Eddy v. State, No. 684S258

Docket NºNo. 684S258
Citation496 N.E.2d 24
Case DateAugust 01, 1986
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 24

496 N.E.2d 24
Lee Anthony EDDY, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 684S258.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Aug. 1, 1986.

Page 25

Michael A. Dvorak, South Bend, for appellant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen., Lisa M. Paunicka, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

SHEPARD, Justice.

Appellant Lee Anthony Eddy was tried before a jury and convicted of felony-murder, Ind.Code Sec. 35-42-1-1(2) (Burns 1979 Repl.), and of robbery, a class B felony, Ind.Code Sec. 35-42-5-1 (Burns 1979 Repl.). The trial court imposed consecutive terms of forty years and ten years, respectively.

We address the following three issues in this direct appeal:

(1) Whether the trial court abused its discretion by admitting allegedly gruesome photographs of the victim;

(2) Whether the trial court erroneously refused appellant's tendered instruction that a felony-murder charge requires that the homicide occur within the res gestae of the underlying robbery, and,

(3) Whether appellant may be sentenced for both felony-murder and the underlying felony.

The evidence favorable to the trial court's judgment showed that in the early morning hours of August 7, 1983, Gregory White and Peter Davis were sitting on a wall which bordered a river at Leeper Park in South Bend. Johnny Hunt and appellant approached and stood directly behind them. After a brief conversation, Hunt, armed with a gun, demanded money from White and Davis. Hunt placed the gun against Davis' head, told him to lie on the ground face down, and then took his money. Meanwhile, White gave his wallet to appellant

Page 26

and was pushed into the river. White then heard a gunshot. After White was sure the robbers had left, he climbed up onto the wall to discover his friend's body lying in a pool of blood.

During the investigation of the crime, appellant told Officer John T. Brassell that he owned the gun used to kill Davis and informed the officer where to find it. Brassell recovered the gun at the house of appellant's father. Appellant's former girlfriend, Laura O'Hara, identified State's exhibit four as defendant's gun.

In appellant's presence, Hunt admitted to an acquaintance that they had just shot a man at Leeper Park. Eddy had no response to his companion's declaration. Later, appellant admitted to O'Hara that they shot the decedent to get money to purchase liquor.

Dr. Lee Lehman, a pathologist, testified that the nature of the wound indicated that the gun was pressed against the back of decedent's head when it was fired. He determined that the bullet caused instantaneous death.

I. Gruesome Photographs

Appellant argues that the trial court erred by permitting the admission of allegedly gruesome photographs of the victim's body at the crime scene and at the morgue. He maintains the trial court abused its discretion because any relevancy of the photographs was outweighed by its prejudicial impact on the jury.

Defendant objected to the admission of State's Exhibit 21 (a photograph of decedent's left hand which was splattered with blood), Exhibit 22 (a photograph of decedent's body lying on the autopsy table), Exhibit 25 (a crime scene photograph of decedent's body lying in a pool of blood), Exhibit 26 (a crime scene photograph of decedent's upper body lying in a pool of blood), and Exhibit 31 (an x-ray of the decedent's brain or skull).

The pathologist identified Exhibit 21 as decedent's left hand. His examination of the hand revealed blood splatter marks on the back of the hand which indicated the hand was positioned on the back of the decedent's head when the gun was fired.

Exhibit 22 was identified by decedent's mother as a photograph of her son. The pathologist also identified this exhibit as a photograph of the Peter Davis who was the subject of the autopsy which he performed.

Morris Degeyter, the investigating officer, found Peter Davis' body at Leeper Park. He identified Exhibit 25 as the photograph of the body he found and Exhibit 26 as the upper portion of the body. White also identified Exhibit 25 as a photograph which depicted Davis' condition on August 7, 1983, after the assailants fled. The mother also identified Exhibit 26 as a photograph of her son.

The pathologist identified Exhibit 31 as an x-ray of the decedent's head, which indicated a bullet was located in the center of the victim's brain or skull. The pathologist referred to all exhibits, except the crime scene photographs, when he testified about the procedures used during the autopsy and explained how he determined the cause of death.

