915 N.E.2d 126 (Ind. 2009), 43S00-0810-CR-575, Clark v. State

Docket Nº:43S00-0810-CR-575.
Citation:915 N.E.2d 126
Opinion Judge:SHEPARD, Chief Justice.
Party Name:Ian J. CLARK, Appellant (Defendant below), v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff below).
Attorney:J. Brad Voelz, Warsaw, IN, Attorney for Appellant. Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana, J.T. Whitehead, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.
Judge Panel:DICKSON, SULLIVAN, BOEHM, and RUCKER, JJ., concur.
Case Date:October 15, 2009
Court:Supreme Court of Indiana
 
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Page 126

915 N.E.2d 126 (Ind. 2009)

Ian J. CLARK, Appellant (Defendant below),

v.

STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff below).

No. 43S00-0810-CR-575.

Supreme Court of Indiana.

October 15, 2009

Page 127

J. Brad Voelz, Warsaw, IN, Attorney for Appellant.

Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana, J.T. Whitehead, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.

SHEPARD, Chief Justice.

A jury found appellant Ian J. Clark guilty of murdering a two-year-old left in his care, and it recommended life in prison

Page 128

without parole, which the trial court imposed. Many of the grounds he urges as reasons for reversal were not preserved at trial. One of his trial objections does pose a novel question: should the trial court have permitted the State to offer into evidence Clark's entry from the social networking website MySpace? We hold that this electronic evidence was admissible, and we affirm Clark's conviction and sentence.

Facts and Procedural History

In May 2007 Ian J. Clark was living in Pierceton with his fiancée Matara Muchowicz and her daughter Samantha. Samantha typically stayed with a friend while Clark and Matara were at work, but Clark had been laid off at some point during the month and in an effort to save money Matara began leaving Samantha with Clark for the day.

When Matara arrived home on May 25th, around 2 p.m., she found Clark lying on the couch with Samantha on his chest, naked and blue. Matara approached the couch and noticed blood on the blanket that was covering up Clark. After being questioned about the blood, Clark sat up and then fell and stumbled into the coffee table, dropping Samantha on the ground. Clark told Matara that Samantha was breathing. Matara tried to wake Samantha, but she was cold. Samantha's head was thrown back and she was gurgling. Matara took Samantha and went to call 911. Clark told Matara to put the phone down and that Samantha was " brain dead" and then lit a cigarette and turned on the television.

Matara dialed 911, but Clark grabbed the phone out of her hand. Clark told Matara there was nothing wrong with Samantha and that she was breathing. He kept telling Matara that Samantha was fine. Matara told Clark they needed to call an ambulance. Clark continued to try to prevent Matara from calling 911. Clark took the phone from Matara and tried to drag her away from the phone. When Matara managed to dial 911 and ask the operator for help, Clark struck Matara in the back of the head with his fist.

Matara managed to make a second call to 911. Matara wanted to learn CPR because Samantha was not breathing. The 911 operators could hear Clark interrupt and disconnect the attempted calls. After completing the 911 call, Matara put a diaper on Samantha and went outside where she met a police officer.

The Kosciusko County sheriff's deputy who had arrived on scene tried to revive Samantha until paramedics arrived. The deputy noticed Samantha suffered a split lip, was limp, her jaw was crushed, and she had bruises all over her body. Paramedics were unable to revive her. They observed that Samantha had bruises all over her body, her right jaw was swollen, black and blue, and she had blood around her mouth, and bruises on her chest area that resembled fingerprints. Later analysis put Samantha's time of death at 11 a.m. to 12 noon.

The officers arrested Clark and transported him to the hospital with blood on his shirt. While waiting in an exam room with police, Clark told a detective that " I will f ...ing kick your ass. I will send the Hell's Angels to kill you. F ... it. It's only a C felony. I can beat this." (Tr. at 90.)

Police discovered diapers, tissues, a blanket, a shelf on the coffee table, a pillow and pajamas all stained red in the home. Police also discovered blood spatters near the sink and red spots near the door in the bathroom. They observed a hole in the bathroom wall, sixty-five inches from the floor, with bloodstains and brown hair embedded in it. (Tr. at 254-55, 258-259.)

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The blood and hair found in the hole was Samantha's. (Tr. at 258, 262.) The blood on Clark's shirt was Samantha's.

The list of injuries was appalling. Before Samantha's death she suffered multiple contusions, lacerations, abrasions and or deformities to her mouth, ear, chin, forehead, eyes, neck, jaw, shoulders, cheeks, arms, ribs, chest, back, scapula, kidney areas, areas over vital organs, abdomen, arm pits, nipples, temple, nose, lips, wrists, hands, orbits, buttocks, and thigh; her ulna was broken, her wrist was broken...

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