Baird v. State

Decision Date01 December 1992
Docket NumberNo. 54S00-8804-CR-428,54S00-8804-CR-428
Citation604 N.E.2d 1170
PartiesArthur Paul BAIRD, II, Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

Susan K. Carpenter, Public Defender, David P. Freund, M.E. Tuke, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen., Arthur Thaddeus Perry, Indianapolis, for appellee.

DeBRULER, Justice.

Appellant Arthur Paul Baird, II was charged in Count I with murder pursuant to Ind.Code 35-42-1-1(1) in having knowingly killed Nadine Baird, appellant's wife, by strangulation. In Count II, he was charged pursuant to I.C. 35-42-1-1(1) with having knowingly killed Kathryn Baird, his mother, by stabbing her with a knife. In Count III, appellant was charged pursuant to I.C. 35-42-1-1(1) with having knowingly killed Arthur Paul Baird, I, his father, by stabbing him with a knife.

The information was amended 2 days later and appellant was additionally charged in Count IV with feticide pursuant to I.C. 35-42-1-6 in having knowingly terminated the pregnancy of Nadine Baird with an intention other than to produce a live birth or other than to remove a dead fetus. In a separate Count V, the prosecution sought the death penalty by alleging, pursuant to I.C. 35-50-2-9(b)(8), the aggravating circumstance that appellant murdered Arthur Paul Baird, I, also having knowingly killed Kathryn and Nadine Baird. In Count VI, the prosecution alleged, pursuant to I.C. 35-50-2-9(b)(8), the aggravating circumstance that appellant murdered Nadine Baird, also having knowingly killed Arthur Paul Baird, I and Kathryn Baird. Finally, the prosecution alleged in Count VII, pursuant to I.C. 35-50-2-9(b)(8), the aggravating circumstance that appellant murdered Kathryn Baird, also having knowingly killed Arthur Paul Baird, I and Nadine Baird.

On February 17, 1987, a jury returned verdicts of guilty as charged in Counts I through IV. A judgment of conviction was then entered. The jury reconvened the next day for the hearing regarding the sentencing recommendation. Following the presentation of evidence, the jury retired and then returned a verdict recommending that the death sentence be imposed for the murders of Arthur Paul Baird, I and Kathryn Baird, but recommending that the death sentence not be imposed for the murder of Nadine Baird.

Three weeks later the court held the sentencing hearing, during which the evidence and arguments were heard and concluded. The trial court then made an express and written finding that the State proved the aggravating circumstances to the court beyond a reasonable doubt. The court further concluded that the mitigating circumstances were outweighed by the single aggravating circumstance and ordered death on Counts II and III. The court also imposed a sixty-year sentence on Count I and an eight-year sentence on Count IV, to be served concurrently.

The evidence adduced at trial viewed most favorably to the verdict shows that the following events transpired. Appellant and his wife, Nadine, lived in a house trailer located on the forty-acre farm near Darlington, Indiana, that he jointly owned with his parents, Kathryn and Arthur Paul Baird, I. His parents lived in the farmhouse and appellant's maternal grandmother, Noradean Fleming, lived in another trailer on the property. At approximately 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. on September 6, 1985, appellant and Nadine were getting ready to drive to Crawfordsville to go shopping. They planned to visit with Nadine's parents, Lemoyne and Margaret Altic, after they finished, as was their habit on Friday evenings. Nadine was ready to leave before appellant and due to the heat she lay down on the bed and turned a portable fan on herself while she waited for him. After appellant finished getting ready, he walked back to the bedroom and strangled his wife with his hands, then tied a plaid shirt around her neck.

Nadine's parents called the trailer twice that evening. Around 6:00 p.m., appellant told her parents that they would not be visiting because Nadine was sick. The Altics were worried because Nadine was about six months pregnant and they wanted to check on her, but appellant told them not to come over because she had gone to bed. The Altics called back at 10:00 p.m., after also having called appellant's parents to inquire as to Nadine's health, at which time appellant told them that Nadine was still asleep.

