from the Marion Superior Court Cause No. 49G06-1708-F1-28990
The Honorable Mark D. Stoner, Judge
Attorney for Appellant Joel M. Schumm Indianapolis, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Tyler G. Banks Deputy Attorney General
Randall Shields appeals his convictions and sentence on two
counts of child molesting as level 1 felonies and
strangulation as a level 6 felony. We affirm.
and Procedural History
In 2017, Shields lived with his thirteen-year-old daughter
L.S. in a house in Indianapolis. Shields slept on a couch in
the front room of the house while L.S. slept on the floor.
One day L.S. woke up to Shields touching her "whole
body." Transcript Volume 2 at 139. Shields "kept
telling [her] please," and she said "no."
Id. He then pulled down her pants and underwear and
"gave [her] oral sex." Id. She told him to
stop, and he placed his hands on her throat and choked her.
He told her to "give him oral sex," and she
complied. Id. at 140. Shields then had sexual
intercourse with L.S. for about ten minutes. Shields went
back to the couch, and L.S. went to the bathroom and slept
there. Weeks later after she missed her period and was
throwing up, L.S. disclosed what had occurred to her mother,
who took her to the hospital where she learned that she was
pregnant. L.S. later went to Planned Parenthood because her
mother wanted her to have an abortion. L.S. underwent a
surgical termination of pregnancy in July 2017, and the
procedure was painful. DNA testing comparing fetal tissue
sample and a swab taken from Shields indicated that the
probability of paternity by Shields was 99.9999 percent.
In August 2017, the State charged Shields with: Count I,
child molesting for performing or submitting to sexual
intercourse with L.S., a child under fourteen years of age,
as a level 1 felony; Count II, child molesting for performing
or submitting to other sexual conduct with L.S., a child
under fourteen years of age, as a level 1 felony; Count III,
incest as a level 4 felony; Count IV, criminal confinement as
a level 5 felony; and Count V, strangulation as a level 6
felony. The State also alleged Shields was an habitual
At the start of the trial, the court told the jury: "All
of you except for . . . the second alternate, have been back
in the jury room. While you were there, you might have
noticed there's a full-size refrigerator. There's a
microwave there. That is for your usage. So if you want to
bring in snacks, food, anything that makes you comfortable
for the rest of the day, please know that that's there as
well." Id. at 106-107. The State presented the
testimony of L.S., her mother, the forensic nurse who
examined L.S. at the hospital, a detective, the physician who
performed the surgical abortion, an office coordinator and
medical assistant for Planned Parenthood, and the forensic
scientist with the Indiana State Police Laboratory who
prepared a certificate of analysis. L.S. testified regarding
Shields's actions. When asked why she went to Planned
Parenthood, L.S. answered that her mother wanted her to have
an abortion. She indicated the pregnancy was ultimately
terminated, and when asked how that felt, she stated that it
hurt. The State introduced the fetal remains as State's
Exhibit No. 10 and a certificate of analysis containing the
results of the DNA test as State's Exhibit No. 11. When
eliciting testimony from the detective, the prosecutor stated
"I'm going to show you what I have marked as
State's Exhibit 10 for identification" and asked
what he recognized it to be, and the detective answered
"[a]n envelope containing the product of conception
related to this case." Id. at 178. After some
discussion, State's Exhibit No. 10 was admitted without
objection. Near the end of the day, the court told the jury
when to arrive the following morning, to dress comfortably,
and stated "I have no idea how long you will be here
tomorrow" and, "[r]emember, you've got the
refrigerator and you've got the microwave."
Id. at 182.
Shortly after the court reconvened the following morning, the
prosecutor stated "we just had the detective open the
product of conception outside the presence of the jury so
didn't actually get it out in front of them," and
the court stated "[v]ery good" and
"[a]ppreciate that." Id. at 190.
Shields's counsel stated that the abortion itself was
graphic and horrible and that his understanding from speaking
with the State's witnesses was that the abortion
procedure was particularly traumatic and L.S. was in
extraordinary pain, and he argued that evidence was highly
prejudicial. The physician who performed the abortion
testified regarding the procedure and the removal,
collection, and examination of the fetal tissue. The
physician testified that she rinsed the tissue and examined
it and that the purpose of examining it was to ensure that
the tissue was complete and that all uterine contents had
been removed. The forensic scientist testified regarding the
process for testing the samples and the results. The
following exchange occurred between the court, prosecutor,
and defense counsel:
[Prosecutor]: . . . As to the product of conception, it is my
understanding is it has to get back in the freezer. Can the
detective take that back downstairs as soon as we read jury
[Court Reporter]: I have taken a picture of it.
[Court Reporter]: I took a picture of it last night.
The Court: Defense, do you have any . . . objection to that?
[Defense Counsel]: Judge, I'm sorry, say that again.
[Prosecutor]: Just as soon as we're done with jury
instructions, can we take the, the product of conception back
to the freezer?
[Defense Counsel]: Yeah, so they don't want it up here.
The Court: Okay. Well, again, but I will need to explain that
to the jury that -
[Defense Counsel]: That's right.
The Court: - all exhibits will be sent back except for that
one and the only reason why we're sending that one back
is because ...