from the St. Joseph Superior Court Trial Court Cause No.
71D08-1604-PC-46 The Honorable Elizabeth C. Hurley, Judge
Attorney for Appellant Marielena Duerring South Bend, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Monika Prekopa Talbot Supervising Deputy Attorney
General Indianapolis, Indiana
Barteau, Senior Judge
of the Case
Steven Bethel appeals the denial of his successive petition
for post-conviction relief. We affirm.
Bethel raises one issue, which we restate as: whether the
post-conviction court erred in denying his claim of
ineffective assistance of trial counsel.
and Procedural History
The facts of Bethel's case, as stated by the Indiana
Supreme Court, are as follows:
[O]n March 5, 1991, the defendant agreed to assist Curtis
Crenshaw in obtaining money and [ ] they went to the J &
S Dairy Mart in South Bend, Indiana, at approximately 11:20
p.m. Armed with handguns, they approached Robaska and Wrobel,
two store employees, as they were closing the store. The
defendant held a gun to Robaska's head, Crenshaw grabbed
Wrobel, and together they forced the two clerks back into the
store. The defendant and Crenshaw tried unsuccessfully to
obtain cash from the safe. One of the robbers threatened to
shoot Robaska. They also forced Wrobel to empty his pockets,
but he had no cash. The defendant and Crenshaw then took the
two clerks back outside, told them to lie on the ground
behind an ice machine, and began walking away. Robaska and
Wrobel got up and observed the defendant and Crenshaw.
Describing the ensuing events, Wrobel testified:
They were about fifteen feet away, and [Crenshaw] turned
around, and he pointed the gun at us, and I grabbed Patty
[Robaska] and pulled her back down because I knew what comes
out of a gun. And we laid there, and we heard a fire.
There was no testimony as to the length of time that elapsed
between the time Wrobel and Robaska went back down to the
ground and the time the shot was fired. No witnesses
testified as to the position of Crenshaw's weapon or the
direction it was pointed when fired. There was no injury to
either Robaska or Wrobel, nor was there evidence of bullet
damage to the ice machine or surrounding area. No bullet was
Approximately ten minutes later, the defendant and Crenshaw
entered the Burger Dairy store in South Bend and found three
men inside. They robbed the three at gunpoint, taking cash
from the register and a wallet from one of the men. During
the robbery, Charles Flora attempted to enter the store, and
the defendant pointed a gun at him. Flora ran to his van in
the parking lot and called the police from his van. The
defendant and Crenshaw came out of the store while Flora was
still in the lot. The direct examination of Flora includes
[Prosecutor] Did-before you were shot at, did you see the
people that came out of the store? You said you saw them,
[Flora] When they both ran out of the store, they both looked
directly at my van.
[Prosecutor] Did you see whether they had anything in their
[Flora] They had a gun in their hand.
[Prosecutor] Both of them?
[Flora] I'm not sure if both of them did. One I know did.
[Prosecutor] Was the gun pointed ...