453 N.E.2d 180 (Ind. 1983), 582S168, Webb v. State

Docket Nº:582S168.
Citation:453 N.E.2d 180
Party Name:Michael Ray WEBB, Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
Case Date:September 12, 1983
Court:Supreme Court of Indiana

Page 180

453 N.E.2d 180 (Ind. 1983)

Michael Ray WEBB, Appellant,


STATE of Indiana, Appellee.

No. 582S168.

Supreme Court of Indiana.

September 12, 1983

Page 181

Steven C. Smith, Anderson, for appellant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen., Latriealle Wheat, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

PIVARNIK, Justice.

On September 15, 1981, Defendant-Appellant Michael Ray Webb was found guilty by a jury in the Madison Circuit Court of felony murder. He subsequently was sentenced by the trial judge to a term of forty years imprisonment. Appellant now directly appeals and raises the following issues:

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1. whether the State was collaterally estopped from pursuing the instant prosecution;

2. whether the State was barred by statute from pursuing the instant prosecution;

3. whether Appellant's right to a speedy trial was denied;

4. whether the trial court erred by granting the State's Motion in Limine regarding evidence that Appellant previously was acquitted for the murder of Max Williams; and

5. whether the trial court erred by permitting evidence of Appellant's drug use.

At approximately 10:00 a.m. on May 9, 1980, Max and Margaret Williams were found murdered in their home at 121 Haverhill Drive, Yorktown, Indiana. Lucille Hodson and Brenda Thornburg had gone to the Williams home to investigate why neither Max or Margaret appeared for work. They found the garage door closed but unlocked and Mrs. Williams' car parked inside the garage with its trunk open. The door from the garage to the dining room was open. Mr. Williams' car was not parked where it usually was. Max Williams was found dead sitting in a chair in the family room and Margaret Williams was found dead lying on a bed with her hands and feet bound behind her with neckties. Hodson and Thornburg called the police. The coroner estimated that Max and Margaret died late at night on May 8. Both died from multiple stab wounds. Joan Morris, a co-worker, testified that she talked with Margaret on the telephone at 9:30 p.m. on May 8. The police found empty jewelry cases scattered in the bedroom and other household items in disarray. Telephone cords had been cut in the bedroom and family room; approximately $100 in cash which Mr. Williams was known to have and his gold watch and wallet were not found on his body or elsewhere in the house.

At the time of the instant murder, Appellant was living in an apartment in Muncie with his girlfriend, Cindy Murphy, her two daughters and a friend, Gina Groce. Murphy was receiving $400 to $500 per month in Social Security benefits; Appellant was unemployed and had been so for at least one year. Both Murphy and Appellant had a history of using illegal drugs which Appellant supplied. Appellant's drug habit cost him as much as $60.00 a day. Murphy testified that she and Appellant argued on May 8 such that she called the police. Appellant left the apartment. They had exhausted their drug supply. Murphy further testified that when Appellant left on May 8, he had no money and was wearing blue jeans, a shirt, shoes and a jacket. At approximately 1:00 a.m. on May 9, Appellant called the apartment from a bar and asked Groce whether she could get him some drugs. Groce testified that she asked Appellant if he had any money; he told her he had "plenty of money." Groce arranged for drugs to be delivered to the apartment to which Appellant returned at 2:00 a.m. carrying some clothes under his arm and wearing clothes different from those he wore when he left the apartment. Appellant "dumped" approximately $20.00 in change onto the dining room table for Groce to count while he counted some bills. Appellant told Groce that he found the money and gave her $42.00 for the drugs. He gave Murphy some change to pay for a long-distance telephone call which he proceeded to place to his father in New Orleans. In said call, Appellant stated that he was in trouble, needed help and was going to New Orleans. At daylight on May 9, Appellant visited his mother at the home of his grandmother in Muncie and got money for a bus ticket to New Orleans. Appellant later returned to the apartment between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. and unsuccessfully tried to sell a gold wristwatch to Groce's boyfriend, Jimmy Stewart. Appellant was wearing the watch when he arrived at the apartment early that morning. Groce had never seen Appellant wear a watch before that time.

Murphy testified at trial that Appellant told her that he and Arthur Morrison went to the Williams home to burglarize it. Appellant tied up Mrs. Williams with neckties and looked around for items to steal. Mrs. Williams told Appellant not to hurt her

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since she was dying from cancer. Appellant then heard a noise and went to investigate it and came upon Mr. Williams sitting in a chair with blood all over him. Appellant then told Morrison that the killing was dumb, since Mrs. Williams could identify him. Morrison said that he would take care of "it" whereupon he ran into the bedroom and killed her. Appellant and Morrison attempted to put the house back in order and left. Appellant later gave these same details to the police.


In the instant case, Appellant was tried and found guilty of the felony murder of Mrs. Williams. He had been tried previously in the Henry Circuit Court for the murder of Mr. Williams and was found not guilty. Specifically, he was tried and acquitted on the charge of having knowingly killed Max Williams, Ind.Code Sec...

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