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E.B. v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 19, 2017

E.B., Appellant-Respondent,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Petitioner .

         Appeal from the Lawrence Circuit Court. Trial Court Cause Nos. 47C01-1702-JD-99 47C01-1702-JD-86 The Honorable Andrea K. McCord, Judge., The Honorable John M. Plummer, III, Referee. Judge.

          Attorney for Appellant Debra S. Andry Lawrence County Public Defender Agency Bedford, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Chandra K. Hein Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Barteau, Senior Judge

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] A juvenile court determined E.B. is a delinquent child for committing acts that, if committed by an adult, would have constituted two counts of intimidation, both Level 6 felonies.[1] E.B. appeals the court's determination. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

         Issue

         [¶2] E.B. raises one issue, which we restate as: whether there is sufficient evidence to sustain the juvenile court's adjudication of delinquency.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] E.B. attended high school in Lawrence County. In January 2017, Assistant Principal Todd Tanksley disciplined E.B. for misconduct in the school cafeteria. Tanksley called E.B.'s father to make him aware of the situation.

         [¶4] In mid-February 2017, E.B. sent a text message to a fellow student, J.G. E.B. advised J.G. to wear red on the following Tuesday, explaining that he intended to shoot "anybody who wasn't wearing red." Tr. Vol. 2, p. 16. E.B. later sent a text message to J.B., another fellow student. E.B. told J.B. that next Tuesday, he should "wear red and get under the desk" when he heard music. Id. at 24. E.B. further told J.B. to tell "the ones that [he] care[s] about." Id. at 25. J.B. shared E.B.'s instructions with several of his fellow students via text messages.

         [¶5] Later that same evening, E.B.'s sister, Em.B., was walking by E.B.'s room when she heard him talking on the phone with an unknown person. E.B. said he was going to bring a gun to school and shoot Tanksley because "he didn't like him." Id. at 53.

         [¶6] The next morning, on February 15, 2017, J.B. approached three students in the school cafeteria. He told them to wear red next Tuesday and get under their desks when they heard heavy metal music over the public-address system. He further told them the instructions came from E.B. and directed them to spread the word to other students.

         [¶7] One of the students J.B. spoke with went to Tanksley's office later that morning, at 8:30 a.m., and told him what J.B. had said. The student did not know J.B.'s name, so Tanksley consulted security video recordings of the cafeteria and identified J.B. He spoke with J.B. and confirmed that J.B. had told other students to wear red next Tuesday and get under their desks when they heard certain music over the public-address system. Next, Tanksley spoke with Em.B., who was also a student at the school. She informed Tanksley of E.B.'s statement that E.B. intended to bring a gun to school and shoot him. E.B. was not at school that day.

         [¶8] Tanksley called the police, and two detectives were dispatched to the school. Tanksley contacted E.B.'s father and asked him to come to the school. Upon arriving, E.B.'s father spoke with Tanksley and the detectives. The detectives asked E.B.'s father for permission to search E.B.'s bedroom, and he signed a written form granting consent to search.

         [¶9] The detectives followed E.B.'s father to his house and searched E.B.'s bedroom pursuant to the signed consent form. E.B. was in the house. The detectives found a handwritten document entitled "Checklist for Project . . . School Shooting." Tr. Vol. 3, State's Ex. 8. The document listed items he intended to take with him to school, including a rifle, a handgun, and a knife, as well as ammunition, a holster, and a radio. E.B. further listed "areas of completion or major targets, " including "Tanksly [sic], " the cafeteria, and "anyone I can." Id. Finally, the document listed people not to be shot, including "anyone the [sic] wears red" and J.G. Id. The officers also found the following items in E.B.'s bedroom: several shotgun shells and bullets, a holster, and a tactical vest.

         [¶10] After the search, the detectives arrested E.B. and took him to the Sheriff's Department. E.B.'s father followed them there. Both E.B. and his father signed a document permitting the officers to question E.B. E.B. conceded during the interview that he wrote the document that the detectives found in his room. He further conceded that he told several people to wear red on Tuesday. E.B. further stated he put Tanksley's name on the list of targets because Tanksley did not like him.

         [¶11] Later that day, school officials notified parents about the situation via a phone message. On an average day, 150 students are absent from school. The day after the school notified parents, 588 students were absent.

         [¶12] On February 21, 2017, the State filed a Verified Petition Alleging Delinquency in Cause Number 47C01-1702-JD-99, in which the State contended as "Specification One" that E.B. committed an act that would have been intimidation, a Level 6 felony if committed by an adult, for his actions involving Tanksley. Appellant's App. Vol. II, p. 9. The State later amended its petition to add "Specification Two, " alleging E.B. committed an act that constituted a second act of intimidation, also a Level 6 felony, for interfering with the occupancy of the school. Id. at 38. The juvenile court held a fact-finding hearing and determined E.B. had ...


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