from the Lake Superior Court The Honorable Samuel L. Cappas,
Judge Trial Court Cause Nos. 45G04-1408-FD-137
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT R. Brian Woodward Crown Point, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Lyubov Gore Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis,
Thomas Snow appeals his convictions for two counts of murder
after a jury convicted him of murdering his
parents. We affirm.
Snow presents several issues on appeal, which we consolidate
and restate as follows:
I. Whether the trial court properly admitted evidence found
during a search of the victims' residence in which Snow
II. Whether there was sufficient evidence to convict Snow of
Clifford Snow ("Clifford") and Joyce Snow
("Joyce") owned a residence in Lowell, Indiana (the
"residence"). Snow, their son, lived with them.
Julie Niemeyer, Snow's sister and Clifford and
Joyce's daughter, lived in Missouri. Niemeyer spoke with
her parents by telephone once per month and visited her
parents at the residence two or three times per year.
Niemeyer spoke with Joyce on August 27, 2013, and Clifford on
September 11, 2013. Typically, Clifford and Joyce called
Niemeyer on her birthday-September 30th- however,
on September 30, 2013, Niemeyer did not hear from her
The next day, on October 1, Niemeyer telephoned her parents.
Snow answered and stated that Clifford and Joyce were out
walking the dogs. Snow also told Niemeyer that he installed
security cameras in the residence due to area break-ins.
Niemeyer asked Snow to have Clifford and Joyce return her
call, but they never did.
Also on October 1, Snow stopped by the home of Dennis and
Samantha Roper, friends of Clifford and Joyce. Snow told the
Ropers that his parents were out of town in Germany for a
couple of weeks. At the time, Dennis was surprised to hear
the news, as Clifford did not enjoy traveling or flying
"that great of a distance."  Tr. Vol. II p.
72. Snow also told Dennis that there was a "major septic
backup" in the basement of the residence. Id.
at 76. Snow told Dennis he did not "want nobody [sic]
down there until [Snow got] this cleaned up and
resolved."  Id. at 77. That day, Dennis
observed Snow driving Clifford's GMC truck, which was
Snow also told other neighbors similar stories regarding
Clifford's and Joyce's out of town trip. Snow asked
neighbors to let Snow know if anything looked out of the
ordinary at the residence. Snow also asked to shower at the
neighbors' house because of the septic issue; the
neighbors declined. Snow told a former neighbor that Clifford
died of a heart attack while mowing the lawn and that Joyce
travelled to Missouri to be with Niemeyer after
On October 5, 2013, Officer Laurie Reilly of the Lake County
Sheriff's Department stopped a vehicle that was
improperly towing another vehicle. Snow was in the lead
vehicle, and Joey Montgomery was in the towed vehicle. Snow
and Montgomery knew one another because Snow often purchased
crack cocaine from Montgomery. While Officer Reilly checked
Snow's and Montgomery's information in her squad car,
Snow detached the two vehicles and drove away, leading
officers on a pursuit that continued through a residential
area. Snow led the officers through a cornfield before Snow
was able to get away. Officers went to the residence
immediately afterwards, but did not find Snow
there. One of Clifford's trucks was later
found in Ford Heights, Illinois, with corn stalks and garbage
bags in the truck bed. The garbage bag contained a cordless
phone, a pillow case, gym shoes, various clothes, and a
On Friday, October 18, a cousin contacted Niemeyer and
expressed concern for Clifford. The cousin heard that
Clifford died, and the cousin was unable to contact Joyce.
Niemeyer attempted unsuccessfully to reach her parents and
Snow. Niemeyer ultimately contacted the Lake County
Sheriff's Department and requested a welfare check.
Officers David Crane, Bryan Kersey, Louie Garcia, and Mike
Reilly were dispatched to the residence.
After walking around the outside of the house, officers
reported to Niemeyer that they saw a dumpster in the front
yard, the dogs barking in the window, and several unopened
newspapers piled in the driveway. Officer Crane previously
visited the residence between October 5 and October 18 to
look for Snow and encountered no one on the property.
Officers did not get a response when they knocked on the
doors. Niemeyer was alarmed that the property was in disarray
because Clifford kept the yard neat. Niemeyer acknowledged
that she never lived in the residence. Niemeyer directed
officers to enter the house, even if that meant breaking down
The officers ultimately made forced entry by kicking in a
door. Immediately, the officers identified "a strong
pungent odor of decomposition," and dog feces. Tr. Vol.
III p. 3. The officers began checking the house to determine
whether there was anyone inside the house who needed
assistance. While placing the dogs in the kennel, the
officers noticed a pile of debris in the garage, including a
tarp and rolled up carpet, with an unknown fluid seeping from
In the bathroom at the top of the stairs, officers saw
another large pile of carpet in the bathtub. The shower
curtain was pulled down, and a bag of cat litter was poured
over the debris. The officers identified blood on the
bathroom floor. Officers were able to identify the body of a
female in the bathroom. Officers returned to the garage and
observed that the debris was covered in blood and maggots.
At this point, officers determined the scene would require a
crime scene technician; they exited the residence and
contacted detectives and the crime lab. Officers secured the
scene and searched the wooded area around the house.
Dennis Eaton, a division commander, subsequently arrived at
the residence. Commander Eaton was informed there was at
least one decedent in the residence, who was presumed to be a
homicide victim. Commander Eaton obtained a search ...