The decision to admit photographic evidence lies within the trial court's discretion and will be reversed only upon a showing that this discretion has been abused. Douglas v. State (1984), Ind., 464 N.E.2d 318. Autopsy photographs which depict the nature and extent of the decedent's wounds immediately following the murder are not rendered inadmissible solely on the bases of gruesomeness and repetition. Akins v. State (1981), Ind., 429 N.E.2d 232. Generally, a photograph is relevant and admissible if it depicts an object or scene which a witness would be permitted to describe through testimony. The potential that passions may be aroused by the gruesomeness of the photograph is not sufficient grounds for exclusion if the photograph is material and relevant. The trial court has abused its discretion only if there is a clear showing of imbalance between relevancy and tendency to inflame the passions of the jury due to the gruesomeness of the photographs admitted.

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50 practice notes
  • Woods v. State, No. 885
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 28, 1989
    ...offense of the other. In such circumstances, the conviction and sentence for the lesser offense is vacated. Eddy v. State (1986), Ind., 496 N.E.2d 24; Bevill v. State (1985), Ind., 472 N.E.2d 1247; Bean v. State (1978), 267 Ind. 528, 371 N.E.2d 713. We therefore hold that there is a basis i......
  • Burris v. Farley, No. 3:92cv0755 AS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • January 27, 1994
    ...intoxicated and causing death" contradicts this notion. See, e.g., Marshall v. State, 563 N.E.2d 1341 (Ind.App.1990). 7 In Eddy v. State, 496 N.E.2d 24 (Ind.1986), the Indiana Supreme Court indicated that the "felony murder statute must be construed in light of its purpose." Id. In so doing......
  • People v. Gillis, Docket No. 127194.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 5, 2006
    ...impracticable to ever convict for a murder committed in the perpetration of any of the [enumerated Page 427 felonies].'" Eddy v. State, 496 N.E.2d 24, 28 (Ind., 1986), quoting Bissot v. State, 53 Ind. 408, 412 In addition to its ordinary meaning, the phrase "in the perpetration of" has its ......
  • Griffin v. State, No. 18S02-9910-CR-505.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 1, 1999
    ...154, 157 (Ind.1996); Moore v. State, 652 N.E.2d 53, 59 (Ind.1995); Swafford v. State, 498 N.E.2d 1188, 1191 (Ind. 1986); Eddy v. State, 496 N.E.2d 24, 29 (Ind.1986); Williams v. State, 426 N.E.2d 662, 670 (Ind.1981); Mitchell v. State, 270 Ind. 4, 7, 382 N.E.2d 932, 934 (1978) ("The United ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
50 cases
  • Woods v. State, No. 885
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 28, 1989
    ...offense of the other. In such circumstances, the conviction and sentence for the lesser offense is vacated. Eddy v. State (1986), Ind., 496 N.E.2d 24; Bevill v. State (1985), Ind., 472 N.E.2d 1247; Bean v. State (1978), 267 Ind. 528, 371 N.E.2d 713. We therefore hold that there is a basis i......
  • Burris v. Farley, No. 3:92cv0755 AS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • January 27, 1994
    ...intoxicated and causing death" contradicts this notion. See, e.g., Marshall v. State, 563 N.E.2d 1341 (Ind.App.1990). 7 In Eddy v. State, 496 N.E.2d 24 (Ind.1986), the Indiana Supreme Court indicated that the "felony murder statute must be construed in light of its purpose." Id. In so doing......
  • People v. Gillis, Docket No. 127194.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 5, 2006
    ...impracticable to ever convict for a murder committed in the perpetration of any of the [enumerated Page 427 felonies].'" Eddy v. State, 496 N.E.2d 24, 28 (Ind., 1986), quoting Bissot v. State, 53 Ind. 408, 412 In addition to its ordinary meaning, the phrase "in the perpetration of" has its ......
  • Griffin v. State, No. 18S02-9910-CR-505.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 1, 1999
    ...154, 157 (Ind.1996); Moore v. State, 652 N.E.2d 53, 59 (Ind.1995); Swafford v. State, 498 N.E.2d 1188, 1191 (Ind. 1986); Eddy v. State, 496 N.E.2d 24, 29 (Ind.1986); Williams v. State, 426 N.E.2d 662, 670 (Ind.1981); Mitchell v. State, 270 Ind. 4, 7, 382 N.E.2d 932, 934 (1978) ("The United ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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