Coy v. State, 20A-CR-358

Case DateNovember 13, 2020
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Braidan Coy, Appellant-Defendant,

State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

No. 20A-CR-358

Court of Appeals of Indiana

November 13, 2020

Pursuant to Ind. Appellate Rule 65(D), this Memorandum Decision shall not be regarded as precedent or cited before any court except for the purpose of establishing the defense of res judicata, collateral estoppel, or the law of the case.

Appeal from the Floyd Superior Court The Honorable Susan L. Orth, Judge No. 22D01-1904-F3-706

Attorney for Appellant R. Thomas Lowe Lowe Law Office New Albany, Indiana

Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Ian McLean Supervising Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana



Case Summary

[¶1] Braidan Coy appeals his conviction for level 1 felony attempted murder, arguing that the admission of a redacted video of his police interview resulted in reversible error. First, he contends that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting the video because he was not afforded meaningful consultation with his parent as required by the juvenile waiver statute, Indiana Code Section 31-32-5-1, and therefore the waiver of his constitutional rights was invalid. Second, he contends that the admission of the video constitutes fundamental error because neither he nor his mother knowingly and voluntarily waived his constitutional rights. Because Coy has failed to provide a record from which we can adequately address these claims, we conclude that they are waived. Therefore, we affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2] On February 27, 2019, seventeen-year-old Coy spent the day with his friend John Wheeler, who drove a silver Ford F150 pickup truck. Around 9:00 or 9:30 p.m., Wheeler drove them to Wheeler's New Albany home, where he lived with his mother Brandi Spencer and her husband. Wheeler and Coy decided to sleep in Wheeler's truck, which they often did. Spencer was home and saw them come inside the house to get some blankets. Coy and Wheeler then returned to the truck, which was parked in an area off a paved roadway adjacent to his house. They sat in the truck talking about Wheeler going into the Marines and Coy going to Colorado, with Wheeler sitting in the driver's seat wrapped in a blanket, and Coy sitting in the passenger's seat. Wheeler decided to go to sleep, and he put his glasses on the dashboard, but he did not take off his hat.

[¶3] Wheeler woke up when he felt something running down the right side of his neck. He put his hand to his neck and felt something warm shooting out of his neck. Coy was sitting in the passenger's seat, looking at Wheeler. Wheeler asked Coy for help, but Coy said, "I don't know what to do[, ]" and left. Tr. Vol. 4 at 38. Wheeler located his cell phone on the center console and made a 911 call at about 10:00 p.m. Wheeler was able to communicate to the dispatcher that he needed an ambulance, but he was unable to give his address. The 911 dispatcher used the phone number that Wheeler was calling from to determine his address, and police were dispatched to Wheeler's home. While Wheeler was waiting for help, he kept his hand on his neck, and he tried to reach for his first aid kit in the passenger-side door. Then, he lost consciousness.

[¶4] New Albany Police Officer Ronald Gaines was the first to arrive at Wheeler's home. As Officer Gaines arrived, he noticed a silver Ford F150 pickup on the side of the road. Officer Gaines and another police officer went to the home's front door and spoke with Spencer, who seemed puzzled and asked why the police were there. Officer Gaines explained that a male had made a 911 call and told Spencer the last four digits of the phone number that had made the call. Spencer recognized the number as Wheeler's, but her attempts to call and text him were unsuccessful. The officers asked Spencer about Wheeler's vehicle, and she told them that he drove a silver Ford. The officers then asked her whether they could check on the silver Ford that Officer Gaines had noticed, and she agreed.

[¶5] As the two officers and Spencer walked toward the truck, one of the officers pointed his flashlight at the truck, and the truck horn sounded. They ran to the truck, but the driver's-side door was locked, and the truck's windows were fogged up. Officer Gaines went around to the passenger's side and saw blood on the outside of the door near the handle. He found that door unlocked, opened it, and saw someone in the driver's seat and blood on the inside of the truck. Officer Gaines unlocked all the truck's doors by pressing the unlock button on the inside of the door and returned to the driver's side.