Appellant spent the rest of the night in the trailer watching television, writing notes, and periodically lying down next to his wife's body to hold her. He went to his parent's house at about 7:00 a.m., finding them already awake. He fed the chickens and brought the newspaper to his father, and his mother gave him a hair cut. His father then went outside to the washhouse and his mother returned to the sink to finish making some pickles she had started. Appellant then grabbed her from behind, covered her mouth with one hand, reached for a butcher knife, and stabbed her several times in the abdomen and throat as she struggled and screamed for help. As soon as she fell to the floor he headed for the back door and met his father who was entering the house. Appellant mentioned something about a disturbance, and before his father could react appellant stabbed him in the abdomen and throat as the victim attempted to fight him off.

Appellant went back to the trailer and gathered items which he then loaded in his parent's car until the rear end nearly touched the ground. Margaret Altic called between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m., and appellant told her that Nadine was alright but still in bed. He stated that they were going to leave soon for their realtor's office to close the deal on a 253 acre farm that they had been attempting to purchase for approximately a year and that they would stop over afterwards. Mrs. Altic called again at 9:45 a.m. and appellant again told her that he was about to awaken Nadine and that they would come over after the closing.

Appellant left in his mother's loaded down car but turned around in a neighbor's driveway to come back for a pair of pliers that he thought he might need to open some canned food jars. He left again around 11:00 a.m., driving south toward Lagoda through Darlington and Crawfordsville and then on back roads to Huntingburg, where he was apprehended, two and one half hours from his home, at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 8th, while watching a softball game.

Appellant presents nineteen issues in this appeal.

I.

Appellant first contends that the state failed to prove he acted voluntarily, citing I.C. 35-41-2-1(a), which provides in pertinent part, "A person commits an offense only if he voluntarily engages in conduct in violation of the statute defining the offense." I.C. 35-41-2-1(a) appears to be the codification of the actus reus requirement, the absence of a voluntary act negating the act element of the offense definition.

Appellant is correct in stating that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused voluntarily engaged in conduct as an element of an offense. Appellant's analogy to the burden of proof with respect to "sudden heat" is useful. In that context, once there is evidence presented which raises the existence of sudden heat, the State has the burden of establishing the lack of sudden heat beyond a reasonable doubt. If the state fails to meet its burden, sudden heat mitigates what would otherwise be murder to voluntary manslaughter.

The State's burden with respect to voluntariness is similar. In most cases there is no issue of voluntariness and the State's burden is carried by proof of commission of the act itself. However, once evidence in the record raises the issue of voluntariness, the state must prove the defendant acted voluntarily beyond a reasonable doubt. Appellant contends that the evidence presented in his case provides a factual basis sufficient to raise the issue of voluntariness so as to require the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted voluntarily. We disagree.

Appellant has conflated the meaning of "voluntary act" with the concept of "irresistible impulse," which was formerly part of Indiana's insanity statute. I.C. 35-41-3-6. I.C. 35-41-3-6 was amended by P.L. 184-1984, Sec. 1, to eliminate the test of irresistible impulse: lacking substantial capacity to conform conduct to the requirements of law. The requirement of a voluntary act was meant to exclude from the kind of conduct which may be considered criminal that which, in the ordinary sense, occurs beyond the control of the actor such as convulsions and reflexes. Ind. Crim.Law Study Comm'n, Indiana Penal Code Proposed Final Draft, October 1974, at 12. See LaFave & Scott, Criminal Law 3.2; Model Penal Code 2.01(1). The evidence appellant points to as raising the issue of voluntariness thus actually would bear on the issue of "irresistible impulse," were that test still recognized as part of the insanity defense, but fails to provide a factual basis which would require the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant acted voluntarily.

II.

Appellant next contends that the jury's finding concerning appellant's insanity defense was contrary to law because appellant proved by a preponderance of the evidence that he was insane at the time of the crime, and because the jury was not properly instructed concerning "irresistible impulse." The jury was not properly instructed, appellant argues, because, despite the elimination of the irresistible impulse defense from our insanity statute, it would be unconstitutional not to recognize the defense, as its disallowance would unconstitutionally shift the burden of proof on mens rea to the defendant, in violation of Patterson v. New York, 432 U.S. 197, 97 S.Ct. 2319, 53 L.Ed.2d 281 (1977) (holding that a state may not require a defendant to prove an affirmative defense that negates an element of the crime).

When reviewing the claim on appeal that the verdict and finding of guilty are contrary to law because the...

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