Morgan K. Govan, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
from the Allen Superior Court The Honorable John F. Surbeck,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 02D05-1609-F3-53
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Stanley L. Campbell Fort Wayne,
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Jesse R. Drum Deputy Attorney General
Barteau, Senior Judge.
of the Case
Morgan K. Govan appeals his conviction of possession of
cocaine or narcotic drug, a Level 4 felony; and the trial
court's determination that he is an habitual
offender. Govan also appeals his sentence. We
Govan raises three issues, which we restate as:
I. Whether the trial court erred in admitting into evidence
the heroin that officers found on Govan after his arrest.
II. Whether the trial court abused its discretion during
III. Whether Govan's sentence is inappropriate in light
of the nature of the offenses and the character of the
and Procedural History
On August 29, 2016, Detective Chris Crapser of the Fort Wayne
Police Department was dispatched to a hospital to interview
Stacey Cook. He noted that Cook had several serious injuries.
Cook told the detective that Govan had driven her to his
house at 2244 Chestnut Street in Fort Wayne, where he had
tied her up and struck her repeatedly with his fists, his
feet, and a hammer. She further told Detective Crapser that
Govan had said that he was going to kill her. Cook explained
that another woman had also been in the house. According to
Cook, Govan had also beaten the other woman, but she escaped.
Cook's mother, Pamela Cook, gave Govan's cellular
phone number to the detective. Govan had attempted to contact
Cook or Pamela through Facebook while Cook was still in the
Detective Crapser next learned the second victim's name
was Destinee Prater. A woman claiming to be Prater's
grandmother had called 911 on August 29, 2016, to report that
Prater was being held against her will at 2244 Chestnut
Street. That afternoon, officers were dispatched to that
address to investigate the report. The officers were told a
woman might be restrained and injured at that location. They
determined that one of the house's windows was broken,
apparently from the inside. The officers shouted into the
window and knocked on the front door, but no one responded.
They entered the residence and searched. No one was present,
but the officers found a pool of what appeared to be blood in
the basement, along with electrical cords that appeared to
have been used to tie someone up.
Meanwhile, Detective Crapser had asked Detective Matthew
Foote to assist him with the investigation. After talking
with Detective Crapser about the case, Detective Foote worked
with Detective David Wilkins to prepare a search warrant
affidavit for real-time data on the location of Govan's
cellular phone. The detectives faxed the affidavit and
related documents to Sprint, which was Govan's cellular
phone service provider, on August 29, 2016, at 8:27 p.m. The
detectives asked Sprint for an "emergency or exigent
ping," or approximate fix on the current location of
Govan's phone. Tr. Vol. 2, p. 65. A Sprint employee
reviewed the warrant and sent the requested information to
Based on the cellular phone "pings" and other
information identifying Govan's truck, Detective Foote
and several other officers found Govan on August 29, 2016, at
10:15 p.m. at a motel in Fort Wayne. They approached Govan as
he sat in his truck, ordered him out of the truck, and took
him into custody. Detective Foote searched Govan after his
arrest and found a clear plastic baggie in his pants pocket.
The baggie contained a powdery substance. Field testing
showed a positive result for the presence of heroin, a
controlled substance. Subsequent testing revealed the heroin
weighed 13.32 grams.
Later that evening, Detective Crapser questioned Prater at
the hospital after talking with her by phone. She was also
badly injured, showing signs of having been beaten.
On September 2, 2016, officers filed a search warrant
affidavit with the trial court. The warrant was the same
document that the detectives had submitted to Sprint on
August 29, 2016. The court determined there was probable
cause to believe that real-time tracking of Govan's
cellular phone would obtain information that was
"relevant and material to an ongoing criminal
investigation." Tr. Ex. Vol., Trial Exhibits,
Defendant's Ex. C.
The State charged Govan with two counts of criminal
confinement, both Level 3 felonies, one for Cook and one for
Prater; one count of possession of cocaine or narcotic drug,
a Level 4 felony; one count of kidnapping, a Level 5 felony,
for Cook; two counts of battery, both Level 5 felonies, one
for Cook and another for Prater; and intimidation, a Level 6
felony, for Cook. The State further alleged that Govan was an
habitual offender. Later, during plea agreement negotiations,
the State added two counts of criminal confinement, both
Level 6 felonies,  one for Cook and one for Prater.
Govan filed a motion to suppress evidence but later withdrew
it. He then refiled the motion to suppress, along with a
motion to dismiss. The trial court denied his motions after a
hearing. Govan asked the court to certify its ruling for
discretionary interlocutory review, but the court denied his
Next, Govan and the State negotiated a partial plea
agreement. Govan agreed to plead guilty to two counts of
confinement, both Level 6 felonies, for his acts involving
Cook and Prater. The parties agreed Govan would receive a
sentence of two years and 183 days on one count of
confinement and two years on the other count, to be served
consecutively. Govan explicitly retained his right to be
tried on the charge of possession of cocaine or narcotic drug
and the habitual offender enhancement. The State agreed to
dismiss the other charges.
Govan waived his right to a jury trial on the possession
charge and the sentencing enhancement. A bench trial was
held, and the trial court determined Govan was guilty of
possession of cocaine or narcotic drug as a Level 4 felony
and was an habitual offender.
At sentencing, the court followed the parties' partial
plea agreement and imposed two years and 183 days on one
count of confinement, and two years on the second count. The
court further sentenced Govan to six years for the charge of
possession of cocaine or narcotic drug, enhanced by twenty
years for the habitual offender sentencing enhancement, for a
total of twenty-six years. The court ordered Govan to serve
the sentences for the three felony convictions consecutively,
resulting in an aggregate sentence of thirty years and 183
days. This appeal followed.
Admission of Evidence - Heroin
Govan claims the trial court should not have admitted into
evidence the heroin that Detective Foote found on him after
his arrest. Govan frames the issue as whether the court
should have granted his motion to suppress. Because the case
proceeded to trial, his claim is more appropriately
considered as a request to review the ...