Justice K. Kiama, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff
to Ind. Appellate Rule 65(D), this Memorandum Decision shall
not be regarded as precedent or cited before any court except
for the purpose of establishing the defense of res judicata,
collateral estoppel, or the law of the case.
from the St. Joseph Superior Court The Honorable Jenny Pitts
Manier, Judge The Honorable Julie Verheye, Magistrate Trial
Court Cause No. 71D04-1604-CM-1881
Attorney for Appellant Amy D. Griner
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr., Matthew B.
Makenzie Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana
[¶1] Appellant-Defendant Justice Kiama
was shopping at a JC Penney store in Mishawaka on April 16,
2016. At some point, Kiama was asked to leave the store
because he was swearing loudly in front of other customers.
As he was leaving the store, Kiama continued to swear at the
store employee who had requested that he leave the store,
raised his shirt, and indicated that he was armed with a
firearm. The store employee observed what appeared to be a
handgun tucked in Kiama's waistband.
Kiama was subsequently charged with Class A misdemeanor
intimidation. He was found guilty as charged following a
bench trial. The trial court subsequently sentenced Kiama to
thirty days with twenty-six days suspended. The trial court
also placed Kiama on probation for 180 days.
On appeal, Kiama challenges the sufficiency of the evidence
to sustain his intimidation conviction. Concluding that the
evidence is sufficient to sustain the challenged conviction,
and Procedural History
[¶4] Kiama was shopping at a JC Penney
store in Mishawaka on April 16, 2016, when he became
concerned that his vehicle might have been
stolen. Kiama became visibly upset and began
swearing loudly. Tony Slagle, a loss-prevention detective
employed by JC Penney approached Kiama, attempted "to
calm him down, " and offered to help him by notifying
mall security of the possible auto theft. Tr. p. 6. Slagle
also informed Kiama that he could not swear while he remained
inside the store. Kiama then "got very agitated"
and started swearing at Slagle. Tr. p. 6. Slagle asked Kiama
to leave the store.
Slagle escorted Kiama out of the store. Once outside in the
parking lot, Kiama turned back towards Slagle, screamed
"I have a firearm" and "pulled up his
shirt." Tr. p. 7. At this time, Slagle "saw what
appeared to be a handgun in [Kiama's] waistband."
Tr. p. 7. Slagle, who had been on the phone with mall
security, immediately called 911. From a safe distance,
Slagle observed Kiama wander around the parking lot until law
On April 18, 2016, Appellee-Plaintiff the State of Indiana
("the State") charged Kiama with Class A
misdemeanor intimidation. The case proceeded to a bench trial
on September 29, 2016. During trial, both Slagle and Kiama
testified about their encounter. At the conclusion of trial,
the trial court noted that the parties presented "two
very different versions of the encounter that occurred at
[the] JC Penney" store. Tr. p. 31. The trial court then
proceeded to find Kiama guilty of the charged offense. In
finding Kiama guilty of the charged offense, the trial court
explicitly stated that it believed Slagle's testimony
relating to his and Kiama's encounter. The trial court
subsequently sentenced Kiama to thirty days with twenty-six