372 N.E.2d 181 (Ind. 1978), 877S557, Martin v. State

Docket Nº877S557.
Citation372 N.E.2d 181, 267 Ind. 583
Party NamePhillip R. MARTIN, Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
Case DateFebruary 10, 1978
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 181

372 N.E.2d 181 (Ind. 1978)

267 Ind. 583

Phillip R. MARTIN, Appellant,


STATE of Indiana, Appellee.

No. 877S557.

Supreme Court of Indiana.

February 10, 1978

Page 182

[267 Ind. 584] Peyton & Giddings, Lebanon, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Dennis K. McKinney, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

GIVAN, Chief Justice.

Appellant was convicted of murder in the second degree. He was sentenced to 15 to 25 years.

Appellant first claims the trial court erred in overruling his motion to suppress a statement made by him to police officers. Three days after appellant's five and one-half month old daughter died, two police officers went to his parents' home and asked to talk to appellant. Appellant accompanied them to the Zionsville police station. There his constitutional [267 Ind. 585] rights were read to him. Appellant himself read and signed the waiver form. In the questioning that followed appellant admitted striking his baby daughter. The session was not recorded and the officers therefore testified at trial as to his statements. Appellant's motion to suppress was on the ground that he was emotionally distraught and fatigued; that the police officers threatened him with being jailed and that therefore he told the police officers what they wanted to hear.

The trial court conducted a hearing pursuant to the motion and on the basis of the evidence found the statement made by appellant was freely and voluntarily given and ruled that it was admissible. This Court has held that in determining the voluntariness of a waiver of rights, the test is whether " . . . looking at all the circumstances, the confession was free and voluntary and not induced by any violence, threats, promises, or other improper influences." Nacoff v. State (1971) 256 Ind. 97, 101, 267 N.E.2d 165, 167. This question is to be decided by the trial court, and when the evidence of voluntariness is conflicting, this Court will not reverse the trial court so long as there is sufficient evidence of probative value to support the ruling. Lane v. State (1977) Ind., 364 N.E.2d 756; French v. State (1977) Ind., 362 N.E.2d 834.

Although appellant argues that he was emotionally distraught at the time, the record shows that the questioning took place three days after the death of the daughter. There is nothing in the record to show any unusual situation which would nullify appellant's statements. Furthermore, the record shows that on the same day the child died appellant was questioned by police officers. That recorded statement was played to the jury. Appellant was fully advised of his constitutional rights before consenting to...

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