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Williams v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

October 13, 2017

Anthony T. Williams, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from the Lake Superior Court The Honorable Salvador Vasquez, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 45G01-1312-MR-12

          Attorney for Appellant Thomas W.Vanes Crown Point

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Michael Gene Worden Deputy Attorney General

          Barnes, Judge.

         Case Summary

          [¶1] Anthony Williams appeals his convictions for murder, Class A felony attempted murder, and Class B felony carjacking. We affirm.

          Issue

          [¶2] The sole issue is whether the trial court properly denied Williams's motion for change of judge.

         Facts

          [¶3] Early in the morning of December 2, 2013, Williams shot and killed his friend, Damian Reedus, in a van belonging to Aja Jester that Reedus was borrowing. Williams also shot Jester in the neck, but not fatally. Williams then pulled Jester out of the van, straddled her, pointed the gun at her face, and told her she had to die because she had seen his face. Although Williams pulled the trigger twice, the gun failed to fire. Jester then managed to run away, and Williams drove away in the van. Jester underwent surgery on her neck. She still suffers pain and psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder, from the shooting.

         [¶4] On December 5, 2013, the State charged Williams with multiple counts, including murder, Class A felony attempted murder, and Class B felony carjacking. On February 27, 2015, the State and Williams reached a plea agreement that Williams would plead guilty to murder and Class A felony attempted murder. The agreement expressly provided for a sentence of fifty-five years for murder and thirty years for attempted murder, with the sentences to be served concurrently. The trial court took the plea under advisement and ordered preparation of a presentence report.

         [¶5] On April 1, 2015, the trial court held a sentencing hearing. Before accepting the plea, the trial court heard victim impact testimony from Jester. Jester expressed displeasure with the plea agreement, stating that she did not believe a term of fifty-five years was long enough for Williams. At the conclusion of Jester's testimony, the trial court stated:

I'm not comfortable giving Mr. Williams the pass on shooting you. Because, as I see it, that's exactly what's taking place here. I would not reject the plea on the 55 years for the charge of murder, but I'm not comfortable on the 30 years concurrent term, because that gives Mr. Williams essentially a pass for shooting you. If you are also not comfortable with the plea, the plea is rejected and this matter goes to trial.

App. Vol. IV p. 205. After defense counsel made a record objecting to rejection of the plea, the trial ...


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