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Keith v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

June 20, 2019

Reese Levi Keith, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the Johnson Superior Court Trial Court Cause No. 41D02-1705-F2-5 The Honorable Peter D. Nugent, Judge

          Attorney for Appellant John B. Norris Vandivier Norris & Solomon Franklin, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Chandra K. Hein Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Riley, Judge.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         [¶1] Appellant-Defendant, Reese Keith (Keith), appeals his convictions and sentences for burglary of a dwelling resulting in serious bodily injury, a Level 1 felony, Ind. Code §§ 35-43-2-1; 35-43-2-1(4); two Counts of robbery while armed with a deadly weapon, Level 3 felonies, I.C. § 35-42-5-1(2) (2014); two Counts of criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon, Level 3 felonies, I.C. §§ 35-42-3-3(a); 35-42-3-3(b)(2)(A); auto theft, a Level 6 felony, I.C. § 35-43-4-2.5(b)(1) (2014); and his adjudication as an habitual offender, I.C. 35-50-2-8(b).

         [¶2] We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand with instructions.

         ISSUES

         [¶3] Keith presents five issues on appeal, which we restate as:

(1) Whether the State produced sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed burglary resulting in serious bodily injury;
(2) Whether his convictions for robbery, criminal confinement, and auto theft are barred by the continuous crime doctrine;
(3) Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted evidence garnered from Keith's custodial interviews;
(4) Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it sentenced Keith; and
(5) Whether Keith's sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         [¶4] On May 14, 2017, following an automobile accident that occurred when he was intoxicated on methamphetamine, Keith was arrested and admitted for treatment at Johnson Memorial Hospital, in Franklin, Indiana, before being escorted to jail. Keith was discharged from the hospital into police custody but was readmitted to Johnson Memorial shortly thereafter due to reported seizure activity. Keith was not in police custody when he was readmitted for treatment.

         [¶5] Sometime after 3:20 a.m. on May 15, 2017, Keith disconnected himself from his heart monitor and IV and left the hospital without being formally discharged by his physician. Keith entered the garage of the nearby home of ninety-year-old Clayton Dixon and eighty-eight-year-old Ella Dixon (the Dixons). Keith initially slept in the Dixons' garage but later broke into the Dixons' home through a basement window so that he could steal clothing in order to change out of the hospital gown he was still wearing.

         [¶6] Shortly after Keith broke into their basement, the Dixons left home to do errands. While they were away, Keith changed into Clayton's clothing and ate the Dixons' food. Keith also ransacked the home and discovered the Dixons' firearm cabinet. The Dixons surprised Keith by returning from their errands quickly. Ella entered the back door of the home into the kitchen and was met by Keith, who was wearing a ski mask and pointing one of the rifles he had found in the home at her. Ella attempted to call 9-1-1 on her cell phone, but Keith grabbed the cell phone from her. Clayton then entered through the back door and attempted to subdue Keith, only ceasing his efforts upon Ella's pleas to Clayton to cooperate to avoid injury.

         [¶7] Keith used duct tape to bind Ella's and Clayton's hands. He then ordered them into their hallway because he feared they could be seen through the home's large picture window. Keith used more duct tape to bind Clayton by his arms and legs to a chair. Keith took Clayton's wallet from him and removed the cash it contained. Keith also duct taped Ella's arms and legs to her walker. He rummaged her purse and removed cash and the keys to the Dixons' automobile. After holding the Dixons in their home for approximately forty minutes, Keith drove away in their automobile, taking three guns and cash with him. Clayton accessed his pocketknife and used it to cut himself and Ella free. Ella alerted the authorities, who discovered Keith's hospital identification bracelet and hospital gown in the garage where he had discarded them. Subsequent investigation revealed the presence of Keith's DNA on the hospital gown and on shards of glass collected from the Dixons' broken basement window. Clayton and Ella sustained substantial bruising as a result of being bound. After the offenses, Clayton complained to Ella that his bruises "were sore." (Transcript Vol. II, p. 73).

         [¶8] On May 16, 2017, the State filed an Information, charging Keith with multiple offenses. After a series of amendments to the Information, the final charges against Keith were for burglary to a dwelling resulting in serious bodily injury, a Level 1 felony; two Counts of robbery while armed with a deadly weapon, a Level 3 felony;[1] two Counts of criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon, Level 3 ...


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