Bruce v. State

Decision Date19 April 1978
Docket NumberNos. 1075,s. 1075
Parties, 1 A.L.R.4th 616 Sandy Paul BRUCE, Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee (two cases). S 261, 776 S 227.
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

Terry E. Johnston, Valparaiso, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Susan J. Davis, David L. Steiner, Deputy Attys. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

DeBRULER, Justice.

Appellant has perfected separate appeals from conviction of two counts of first degree murder, Ind.Code § 35-13-4-1 (Burns 1975), repealed October 1, 1977, (No. 1075 S 261) and of rape, § 35-13-4-3 (Burns 1975), and armed rape, § 35-12-1-1 (Burns 1975) both repealed October 1, 1977, (No. 776 S 227). We have consolidated these appeals because several issues require a consideration of the circumstances of both cases.

On February 4, 1974, an elderly couple, Stanley and Lillian Machin, were murdered in their Beverly Shores, Indiana, home. Appellant, a Michigan City resident, was arrested on February 12 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, by the F.B.I. He was charged with two counts of (premeditated) first degree murder by indictments filed in the Porter Superior Court. Appellant entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. He filed a motion for change of venue from the county, which was denied. Appellant was tried by jury from April 7-14, 1975, and was found guilty as charged. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on each conviction.

On December 7, 1973, a man had entered a house near the Machin residence, held a man and woman at gunpoint, and raped the woman. After appellant was returned to Indiana upon his arrest he appeared in a line-up and was identified by the victims of this incident. The rape victim testified at appellant's murder trial regarding the December 7 offenses. Appellant was charged with rape and armed rape on March 6, 1974. His motion for change of venue was granted and the case was transferred to Cass County. Appellant was tried by jury in the Cass Circuit Court on February 3 and 4, 1976, found guilty as charged, and sentenced to an indeterminate term of two to twenty-one years for the rape and a determinate term of twenty-five years for the armed rape, these sentences to run consecutively.

The facts relating to the Machin murders are as follows. The Machins lived in Beverly Shores, a community on the Lake Michigan shore consisting largely of summer homes. On February 3, 1974, the Machins were visited by their son, who last saw them alive that evening. In the early morning hours of February 4, a man appeared at the home of James Whitehouse, superintendent of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and a neighbor of the Machins. The man told the Whitehouses that he had been in an automobile accident in which his wife had been trapped, but left before the Whitehouses could call the police. A Beverly Shores town marshal whom Mr. Whitehouse called found a Chevrolet pick-up truck sitting abandoned in a ditch in the Beverly Shores area. The truck was registered to Mrs. Alicefaye Bruce, appellant's wife.

Later that day a Mercury Cougar automobile registered to Stanley Machin was found, apparently abandoned, in Michigan City near appellant's house. The Michigan City police unsuccessfully tried to telephone the Machins to inquire about the car. On the afternoon of February 5 a Michigan City detective and a Beverly Shores marshal went to the Machin residence. They found the bodies of Stanley Machin, 75, and his wife, Lillian, 71. Mr. Machin was bound with a blanket and telephone cord and was lying on a couch; Mrs. Machin lay naked on a bed in another room. Both died of massive shotgun wounds to the head, and a spent shotgun shell lay near each body. The time of their deaths could not be established with certainty. A deputy coroner believed that the deaths occurred between mid-morning and mid-evening of February 4, but possibly earlier. A forensic pathologist found little evidence from which to fix the time of death, but upon being pressed for an opinion gave noon of February 5.

Appellant's fingerprints were discovered on the Machins' refrigerator and the interior of their Cougar. Mrs. Whitehouse identified appellant as the man who came to her house claiming to have been in an accident. Police and F.B.I. agents went to appellant's Michigan City residence, the home of Mrs. Bruce's mother, and although appellant was not there, Mrs. Bruce gave them some men's clothing, a box of shotgun shells, and a ring of car keys from appellant's bedroom. They found a shotgun, purchased by Mrs. Bruce and bearing appellant's fingerprints, in the garage. The shotgun was loaded with several live shells. These, together with the shells obtained from Mrs. Bruce and the spent shells found at the scene of the killings, were all high brass-based, twelve gauge Winchester & Western, number six shot. One of the spent shells found in the Machin home was identified by an F.B.I. firearms expert as having been fired from the shotgun found in the garage. The clothing contained particles of glass which another F.B.I. technician testified matched broken glass found in the Machin kitchen. The car keys fit the ignition and locks of the Cougar.

