Graham v. State

Decision Date21 March 1989
Docket NumberNo. 49S00-8802-CR-205,49S00-8802-CR-205
Citation535 N.E.2d 1152
PartiesJerry GRAHAM, Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

Reginald B. Bishop, Roberts & Bishop, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen., Mary Dreyer, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

GIVAN, Justice.

A jury trial resulted in appellant's conviction of Voluntary Manslaughter, a Class B felony, for which he received a sentence of fifteen (15) years.

The facts are: On April 19, 1987, Iva Smith, her daughter Paula Royster, and her granddaughter Casandra Royster were eating dinner at Iva's home in Indianapolis when Paula received a telephone call from her friend Arlee. Iva heard Paula say, "Well, Arlee, I'm not going to quit walking the streets because Jerry is running up and down the streets with a gun." Paula had stopped living with Jerry Graham, appellant in this case, and recently had moved in with Iva.

Soon thereafter, Iva, Paula, and Casandra all got into Iva's car to go to a relative's house. Before they had emerged from their parking space, appellant drove up and positioned his car to block Iva's. Seeing that appellant had a gun, Casandra rolled up the car window and appellant said, "Paula, I want to talk to you." He then fired the gun several times at Paula, got back into his car, and drove away. Paula died at the hospital from four gunshot wounds.

Appellant testified that previous to the shooting, he had experienced harassment from Paula due to his involvement with another woman, and Paula had stolen his car and had shot at him on several occasions.

Appellant argues the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. At trial, Iva and Casandra testified about the shooting. Appellant asserts the State failed to prove that Paula Royster, who was the subject of the coroner's report, was the same person about whom Iva and Cassandra testified at trial and was listed as the victim in the information.

We will not reweigh the evidence or judge the credibility of the witnesses. Alfaro v. State (1985), Ind., 478 N.E.2d 670.

The record in appellant's case shows that the victim's mother and daughter were eyewitnesses to the shooting and identified Paula Royster as the victim. Three neighbors who were sitting on their front porch saw the shooting and identified the same Paula Royster as the victim. The police officer who was the first to arrive at the scene of the incident testified that he found the victim in her mother's car, and an ambulance took her to the hospital. The Marion County Coroner's report stated that 32-year-old Paula Royster died of multiple gunshot wounds.

From the evidence, the jury may have reasonably inferred that Paula Royster named in the information was the same person who was the subject of the witnesses' testimony and the coroner's report. Phillips v. State (1982), Ind., 436 N.E.2d 1123. The evidence is sufficient to sustain appellant's conviction.

Appellant argues his conviction must be reversed due to the erroneous admission of his inculpatory statements made to police.

Indianapolis Police Officer Wheeler testified that on April 19, 1987 appellant walked into police headquarters and said he wanted to turn himself in because he shot somebody. After appellant identified himself, he was placed under arrest, advised of his Miranda rights, and he responded that he understood his rights. Appellant then stated that he knew where the gun was and he would have to show them its location, so police drove him to the scene of the shooting. As they got nearer the location, appellant asked them to not drive to the area of the shooting because Paula's family may be there, but they drove through the crime scene anyway. Appellant became nervous and repeatedly asked about Paula's condition. When police asked appellant why he shot Paula Royster, he responded because he loved her and they were having trouble.

Appellant claims his confession was involuntary and a product of police coercion. He states that he did not make any inculpatory statements while he was in the safety of the police station, but by driving near the crime scene, police placed him in a position which he believed to be personally perilous and caused him to become agitated and unnerved. He also asserts that because his waiver of Miranda rights occurred hours earlier, no proper waiver of rights was made pertaining to the statements made in the police car.

The question of whether a confession was voluntary is one for the trial court upon their determination of the totality of the circumstances. Upon review, this Court will not reweigh the evidence nor judge the credibility of the witnesses. Brown v. State (1985), Ind., 485 N.E.2d 108.

The record shows that appellant walked into the police station and announced his confession that he shot someone. At that time, he was not in custody or deprived of his freedom in any way; thus, the Miranda safeguards do not apply to his voluntary confession. Scott v. State (1987), Ind., 510 N.E.2d 170.

Appellant's claim that his Miranda rights should have been reread to him is without merit. Once a suspect has been given his Miranda rights and he has waived them, that advisement need not be repeated so long as circumstances attending any interruption or adjournment of process are such that the suspect has not been deprived of the opportunity to make an informed and intelligent assessment of his interests involved in the interrogation, including the right to cut off questioning. Moredock v. State (1987), Ind., 514 N.E.2d 1247.

Appellant provided information on his...

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  • Clark v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • May 19, 2004
    ...required by the life without parole statute. The finding of mitigating factors is within the trial court's discretion. Graham v. State, 535 N.E.2d 1152, 1155 (Ind.1989). However, "[w]hen the trial court's sentencing statement fails to discuss or evaluate the mitigating circumstances and fai......
  • Meisberger v. State, 53A01-9307-CR-243
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • September 26, 1994
    ...denied, 402 U.S. 930, 91 S.Ct. 1525, 28 L.Ed.2d 863; Scott v. State (1980), Ind.App., 409 N.E.2d 1184, 1189. See also Graham v. State (1989), Ind., 535 N.E.2d 1152; Phillips v. State (1982), Ind., 436 N.E.2d 1123; Eiffe v. State (1948), 226 Ind. 57, 77 N.E.2d 750. Any lack of certainty as t......
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    ...certainly supports a finding of custody, it is not conclusive. United States v. Hudgens, 798 F.2d 1234 (9th Cir.1986); Graham v. State, 535 N.E.2d 1152 (Ind.1989); State v. Perkins, 444 N.W.2d 34 (S.D.1989). Moreover, in Horn, it does not appear that either the district court or this court ......
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    ...of the defendant's fear of the victim. Holder, 571 N.E.2d at 1254; Phillips v. State, 550 N.E.2d 1290, 1297 (Ind.1990); Graham v. State, 535 N.E.2d 1152, 1154 (Ind.1989). In the present case, Brand's offer of testimony that Lickliter sold drugs, was a member of a gang, and had previously of......
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