United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
JEFFREY S. HEIRONIMUS, Petitioner,
RICHARD BROWN, Warden, Respondent.
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
Jeffrey S. Heironimus is serving an 18-month sentence for a
state conviction and a separate 18-year sentence for his
2012 Vanderburgh County, Indiana, conviction for robbery and
his adjudication as a habitual offender. The sentences are
consecutive. He brings this petition for a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons
that follow, Mr. Heironimus' petition for a writ of
habeas corpus is denied and the action
dismissed with prejudice.
In addition, the Court finds that a certificate of
appealability should not issue.
Factual and Procedural Background
court review of a habeas petition presumes all factual
findings of the state court to be correct, absent clear and
convincing evidence to the contrary. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(e)(1); Daniels v. Knight, 476 F.3d 426,
434 (7th Cir. 2007). On direct appeal, the Indiana Court of
Appeals summarized the relevant facts and procedural history:
On May 26, 2011, Heironimus robbed the First Federal Savings
Bank in Evansville wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt
and carrying a backpack. Heironimus insinuated that he had a
gun by placing his hand in his backpack and took over $3900
in cash, which included $200 in recorded bait money. The
bank's alarm service immediately notified police.
Witnesses Bradford Talley and James Hendrix saw a man with a
dark hooded sweatshirt and a backpack leave the bank, walk
quickly to an alley behind the bank, and get into a red
pickup truck that had quickly pulled into the alley. The
truck was described as a red Ford F-250 extended cab truck
with damage on both sides. Tr. p. 56.
Fourteen minutes after receiving the alert from the bank,
Evansville Police Department Sergeant Brian Hildebrandt saw a
truck matching the given description parked across the street
from 1000 North Third Avenue, which was one mile from the
bank. The truck's headlights were on, the keys were in
the ignition, and the exhaust pipe was still warm. Sergeant
Hildebrandt called for a canine unit, and a police dog
arrived that was certified and trained to detect ground
disturbances and human odor. The dog sniffed the outside of
the truck and followed the scent to the back door of 1000
North Third Avenue. Despite the officer's attempt to get
the dog to move on, the dog returned to the back door of the
house and would not leave. The officer and the dog stayed at
the back door to ensure that no one could leave that way.
More officers arrived at the scene, and based on their belief
that the robbery suspects were in the house and might be
armed, they decided to secure and clear the house. Officers
knocked on the front door and were let inside by a resident
of the home, Billy Hack. The officers cleared the house,
bringing the approximately seven occupants outside, but did
not otherwise search the house. Heironimus and Vincent
Driskell, the man who drove the truck away from the robbery,
were two of the occupants brought outside. They were
handcuffed and detained for show-up identifications.
Sergeant Hildebrandt brought Talley and Hendrix to the scene,
and Talley identified Heironimus as the passenger of the red
truck. Both Talley and Hendrix identified Driskell as the
driver. The bank teller was also brought to the scene and saw
that Heironimus matched the physical description of the
robber; she later saw Heironimus's photograph on
television and definitively recognized him as the robber.
Officers later obtained a search warrant for the house and
found $1500 in cash in a room upstairs. The bait money was
also surrendered to the police by Driskell's wife,
Melissa Hall, the day after the robbery. Additionally, police
searched the red truck, finding the registration indicating
it belonged to Driskell. An officer with previous knowledge
of the truck also confirmed that the truck was
The State charged Heironimus with Class C felony robbery with
a habitual offender enhancement. Heironimus filed a motion to
suppress the identification evidence, arguing that the
identifications were the fruits of an illegal entry by police
into the home. The trial court conducted a hearing, and the
State argued that the house was not Heironimus's
residence. The trial court denied the motion to suppress. A
jury trial was held, and Heironimus was found guilty.
Heironimus was sentenced to eight years at the Department of
Correction, with an additional ten years for the
habitual-offender enhancement, for a total executed sentence
of eighteen years.
Heironimus v. State, 2012 WL 5378139, *1-2
(Ind.Ct.App. Nov. 1, 2012) (“Heironimus
I”); see also dkt. 10-7 at 2-4.
Heironimus appealed, arguing that the trial court erred by
admitting the witness identifications of Talley and Hendrix
that were the product of a warrantless, unconstitutional
entry into what he characterized as his residence.
See dkt. 10-5; Heironimus I at *2. The
Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction.
Id. at *3. Mr. Heironimus did not file a
petition for transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court.
See Dkt. 10-3.
23, 2013, Mr. Heironimus filed a pro se petition for
post-conviction relief. Mr. Heironimus later filed an amended
petition, arguing that he received ineffective assistance
when trial counsel failed to move for a directed verdict due
to an alleged lack of evidence that he had threatened the use
of force and when his appellate counsel failed to challenge
the sufficiency of the evidence. On February 8, 2016, the
post-conviction court entered its order denying relief. Mr.
Heironimus appealed, raising the same grounds. On October 17,
2016, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the state
post-conviction court's denial of relief. Heironimus
v. State, 2016 WL 6070339 (Ind.Ct.App. ...