United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
KENNETH LEE ZAMARRON, WABASH VALLEY - CF WABASH VALLEY
CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - Inmate Mail/Parcels, Chandra Hein
INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
JANE MAGNTTS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE.
Kenneth L. Zamarron is serving a 97-year sentence for his
2009 Lake County, Indiana, convictions for murder, robbery,
burglary, cruelty to animal, attempted carjacking, and
attempted criminal confinement. He brings this petition for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For
the reasons that follow, Mr. Zamarron's 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:
Gregory Grudzien (“Grudzien”) and Marianna
Bobella (“Bobella”) were co-owners of a Hammond,
Indiana business. Customarily, while Bobella worked the early
evening shift, Grudzien would go to Bobella's house to
gather the mail and let her dog outside. On November 29,
2007, at about 8:30 p.m., Grudzien called Bobella and told
her that her house had been “ransacked.” When
Bobella arrived home approximately fifteen minutes later,
Grudzien was lying dead in the street. He had suffered a
skull fracture and multiple stab wounds. Bobella's dog
was lying dead in a pool of blood underneath the kitchen
The front door windows of Bobella's home had been broken;
numerous items inside the house were broken or overturned. A
Dodge Neon with a flat tire was parking in front of
Bobella's house. Inside it were several items of
Bobella's property. Grudzien's blood was on the
gearshift. The Neon was registered to the step-parent of
Victor Hernandez (“Hernandez”).
Approximately one half hour after Bobella was called home,
Zamarron and Hernandez were seen walking in the middle of the
street one block away from Bobella's residence. As Jack
and Loretta Simmons pulled their vehicle into their driveway,
Zamarron and Hernandez approached the vehicle. Zamarron
pounded on the windshield and yelled. He tried unsuccessfully
to open the driver's side door. Loretta Simmons was able
to drive away.
Approximately five to six blocks from Bobella's home, Ana
and Doris Almaraz were seated in a vehicle at a gas station
when Zamarron and Hernandez approached the vehicle. Zamarron
demanded the key while Hernandez, holding an object that
appeared to be a bloody kitchen knife, ordered Doris to get
out of the vehicle. Ana refused to tender the key, and
Zamarron doused her with gasoline. Doris began screaming, and
the two men ran away.
Police officers responded to reports of these various
encounters. When the officers spotted Zamarron and Hernandez,
they began to run. However, they were apprehended while still
covered in blood later determined to be from Grudzien.
Zamarron's DNA was found inside the Bobella home, and his
fingerprint was found on a bottle of liquor retrieved from
the house. A shoeprint in Grudzien's blood near his body
was made by a Converse athletic shoe; Zamarron was wearing
Converse athletic shoes when he was apprehended.
The State charged Zamarron with ten criminal offenses,
including murder, robbery, attempted carjacking, attempted
criminal confinement, burglary, and cruelty to an animal. At
the conclusion of a jury trial on November 24, 2008, Zamarron
was found guilty as charged.
The trial court entered judgments of conviction on a single
count of murder, robbery (reduced to a Class C felony),
burglary, and cruelty to an animal, and two counts each of
attempted carjacking and attempted criminal confinement. On
January 5, 2009, Zamarron was sentenced to an aggregate term
of imprisonment of ninety-seven years.
Zamarron v. State, 2009 WL 2869933, *2 (Ind.Ct.App.
Sept. 4, 2009) (“Zamarron I”); see
also dkt. 10-5 at 2-3.
Zamarron appealed, challenging the sufficiency of the
evidence to support his convictions for murder, robbery, and
cruelty to an animal. Zamarron I at *1. The Indiana
Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction. Id. at
*3. Mr. Zamarron sought review from the Indiana
Supreme Court, but that court denied transfer on October 29,
2009. Dkt. 10-2 at 3.
October 4, 2010, Mr. Zamarron filed a pro se
petition for post-conviction relief. On December 16, 2015,
after five years of Mr. Zamarron's stalling and failure
to litigate his various post-conviction petitions, the PCR
court dismissed Mr. Zamarron's petition with prejudice
for failure to prosecute. On appeal for post-conviction
relief, the Indiana Court of Appeals summarized the relevant
On October 4, 2010, Zamarron filed a pro se petition for
post-conviction relief and alleged that his trial counsel and
appellate counsel were ineffective. On November 12, 2010, a
public defender filed an appearance on behalf of Zamarron. On
January 10, 2011, the public defender filed a motion to
continue the post-conviction hearing. The next day, the court
granted the motion to continue, rescheduled the hearing for
May 2, 2011, and stated that “[t]his will be the last
continuance of the hearing on the petition for
post-conviction relief barring any extraordinary
circumstances.” Appellant's Appendix at 49.
On March 8, 2011, the public defender withdrew her appearance
and moved for a continuance to allow Zamarron to be prepared
if he wished to proceed pro se. On March 11, 2011, the court
rescheduled the hearing to August 2, 2011, and directed the
clerk to notify Zamarron that he may either hire private
counsel or represent himself at the hearing.
On August 2, 2011, Zamarron orally requested a continuance.
The court granted the motion and rescheduled the hearing to
August 8, 2012. The court's order states that
“[t]his will be the last continuance of the hearing on
the petition for post-conviction relief barring any
extraordinary circumstances.” Id. at 57.
On August 8, 2012, the court held a hearing. At the hearing,
Zamarron stated: “I don't have nothing to
say.” Transcript at 3. After some discussion, Zamarron
stated that the trial court committed a sentencing error and
that he could not knowingly or intentionally commit murder if
he was intoxicated and that he did not have the right mind
set. The court told Zamarron that he would have to set forth
evidence. Zamarron stated that he asked his lawyer about the
Breathalyzer “to bring it up during the trial, and he
didn't, so it's ineffective of [sic] counsel.”
Id. at 8. The court asked Zamarron if he wanted it
to accept the record of proceedings into evidence, and
Zamarron said yes. The court indicated that it would obtain
the record of proceedings from ...