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Roach v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

January 30, 2019

Terrence Wayne Roach, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Attorney for Appellant Yvette M. LaPlante Keating & LaPlante, LLP Evansville, Indiana

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

          Appeal from the Vanderburgh Superior Court The Honorable Robert J. Pigman, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 82D03-1704-MR-1984

          PYLE, JUDGE.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] Terrence Roach ("Roach") appeals his conviction following a jury trial for Level 6 felony abuse of a corpse.[1] Specifically, Roach argues that there was insufficient independent evidence of a crime or corpus delicti to serve as a basis for the trial court to admit his confession into evidence. However, because Roach failed to object when the trial court admitted his confession into evidence, Roach must establish fundamental error. Concluding that Roach has failed to do so, we affirm his conviction.

         [¶2] We affirm.

         Issue

         Whether Roach has established that fundamental error occurred when the trial court admitted his confession into evidence.

         Facts

         [¶3] In March 2017, Roach confessed to police that, in July 2016, he had opened the window to nineteen-year-old severely disabled A.B.'s ("A.B.") bedroom from the outside and pulled A.B. out of the window. According to Roach, he had then driven A.B. to an abandoned house, carried her up to that house's attic, and placed her on a mattress. Roach further admitted to the police that he had wrapped duct tape around A.B.'s mouth to keep her quiet when he left the house. Roach also explained to the police that he had returned to the house to find Roach dead. According to Roach, he believed that he had suffocated A.B. with the duct tape. Roach also confessed that he had sexual intercourse with A.B.'s corpse. Roach's DNA was found on duct tape discovered next to A.B.'s body and also on a cigarette butt found in the attic.

         [¶4] The State charged Roach with three counts of felony murder, Level 2 felony burglary, Level 3 felony confinement, Level 3 felony kidnapping, and Level 6 felony abuse of a corpse. At trial, Roach had "no objection" to the admission of his recorded confession into evidence. (Tr. Vol. 2 at 24). The jury convicted Roach of confinement and abuse of a corpse, and Roach now appeals the abuse of a corpse conviction.

         Decision

         [¶5] Roach's sole argument is that the trial court erred when it admitted his confession to abuse of a corpse into evidence because there was an insufficient corpus delicti. At the outset, we note that Roach did not object at trial to the admission of his confession into evidence. He has therefore waived appellate review of this issue. See Palilonis v. State, 970 N.E.2d 713, 730 (Ind.Ct.App. 2012) (holding that failure to make a ...


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