Chambers v. State, 178S8

CourtSupreme Court of Indiana
Citation271 Ind. 357,392 N.E.2d 1156
Docket NumberNo. 178S8,178S8
PartiesCharles Michael CHAMBERS, Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
Decision Date08 August 1979

Page 1156

392 N.E.2d 1156
271 Ind. 357
Charles Michael CHAMBERS, Appellant,
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 178S8.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Aug. 8, 1979.

[271 Ind. 358] Harriette Bailey Conn, Public Defender, Howard N. Bernstein, Deputy Public Defender, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Page 1157

Theo. L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Michael Gene Worden, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

PIVARNIK, Justice.

On December 9, 1975, defendant was found guilty by a jury of first degree murder in the Harrison County Circuit Court. Special Judge Max Apple sentenced the defendant to life imprisonment on December 19, 1975.

Defendant-appellant raises five issues for our review, as follows:

1. Whether the trial court erred in allowing into evidence defendant's statements and testimony regarding defendant's statements.

2. Whether the trial court erred in admitting into evidence State's Exhibit 2(b), a tape recording of defendant's statement of September 30, 1974.

3. Whether the trial court erred in sustaining the State's objection to questions propounded on cross-examination by defendant regarding pending unrelated criminal charges against a State's witness.

4. Whether the trial court erred in admitting into evidence certain photographs of the scene and of the body of the deceased.

[271 Ind. 359] 5. Whether the evidence is sufficient to establish malice and premeditation.

The evidence demonstrated that Floyd Jordan and his wife operated a security business from their home. Mrs. Jordan monitored the police radio while her husband was on patrol. At approximately 3:00 a. m. on the morning of September 27, 1974, Floyd Jordan came across a suspicious vehicle at the Morgan School construction site. Jordan reported by radio to his wife that he was at Stop 656, the Morgan School Barrymore Construction site, and transmitted a license number and description of a car he observed at the stop. Mrs. Jordan made a written record of this conversation and switched to another radio channel which permitted her to monitor all communications at the scene over a police scanner radio. He stated that the car he found on the scene was a yellow-gold 1964 Ford Galaxie bearing license number 31 A 8942, and that the car was still warm. He further reported that there was gasoline running from a hose in the tank onto the ground and that he saw no one at the scene at that time. He was later heard to state on the radio that he had been shot.

Police officers investigating the incident found Mr. Jordan in his truck. He was dead, but was still holding the radio microphone in his hand. It appeared that he had been shot with a shotgun. The Harrison County coroner testified that Jordan had died as a result of three shotgun wounds. Near his body was found a piece of paper on which was written the license number given by Mr. Jordan in the radio conversation with his wife. This piece of paper matched the pages of a small notebook found on the seat next to the body. The license number was the number issued to the vehicle that belonged to defendant-appellant Chambers.

Wesley Mosier, a half-brother of the appellant, testified at trial that he and Chambers had gone to the Morgan School Construction site in the early morning hours of September 27, 1974, to steal gasoline. When they observed the vehicle approaching, he and Chambers ran and hid. Mosier ran into a field and heard first one and then two other gun shots. He returned to the car and found Chambers standing between the car and the security truck. Chambers said they should leave the area, so they left immediately. Mosier further testified that Chambers had had [271 Ind. 360] a shotgun in the trunk of his car when this incident began, and that the shotgun was in the back seat of the car when they left the scene.


Appellant moved to suppress his statements and admissions to the police on the grounds that his statements were not voluntarily given and that he was not afforded his Miranda rights. The motion to suppress was overruled and several officers were permitted to testify at trial as to the statements and admissions made by Chambers.

Page 1158

At the motion to suppress hearing on December 1, testimony was taken from ten law enforcement officers and one probation officer.

Officer Kenneth Spencer testified that he advised defendant orally of all of his Miranda rights prior to, during and subsequent to his arrest at his home, but that these warnings were never reduced to written form nor attested to by Chambers. Spencer said that Chambers indicated to him that he understood his rights and that Chambers made no request for an attorney, or any other request based on the warnings presented to him. Officer Spencer's testimony was corroborated by other police officers. Chambers subsequently made statements to several of the officers indicating that he was involved in the incident and that he had, in fact, shot Jordan.

Officer Maxey, a State Police detective, testified that he interviewed the appellant on several occasions. After being advised of all of his Miranda rights, Chambers admitted to Maxey that he and Wesley Mosier were at the school site siphoning gasoline into a can, from which he would pour it into his automobile's fuel tank. He admitted he had his shotgun leaning against the car and shells for it in his pocket. When the Chevrolet truck driven by Jordan came into the construction site, both Chambers and Mosier ran and Chambers hid behind some piles of dirt. He loaded the shells into the gun and came out from hiding and moved toward the truck. The door of the truck was open and Jordan was sitting on the seat and shining a spotlight on Chambers. He stated that he thought Jordan had a gun in his hand so he, Chambers, pulled up and shot at Jordan with the shotgun. He heard Jordan say, "I've been shot," and he then kept going toward him, shooting him two times more. He then shouted for Mosier and told him they had to get out of there. [271 Ind. 361] He went to the truck, shut off the ignition and spotlight, took the keys and closed the door. He then attempted to find the spent shells on the ground to take them with him, but Mosier told him to leave them and get out of there immediately, and he did so.

During the first day of his arrest on September 27, appellant was taken before a Justice of the Peace on a preliminary charge filed against him. This was done within six hours of his arrest. Officer Lutgring testified that as he was taking Wesley Mosier to a cell in the jail, he passed appellant Chambers' cell. Chambers stated at that time that he wanted to talk about the incident to Officer Lutgring and told him that he did the shooting. The Officer told appellant that he did not want to talk and that Chambers should talk to Officer Maxey if he wished to say anything.

Wayne Buchinsky was the Harrison County Probation Officer and had known...

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44 cases
  • Drollinger v. State, 778S146
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Indiana
    • August 26, 1980 determined by inquiry as to whether a witness would be permitted to describe verbally the objects photographed. Chambers v. State, (1979) Ind., 392 N.E.2d 1156, 1160; Porter v. State, (1979) Ind., 391 N.E.2d 801, 813; Grooms v. State, (1978) Ind., 379 N.E.2d 458, 463; Wilson v. State, su......
  • Dixon v. State, 181S7
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Indiana
    • July 30, 1982
    ...doubt. Willard v. State, (1980) Ind., 400 N.E.2d 151, 160; Love v. State, (1979) Ind., 393 N.E.2d 178, 180; Chambers v. State, (1979) Ind., 392 N.E.2d 1156, 1161. As we have already indicated above, Officer Evans observed defendant removing one of the boxes of merchandise from the Daily Del......
  • Wells v. State, 282S63
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 12, 1982
    ...N.E.2d 558. The fact such photographs may be gruesome does not affect their admissibility if they fit within the rule. Chambers v. State, (1979) Ind., 392 N.E.2d 1156. In the case at bar testimony from the pathologist who performed the autopsies was admitted into evidence. The photographs s......
  • Loy v. State, 981S236
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Indiana
    • July 8, 1982
    ...details. Drollinger v. State, (1980) Ind., 408 N.E.2d 1228, 1237; Bond v. State, (1980) Ind., 403 N.E.2d 812, 817; Chambers v. State, (1979) Ind., 392 N.E.2d 1156, 1160; Rogers v. State, (1979) Ind., 383 N.E.2d 1035, 1036; Crane v. State, supra; Hoover v. State, (1978) 268 Ind. 566, 571, 37......
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