[¶6] The officers opened the driver's-side door and found Wheeler slumped over and "covered in blood." Tr. Vol. 2 at 176. He was wrapped in a blanket and wearing a hat. Although Wheeler was conscious, he was unable to speak or help the officers as they removed him from the truck. As Officer Gaines lifted Wheeler out of the truck and laid him on the ground, Officer Gaines saw a five-to six-inch stream of blood pouring out of Wheeler's neck. Officer Gaines believed Wheeler's carotid artery had been injured and pinched the artery to stem the bleeding. One of the officers asked Wheeler if he had been shot or stabbed, and Wheeler made a stabbing motion. When EMTs arrived, they examined Wheeler for injuries and found a knife in a leather sheath hanging from his belt on his left hip. Because patients are not transported with weapons, the EMTs removed the knife and gave it to Officer Gaines.

[¶7] Wheeler was taken to a hospital emergency room, where doctors found that his carotid artery had been severed, which is a life-threatening injury. Doctors also found that Wheeler's vagus nerve, which controls muscles that affect speech, had been severed. Toxicology screens are regularly performed on patients entering the emergency room, but Wheeler's hospital records do not contain any positive screens for alcohol. Due to the severity of his injuries, Wheeler suffered a stroke that night, leaving the left side of his body paralyzed. Wheeler remained in the hospital for two weeks and was then transferred to a rehabilitation facility for therapy to help him regain control of the left side of his body.

[¶8] Meanwhile, police found another knife, identical to Wheeler's, on the driver's-side floorboard of the truck. The second knife was "heavily stained" with blood. Tr. Vol. 3 at 200. Police later learned that Coy and Wheeler had bought the knives together, so that they could have matching knives. Tr. Vol. 4 at 2, 29-30, 110-11. Photographs of the truck show blood on the steering wheel, passenger's-side dashboard and door, and the outside of the front passenger door near the door handle; blood-stained blankets on the driver's side; eyeglasses lying on the center of the dashboard; a phone cord lying on the truck's console; a hat lying on the passenger's side of the dashboard; and a partially filled cup with a lid and straw attached sitting in a cup holder affixed to the center of the truck's dashboard. Subsequent DNA testing of blood samples showed that the blood was Wheeler's.

[¶9] On February 28, 2019, at 6:00 a.m., Mitzie Browning found Coy sleeping in the hallway outside her apartment. She recognized him as an acquaintance of her daughter Carrie Pettay. Browning woke up Coy and drove him to the apartment where he lived with his mother Cynthia Coy.

[¶10] As police continued to investigate what led to Wheeler's injury, they learned Cynthia's phone number and address. New Albany Police Detective Carrie East located Coy at that address and brought him to the New Albany Police Department.[1] Tr. Vol. 3 at 65-67. Coy was handcuffed and placed in an interview room, which was equipped with a video recording device. Coy's police interview was recorded, and a redacted version was admitted at his trial and published to the jury as State's Exhibit 13.

[¶11] Exhibit 13 shows that for approximately forty minutes, Coy waited in the interview room for his mother to arrive. During that time, Detective East entered the room to swab Coy's fingers and bring him a sandwich and a drink. While she was swabbing his fingers, she asked him whether he was on probation and whether he was right-handed. Coy's mother finally arrived, and she and Coy spoke privately for about three minutes in the room, but that three-minute section was redacted for trial. The video resumes when Detective East reentered the room and began the interview. Detective East advised Coy and his mother of Coy's Miranda rights, and Coy and his mother executed a waiver of juvenile Miranda rights.[2] Detective East then asked Coy to tell her what he did the previous day. Coy stated that he was with Wheeler early the previous day, but Wheeler dropped him off at an unknown address around 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. Coy also said that around 6:00 or 7:00 p.m., he walked over to Browning's apartment, received her permission to spend the night, watched a movie, and went to sleep on the couch. About thirty minutes into the interview, Detective East informed Coy that Wheeler had been injured the previous day and that an eyewitness placed Coy with Wheeler twenty minutes before the 911 call. Coy then told Detective East that he and Wheeler were drinking in Wheeler's truck, and as Coy was falling asleep, Wheeler put a knife to his throat, and Coy disarmed Wheeler. Tr. Vol. 3 at 117; State's Ex. 13, 13:15-13:17.

[¶12] Photographs taken after the interview reveal that Coy did not have any recent wounds or marks. Tr. Vol. 3 at 183-88, State's Exs. 11A-Q18. Also after the interview, Coy's clothing and shoes were confiscated. One of Coy's shoes had blood on it, which subsequent DNA analysis identified as Wheeler's.

[¶13] On April 17, 2019, after Coy's case was waived from juvenile jurisdiction to adult jurisdiction, the State filed an information charging him with level 3 felony...

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