from the Harrison Superior Court, No. 31D01-1308-MR-508 The
Honorable Vicki L. Carmichael, Special Judge On Direct
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Brent Westerfeld Indianapolis,
Indiana Andrew J. Borland Indianapolis, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Andrew A. Kobe Deputy Attorney General Jesse R.
Drum Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana
remand in Schuler v. State, 112 N.E.3d 180 (Ind.
2018), the trial court entered a revised order sentencing
Kevin Andrew Schuler to life imprisonment without parole
("LWOP") for his conviction for murder and to
sixty-five years for felony murder. Schuler appeals the
revised order and argues the LWOP sentence must be vacated
because the trial court impermissibly relied on non-statutory
aggravating circumstances. Finding no error, we affirm.
and Procedural History
facts are set out in greater detail in Schuler.
Briefly stated, the evidence showed Schuler and Austin Scott
broke into the home that Asenath Arnold shared with Gary
Henderson, Scott fatally stabbed Henderson, and Schuler
intentionally killed Arnold during a burglary of the home.
Schuler punched Arnold and she stumbled back to her bed.
Schuler then took the singletree [a wooden bar normally used
to hold horses together] and struck Arnold on top of her
head. Arnold prayed and pleaded with Schuler for her life.
According to Scott, Schuler swung the singletree with two
hands "like a sledgehammer," striking Arnold at
least twice and as many as four times.
Id. at 184 (quoting St. Ex. 30-4 at 47:53-52:00).
Although Scott stabbed Arnold in the face, Schuler would
later tell police, "I'm almost positive I killed
her." Id. (quoting Tr. Vol. 2 at 250).
Arnold's head was significantly disfigured in the attack,
and an autopsy revealed Arnold died from multiple blunt force
injuries and sharp force injuries to the head. Id.
pled guilty to Count 1, the murder of Arnold, and Count 2,
the felony murder of Henderson, and in exchange the State
agreed to dismiss its request for the death penalty and
instead to request LWOP. The parties agreed the court alone
would determine whether to impose LWOP or a term of years.
Id. at 185. After a hearing, the court orally stated
its reasons for sentencing Schuler to LWOP on Count 1 and
sixty-five years on Count 2 to be served consecutively.
raised four issues in his first appeal. We affirmed on the
first three issues but on the fourth remanded for a clearer
sentencing statement that satisfies Harrison v.
State, 644 N.E.2d 1243 (Ind. 1995). On remand, the trial
court issued a revised order sentencing Schuler to LWOP on
Count 1 and sixty-five years on Count 2. Schuler appeals the
Court reviews a sentencing order for an abuse of discretion.
Schuler, 112 N.E.3d at 190. An abuse occurs only if
the decision is clearly against the logic and effect of the
facts and circumstances before the court, or the reasonable,
probable, and actual deductions to be drawn therefrom.
Rice v. State, 6 N.E.3d 940, 943 (Ind. 2014). An
abuse of discretion occurs if, among other things, the
reasons given by the sentencing court are improper as a
matter of law. Schuler, 112 N.E.3d at 190. This
Court presumes that a court that conducts a sentencing
hearing renders its decision solely on the basis of relevant
and probative evidence. Id. at 189.
statute requires only one listed aggravating circumstance for
imposition of an LWOP sentence. See Ind. Code §
35-50-2-9(a). But in determining whether to impose LWOP, the
trial court must limit the aggravating circumstances eligible
for consideration to those specified in the statute.
Schuler, 112 N.E.3d at 191. The court may not