from the Vigo Superior Court 1, No. 84D01-1504-F3-863 The
Honorable John T. Roach, Judge
Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Cara Schaefer Wieneke Wieneke Law
Office, LLC Brooklyn, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Andrew A. Kobe Michael Gene Worden Deputy
Attorneys General Indianapolis, Indiana
cherish stories about changes of heart and abandoned criminal
endeavors. Take Dr. Seuss's beloved children's tale
about the Grinch, whose softened heart and renounced endeavor
to steal Christmas ended the story with joyful celebration.
This case, too, involves an individual going from house to
house overnight, stealing property from sleeping
inhabitants-as well as opportunities to abandon criminal
efforts and escape liability.
this story's ending gives no reason to celebrate.
the defendant's night of criminality, which included a
plot to rob a gas station, earned him a host of criminal
charges. He contested two of them by claiming that he had
abandoned his attempt and conspiracy to rob the station. But
a jury disagreed. We hold that although abandonment is an
available defense for both attempt and conspiracy charges,
the evidence is sufficient to support the jury's
verdicts. We therefore affirm the convictions.
and Procedural History
night in Terre Haute, Destin Jones went to several houses and
stole various items from the sleeping residents. At about
2:00 a.m., Jones and his accomplice, Stoney Johnson, decided
to rob a Speedway gas station. With dark hoods over their
heads, masked faces, and what appeared to be guns in their
hands, they walked toward the station from its rear.
unlike the tranquil homes, the station was bustling with a
stream of customers. Jones and Johnson lurked for a while on
one side of the building, crouched behind a pair of large
outdoor freezers. A few times they advanced toward the front
entrance before again ducking out of view. Eventually they
unmasked their faces, removed their hooded sweatshirts, and
entered the store with empty hands-and with a different crime
in mind. While customers preoccupied the store's cashier,
Jones burglarized the back office and rummaged through the
manager's safe. Jones and Johnson then left, retrieving
their discarded attire from behind the freezers.
caught up with Jones and Johnson the next week at an
apartment. There, police found clothes worn at the gas
station, property stolen from the victimized homes, and
several firearms. The State charged Jones with twenty-one
charges of attempted robbery of and conspiracy to rob the
Speedway, Jones asserted an abandonment defense. Since some
evidence supported Jones's assertion, the trial court
properly instructed the jury on the defense. Ultimately, the
jury returned guilty verdicts on nine offenses: six thefts,
burglary of the Speedway back office, and attempted robbery
of and conspiracy to rob the Speedway. The trial court merged
the attempt and conspiracy convictions and sentenced Jones to
an aggregate seventeen-year term-including twelve years for
the merged attempt and conspiracy.
appealed, challenging only the attempt and conspiracy
convictions. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conspiracy
conviction, reasoning that the abandonment defense was
unavailable for Jones's conspiracy charge. Jones v.
State, 75 N.E.3d 1095, 1098-99 (Ind.Ct.App. 2017). But
it vacated the attempt conviction, concluding that the State
did not disprove the abandonment defense beyond a reasonable
doubt. Id. at 1099-1100.
grant Jones's petition to transfer, vacating the Court of