felony carrying a handgun without a license.[2] On appeal, Williams challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction for criminal recklessness. We affirm.

         Issue

         [¶2] The sole issue presented in this appeal is whether the evidence is sufficient to support Williams's conviction for Level 5 felony criminal recklessness.[3]

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] On October 9, 2014, at around 3:00 a.m., Williams and a woman, later identified as Judy VanHouten, were sitting in a vehicle parked in the back yard of a residence at 417 North Walnut Street in South Bend. While seated in the vehicle, Williams fired his Smith and Wesson Bodyguard .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun. The bullet went into and through the vinyl siding on the corner of the house, ricocheted after exiting the first house, then lodged in the vinyl siding of the second story of another residence across the street, located at 426 North Walnut Street.

         [¶4] The South Bend Police Department uses a system called ShotSpotter. ShotSpotter is an acoustic gunshot detection and location system that uses sensors in a specific geographic area to listen for the sound of gunfire. The system detects and records the sound of gunfire, then calculates and locates the place where the gunfire occurred, and then reports that location to law enforcement. South Bend Police Department officers were dispatched to the area of 417 North Walnut Street as a result of a ShotSpotter alert on October 9, 2014. Officers Jonathon Gray and Andrew Witt responded to the alert, and upon arrival walked to the back of the 417 North Walnut Street residence. There they observed a white Chevrolet Camaro sitting less than ten feet from the back of the residence.

         [¶5] Officer Witt shined his flashlight at the Camaro. Both officers observed two individuals in the Camaro; a male driver, later identified as Williams, and a female passenger, VanHouten. Shortly after Officer Witt shined his flashlight into the car, Williams jumped out of the vehicle and refused to obey commands to stop and show his hands. Instead, Williams started backing toward the rear of the vehicle. Williams was detained for his failure to follow the officers' commands.

         [¶6] After Officer Gray explained to Williams that he and Officer Witt had been dispatched to the scene on a report of shots fired, Williams told the officers that there was a gun located under the driver's seat of the vehicle. Officer Witt found the gun, the butt of which protruded from under the seat. The gun was loaded with one round in the firing chamber. The gun was secured by the officers. In addition to the gun, marijuana was found in a clear plastic bag in the center console of the car.

         [¶7] After he was advised of his Miranda rights, Williams first told officers that he, VanHouten, and a male Williams claimed to know only as "T, " had been inside his car, drinking and smoking marijuana. He claimed that they saw a raccoon on a trash can and that "T" used the gun he had in his possession to fire at the raccoon in order to ...


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