Around noon of February 4 appellant closed his savings account in a Michigan City bank, withdrawing one thousand dollars in cash. He traveled to Alabama and obtained a job on a tugboat, where he was arrested by the F.B.I. on February 12.

The events involved in the rape offenses occurred some two months earlier on December 7, 1973. William Dunne, who was renting a Beverly Shores house near the Machin house, was having dinner with CEP, a young woman of his acquaintance, that evening. He answered a knock at the door and found appellant aiming a shotgun at him. Appellant entered the house and ripped out the two telephones. He told the young couple that he was a Mafia killer sent to kill someone named "Ron", who was not there, and intimated that he would kill them instead. He bound Dunne with the telephone cord as Dunne lay on a bed, then took CEP to another bedroom. Appellant had CEP disrobe and raped her on a couch. Then he bound her with strips torn from a blanket, left the house for one and one-half minutes, and returned to rape her again. He left the house, having spent about one and one-half hours there.

In his appeal from his murder convictions, No. 1075 S 261, appellant raises numerous issues, which we have regrouped and renumbered.

(1) Propriety of the trial court's disposition of appellant's motion to dismiss the indictment for lack of jurisdiction, and sufficiency of the evidence to show jurisdiction;

(2) Denial of appellant's motion for change of venue from the county on grounds of prejudicial publicity and alleged trial court misconduct in the hearing thereon;

(3) Timeliness and sufficiency of the State's response to appellant's notice of intent to offer alibi evidence;

(4) Failure of the trial court to conduct hearings on appellant's motions to suppress identification testimony;

(5) Adequacy of the remedy provided appellant for the State's failure to disclose two photographs and the name of a witness pursuant to a trial court discovery order;

(6) Failure of the trial court to conduct hearings on appellant's motions to suppress evidence of appellant's fingerprinting while in custody and of a search of a pick-up truck owned by appellant's wife;

(7) Failure of the trial court to inquire into possible prejudice engendered among the jurors by several newspaper articles published during trial;

(8) Alleged trial court misconduct during the examination of witnesses at trial;

(9) Failure of the trial court to inquire into possible prejudice engendered among the jurors by the fainting of a spectator during trial;

(10) Failure of the trial court to inquire into possible prejudice engendered by jurors overhearing conversation in the audience during trial;

(11) Failure of the trial court to inquire into possible prejudice engendered among the jurors by the entry of the bailiff into the jury room during deliberations to make coffee;

(12) Admissibility of a shotgun seized by police from a garage used by appellant;

(13) Admissibility of clothing, shotgun shells, and keys obtained by police from appellant's wife;

(14) Adequacy of the chain-of-custody and relevancy of several items of evidence;

(15) Admissibility of evidence suggesting that Mrs. Machin had been raped by her murderer, and showing that appellant had raped a woman two months earlier under circumstances asserted to be similar;

(16) Admissibility of evidence that appellant went to Alabama around the time of the murders, and propriety of an instruction on flight;

(17) Refusal of the trial court to declare a mistrial because of prosecutorial misconduct and evidentiary harpoons;

(18) Sufficiency of the evidence of appellant's identity and of the element of premeditation; variances between the pleadings and proof;

(19) Propriety of instructions defining malice and premeditation;

(20) Deletion by the trial court of part of appellant's instruction on the consideration of fingerprint evidence;

(21) Refusal of appellant's tendered instruction on the presumption raised by failure to produce available witnesses and evidence;

(22) Refusal of part of appellant's tendered instruction on the State's burden of proof;

(23) Eligibility of appellant for treatment as a criminal sexual deviant in lieu of punishment for appellant's murder convictions.

In his appeal of his rape and armed rape convictions, No. 776 S 227, appellant raises three additional issues:

(24) Overruling of appellant's motion to suppress the identification testimony of the State's witnesses because of their confrontation with appellant in a pre-trial line-up allegedly conducted;

(a) in contravention of appellant's right to the presence and assistance of counsel; and

(b) during an illegal detention of appellant;

(25) Subjection of appellant to...

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