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Sage v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 5, 2018

Joshua Sage, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the St. Joseph Superior Court Trial Court Cause No. 71D03-1708-MR-11 The Honorable Jeffrey L. Sanford, Judge

          Attorney for Appellant Mark F. James Anderson Agostino & Keller, PC South Bend, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Ellen H. Meilaender Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Riley, Judge.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         [¶1] Appellant-Defendant, Joshua Sage (Sage), appeals his conviction for two Counts of felony murder, Ind. Code §§ 35-42-1-1(3)(B); 35-48-4-1.1.

         [¶2] We affirm. ISSUES

         [¶3] Sage presents two issues on appeal, which we restate as:

(1) Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted his statement made to police while he was hospitalized for injuries sustained during the offenses; and
(2) Whether the State produced sufficient evidence to prove the offenses beyond a reasonable doubt.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         [¶4] In the days preceding August 2, 2017, Jermon Gavin (JG) contacted Ron Snyder (Snyder) to arrange the purchase of a large amount of methamphetamine. Snyder, in turn, contacted Sage, who agreed to supply approximately one and one-half pounds of methamphetamine to sell to JG. Sage was to deliver the drugs to Snyder's home located in the 2100 block of Frederickson Street in South Bend, Indiana. Sage did not feel at ease about the deal with JG from the beginning, and he knew that it was necessary for his personal safety to be armed when dealing in such a large quantity of methamphetamine. Sage carried a Sig Sauer handgun. He also arranged for his brother, Robert Brady (Brady), to accompany him to Snyder's home to "have [his] back." (Exhibit 135, Exh. Vol. I, Clip 3 at 10:30-:33). Sage provided his brother with a Smith and Wesson handgun.

         [¶5] During the evening of August 2, 2017, Sage and Brady brought the methamphetamine to Snyder's home. There were at least nine other people present at Snyder's home that evening, including Alyssa Sanchez (Izzy). Sage transported the methamphetamine in a plastic grocery bag in which he also stowed his own "bowl" used for smoking meth. (Transcript Vol. 3, p. 76). Upon arriving, Sage and Brady went to the basement of Snyder's home, where they consumed methamphetamine. Either Brady or Sage armed Snyder with a handgun.

         [¶6] Unbeknownst to them, JG and his associates, Jesus Pedraza (Jesse) and Benito Pedraza (Benny), had decided to steal the methamphetamine, so they armed themselves with handguns prior to going to Snyder's home. As part of their plan, they dropped off Damon Bethel (Bethel), who was also carrying a handgun, in an alley near Snyder's home. JG and the Pedraza brothers arrived at Snyder's home shortly before midnight. While Benny remained in their car parked across the street from Snyder's home, JG, Jesse, Sage, Brady and Snyder convened in the attached garage of Snyder's home, leaving the garage door open looking out onto Frederickson Street. Sage produced the methamphetamine for JG and Jesse to sample, inspect, and weigh. As the methamphetamine deal unfolded, Anton James (James), pulled up in a white SUV in front of Snyder's home. ...


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