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Cook v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 18, 2019

Deryan Oneil Cook, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the Vanderburgh Superior Court The Honorable Robert J. Pigman, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 82D03-1706-MR-3487

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Matthew J. McGovern Anderson, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana J.T. Whitehead Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          PYLE, JUDGE.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] Deryan Cook ("Cook") appeals his conviction by jury of murder.[1] He argues that the trial court abused its discretion in excluding evidence and that his sixty-five (65) year sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character. Concluding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion and that Cook's sentence is not inappropriate, we affirm the trial court's judgment and sentence.

         [¶2] We affirm.

         Issues

         1. Whether the trial court abused its discretion in excluding evidence.

         2. Whether Cook's sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

         Facts

         [¶3] On June 4, 2017, Michael Turpin's ("Turpin") truck broke down. After unsuccessfully attempting to find someone to pick him up, he and Jamie Baker ("Baker") decided to walk to a friend's house on the other side of town. As they walked across a Walgreen's parking lot at approximately 12:30 a.m. the following morning, Turpin noticed twenty-year-old Cook approach them from a nearby gas station. Cook gave Turpin a "fucked up look," and Turpin told Baker to walk faster. (Tr. Vol. 2 at 89). As Turpin and Baker began to walk down a residential street, Turpin turned around and noticed that Cook was standing in front of the Walgreen's and staring at them. Turpin told Baker to "pick up the pace." (Tr. Vol. 2 at 89-90). A few minutes later, Turpin heard Cook's footsteps behind them. Cook yelled at Turpin and Baker to "get on the fucking ground" and began shooting at them. (Tr. Vol. 2 at 94). Turpin turned around and got a clear view of Cook, whose face was illuminated by a street light. Turpin grabbed Baker and heard "like three more shots" and then a click. (Tr. Vol. 2 at 97). Cook took off running, and Turpin realized that Baker had been shot in the center of her back. Baker died before emergency personnel arrived at the scene.

         [¶4] Cook returned to his nearby apartment where several of his roommates were listening to a police scanner. Cook told roommate Alexander Southard ("Southard") that he "had to do it" and that he had "shot four and saved five." (Tr. Vol. 2 at 212, 213). Cook later told Southard that he had gone out to rob somebody and that he had seen Turpin and Baker walking down the street. According to Cook, Baker was carrying a purse and "if she wasn't going to give it up [I] was going to shoot her and that's what happened." (Tr. Vol. 2 at 214). Cook further explained to Southard that he had told Turpin and Baker "to lay down or whatever and they took off running." (Tr. Vol. 2 at 214). According to Cook, he had then shot them. Cook also told Southard that he had used a .40 caliber handgun.

         [¶5] A few days later, Southard told the police what Cook had told him about Baker's murder. Turpin then identified Cook in a photo array, and Cook was brought in for questioning by Detective Peter DeYoung ("Detective DeYoung"). Cook told Detective DeYoung that he had been with Jerome Height ("Height") when Height had attempted to rob and had then shot Baker. Cook told the detective that he, Cook, had run back to his apartment after the shooting and cried. Cook also stated that he did not "mess around with guns." (Tr. Vol. 3 at 62). Cook later admitted to the detective that he had had possession of the murder weapon a week before the murder and that he had given it to Height. Cook also admitted that he had stood at the Walgreen's, had watched ...


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