Hunt v. State, No. 672S84

Docket NºNo. 672S84
Citation296 N.E.2d 116, 260 Ind. 375
Case DateMay 16, 1973
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 116

296 N.E.2d 116
260 Ind. 375
Dennis HUNT, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 672S84.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
May 16, 1973.

Page 117

Richard C. Brunt, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Theo. L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Anthony J. Metz, III, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellee.

[260 Ind. 376] HUNTER, Justice.

This is an appeal by Dennis Hunt, appellant (defendant below), from a conviction for First Degree Murder. Appellant was charged by indictment with the offense of killing a human being while in the commission of first degree arson, and entered a plea of not guilty. Trial was to a jury which returned a verdict of guilty, and appellant was sentenced to the Indiana State Prison for life. Appellant filed a Motion to Correct Errors which was overruled and this appeal followed.

This appeal presents three issues:

(1) Whether the evidence was sufficient to support the verdict;

(2) Whether the trial court erred in overruling appellant's objection to permitting a State's witness, Robert Gates, to testify when his name was not included on the State's list of witnesses; and

(3) Whether the trial court committed reversible error by failing to instruct the jury concerning appellant's failure to testify.

Appellant makes two major assertions in his argument that the evidence was insufficient. First, the evidence was insufficient to show that appellant started the fire. Secondly, the State failed to established that Dorothy Gates died in the fire. When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, this Court will not weigh the evidence nor determine the credibility of witnesses. Only that evidence most favorable to the State and the reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom will be considered. As long as there is substantial evidence of probative value sufficient to establish every material element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the verdict will not be disturbed. Jackson v. State (1971), Ind., 275 N.E.2d 538.

The evidence most favorable to the State is as follows. At 6:00 p.m. on November 7, 1970, appellant and his wife, Treva Hunt, were drinking in a bar in Indianapolis. Appellant [260 Ind. 377] left his wife at the bar and went home to clean up, returning around 9:00 p.m. At about that time, Dorothy Gates, a live-in baby sitter who cared for the Hunts' child, joined the Hunts. The Hunts' child had been taken to spend the night with friends. The three drank beer until about midnight when Treva and Dorothy

Page 118

went home. Appellant returned home about a half hour later. The three talked for a while and at about 1:30 or 2:00 a.m., Treva and Dorothy went to bed upstairs while appellant went to sleep on the couch downstairs. At about 4:00 a.m., the police came to give aid to a Paul Golay, who was ill. The Hunts' home was double and Mr. Golay lived in the other half. While aiding Mr. Golay, one of the officers heard an argument concerning drinking and money problems, coming from the Hunts' residence. The officer went next door and asked the Hunts to keep it down. The police then left and the Hunts went back to bed.

Later that morning, Treva and Dorothy were awakened by appellant's cries of warning that a fire had been started. Treva and Dorothy were unable to escape by means of the stairs, so they tried to exit out of a window onto the roof over the porch. Treva took Dorothy's hand, but while moving toward the window Dorothy's hand slipped from Treva's hand. Dorothy was a large woman and Treva was unable to help her. Treva continued to the window, kicked out the glass and escaped. Treva Hunt testified that Dorothy did not escape from the fire and was dead when the firemen arrived.

An autopsy was performed on the body of a person identified as Dorothy Gates by her husband, Robert Gates. The doctor who performed the autopsy testified that Dorothy Gates died from smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning and theremal burns.

One arson investigator who qualified as an expert, started an investigation into the cause of the fire immediately after the flames were extinguished. A window frame in the living room had 'rolling blisters' which is caused when moisture is rapidly removed from the wood, indicating a rapid build-up [260 Ind. 378] of heat. Most fires leave small blisters produced when moisture is slowly taken from the wood. Holes with rolled edges were found in an erratic pattern on the floor. A slow burning fire would not cause such holes. 'Fire seats' (areas of the origin of a fire) were located at the base and on both sides of the stairway. A fire would only come from both sides of a stairway if some combustible was located in both places. A burning cigarette would not cause such a burn pattern. A sofa in the living room was consumed by the flames to the extent that the springs...

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15 practice notes
  • Thomas v. State, No. 2--1073A211
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 1, 1975
    ...State (1975), Ind., 325 N.E.2d 173, 174; Martin v. State (1974), Ind., 306 N.E.2d 93, [164 Ind.App. 652] 94; Hunt v. State (1973), Ind., 296 N.E.2d 116, 120; Bonds v. State (1972), 258 Ind. 241, 280 N.E.2d 313, 315--316; Summerlin v. State (1971), 256 Ind. 652, 271 N.E.2d 411, 416; Barker v......
  • Roberts v. State, No. 3-1079A295
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • April 27, 1981
    ...(1974), 262 Ind. 463, 317 N.E.2d 850 (trial court failed to instruct upon limited purpose of hearsay evidence); Hunt v. State (1973), 260 Ind. 375, 296 N.E.2d 116 (trial court failed to instruct upon defendant's failure to Having reviewed the entire record and this alleged error within the ......
  • Parker v. State, No. 1078S245
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • September 10, 1981
    ...to testify belongs to the defendant. To preserve error on this issue, the defendant must request an instruction. Hunt v. State, (1973) 260 Ind. 375, 381, 296 N.E.2d 116, 120. 2 If the request is made, the trial court should advise the jury that it should not consider the defendant's failure......
  • Maez v. State, No. 20A04-8801-CR-28
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 1, 1988
    ...to testify belongs to the defendant. To preserve error on this issue, the defendant must request an instruction. Hunt v. State, (1973), 260 Ind. 375, 381, 296 N.E.2d 116, 120. If the request is made, the trial court should advise the jury that it should not consider the defendant's failure ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • Thomas v. State, No. 2--1073A211
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 1, 1975
    ...State (1975), Ind., 325 N.E.2d 173, 174; Martin v. State (1974), Ind., 306 N.E.2d 93, [164 Ind.App. 652] 94; Hunt v. State (1973), Ind., 296 N.E.2d 116, 120; Bonds v. State (1972), 258 Ind. 241, 280 N.E.2d 313, 315--316; Summerlin v. State (1971), 256 Ind. 652, 271 N.E.2d 411, 416; Barker v......
  • Roberts v. State, No. 3-1079A295
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • April 27, 1981
    ...(1974), 262 Ind. 463, 317 N.E.2d 850 (trial court failed to instruct upon limited purpose of hearsay evidence); Hunt v. State (1973), 260 Ind. 375, 296 N.E.2d 116 (trial court failed to instruct upon defendant's failure to Having reviewed the entire record and this alleged error within the ......
  • Parker v. State, No. 1078S245
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • September 10, 1981
    ...to testify belongs to the defendant. To preserve error on this issue, the defendant must request an instruction. Hunt v. State, (1973) 260 Ind. 375, 381, 296 N.E.2d 116, 120. 2 If the request is made, the trial court should advise the jury that it should not consider the defendant's failure......
  • Maez v. State, No. 20A04-8801-CR-28
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 1, 1988
    ...to testify belongs to the defendant. To preserve error on this issue, the defendant must request an instruction. Hunt v. State, (1973), 260 Ind. 375, 381, 296 N.E.2d 116, 120. If the request is made, the trial court should advise the jury that it should not consider the defendant's failure ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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