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Gilman v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 28, 2016

James Gilman, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from the Marion Superior Court Cause No. 49G03-1505-F5-017073 The Honorable Stanley E. Kroh, Magistrate.

          Attorney for Appellant Karen S. Celestino-Horseman Indianapolis, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General of Indiana Lyubov Gore Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Darden, Senior Judge

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] A jury found James Gilman guilty of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, a Level 5 felony.[1] He appeals the trial court's decision to allow the State to reopen its case after closing argument.

         Issue

         [¶2] Specifically, the sole issue Gilman presents is whether the trial court erred in allowing the State to reopen its case after closing argument to present evidence in rebuttal of Gilman's prior knowledge of an existing warrant for his arrest as being unduly prejudicial and an abuse of discretion.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] Gilman and Melissa were married, but were separated. Despite the separation, Gilman continued to visit Melissa where she resided. Robin Kemp was the mother of Gilman's children.

         [¶4] On April 21, 2015, at around 10:15 p.m., Robin drove to the house where Melissa resided and Gilman was visiting. Melissa approached Robin's Chevrolet Equinox. Robin, who remained in the car, was yelling and claimed that she was on her cell phone with the police. She was angry about a dispute that had arisen between her and Gilman about who owned a Chevrolet Impala that was registered in Robin's name but was in Gilman's possession. Melissa went back inside the house and spoke to Gilman.

         [¶5] Shortly thereafter, Gilman left the house, entered the Impala, and attempted to drive away. Robin then drove her vehicle into the Impala, knocking it into the neighbor's yard. After the collision, the two vehicles then "took off" down the street. Tr. p. 153.

         [¶6] Both Gilman and Robin were driving at unsafe, high speeds, and their cars bumped several times. While driving side by side, at approximately 87 miles per hour, the cars collided. The collision was so forceful that it lifted the Equinox's tires off the pavement and caused it to run off the road, slide onto soft ground, and strike a tree. As a result of the impact, Robin sustained multiple blunt force traumatic injuries, including one to her head which killed her instantly. The accident occurred around 10:30 p.m.

         [¶7] The impact caused Gilman's vehicle to spin out of control. His Impala came to rest approximately 129 feet from Robin's. The Impala was facing the Equinox and had one functioning headlight, which made Robin's vehicle visible to Gilman. Neighbors tried to assist Robin before emergency response arrived. However, Gilman exited the Impala and fled the scene of the accident without rendering assistance to Robin and before the police or emergency services arrived. Gilman did not report the accident to the police. ...


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