Riddle v. State, Nos. 974S183

Docket Nº974S182
Citation348 N.E.2d 635, 264 Ind. 587
Case DateJune 09, 1976
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 635

348 N.E.2d 635
264 Ind. 587
Roger RIDDLE, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
Deloris SMITH a/k/a Deloris Riddle, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
Nos. 974S183, 974S182.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
June 9, 1976.

[264 Ind. 589]

Page 636

Michael J. McDaniel, New Albany, for appellants.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Joseph J. Reiswerg, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

ARTERBURN, Justice.

These two cases arise from the same crime, the murder of a New Albany, Indiana, woman in July of 1971. One Appellant, Roger Riddle, was convicted on January 30, 1974, of first degree murder. His 'common law wife', Deloris Smith, was convicted on January 16, 1974, of one count of accessory before the fact and one count of accessory after the fact. Both Appellants were sentenced to life imprisonment.

These cases were tried in the same court, before the same judge, and with the same defense counsel. Though tried at different times, substantially the same evidence was shown in both proceedings. We have therefore determined to treat the two appeals together in this opinion.

The evidence in these trials revealed that Kenneth B. Watkins, a major of the detective department of the New Albany Police Department, worked through the night of July 8, 1971, and into the morning of July 9. He returned to his New Albany home at about 6:00 a.m. and found his wife lying on the floor, dead. Upon finding that his phone did not work, Watkins contacted police through a neighbor.

[264 Ind. 590] Police arriving on the scene found that the phone lines to the Watkins home had been cut. There were blood smears on the inside and outside of the front door of the home. Footprints in the morning dew led from the front door to a creek bed. Police followed the footprints and found, across the creek, automobile tire marks.

Police were unable to obtain any leads upon examination of the scene and the victim. Sketches were made of the scene of

Page 637

the crime and photographs were taken of the victim, the home, and the tire tracks. The footprints in the dew, however, were gone before photographs or measurements could be taken. Efforts to obtain fingerprints were unsuccessful. The report of the pathologist who examined the deceased established the cause of death to be a stab wound in he back which penetrated the aorta. Lacerations in the front of the neck of the victim were inflicted after the fatal wound was delivered. No measurements of these wounds were taken to determine the minimum length of the murder weapon.

It was in this context that police suspicions were aroused by a news item which reported a somewhat similar murder in Louisville, Kentucky. The Appellants were being held for that crime. Officers of the New Albany and Indiana State police departments traveled to Kentucky to interrogate the suspects. After several such trips, police obtained oral and written confessions which led to the Appellants' convictions.

Raised in these appeals are issues of two categories. First raised are issues relating to the oral and written statements admitted into evidence. Second is the issue of whether evidence of the Louisville crime should have been admitted into evidence. Our resolution of this second issue requires that the judgments in these cases be reversed. For the purpose of aiding the retrial of these Appellants, we will first discuss the admissibility of their various oral and written statements.

[264 Ind. 591] I.

Appellant Roger Riddle raises three issues in regard to the admissibility of his oral and written statements. He first challenges the admissibility of an oral statement made by him to police on November 11, 1971. Also challenged is the admissibility of a written confession obtained on February 2, 1972. It is contended that this written statement was the fruit of the prior oral confession, which was illegally obtained. Finally, this Appellant contends that it was error for the trial court to deny a defense motion for a directed verdict. It is urged that the only evidence of guilt at trial were the tainted confessions which should not have been admitted into evidence.

We will look primarily at the first argument. It is upon that contention regarding the initial oral confession that the other issues depend.

Police visited the Appellant twice--on October 11, 1971, and October 29, 1971--before obtaining an oral statement on November 11. Police had received a letter on November 10 from Kentucky authorities stating that the Appellant wished to talk to them. When they arrived at the Kentucky penitentiary in which the Appellant was being held, however, the Appellant refused to sign a waiver form and said he wanted an attorney. It is this request for an attorney that is the central issue here.

The procedure to be followed by police upon advising a suspect of his rights is clear. 'The defendant may waive effectuation of these rights, provided the waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently. If, however, he indicates in any manner and at any stage of the process that he wishes to consult with an attorney before speaking there can be no questioning. * * * If the individual states that he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present.' Miranda v. Arizona, (1966) 384 U.S. 436 at 445, 474, 86 S.Ct. 1602 at 1612, 1628, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 at 707, 723. The admissibility of [264 Ind. 592] the Appellant's oral statement hinges on whether or not police interrogation proceeded after his request for counsel.

Detective Sergeant Paul Parsons of the New Albany Police Department testified regarding the November 11 meeting with the Appellant:

'A November 11, 1971, Detective Downs and myself went to Eddyville

Page 638

at the request of Riddle. Upon arrival there Riddle was brought into the office by Captain Johnson to where we were. Detective Downs read him his Rights off of a yellow Rights sheet. Riddle refused to sign. He said he wanted an attorney. At this time Detective Downs advised him 'You sent for us. We are two hundred mile from home.' Riddle said 'I will talk to you all. I have something bothering me.'

Q. Did he talk to you then?

A. Yes. He did.'

We do not believe that police interrogation proceeded after the Appellant's request for an attorney. Rather, the record reflects that a police officer made an exasperated comment after traveling 200 miles at the request of the Appellant to talk and then finding it was a futile trip. The Appellant then said, 'I will talk to you all.'

The trial court specifically sought to determine if anything else was said to the accused:

'THE COURT: Now your story is that after Detective Downs said you we're two hundred miles from home, there was nothing else said.

A. No sir.

THE COURT: The defendant said he still had something to tell them?

A. He said 'I will talk to you all. I have something bothering me.' He sent for us.

THE COURT: Did he make any more request for a lawyer then?

A. No. He didn't say another word about a lawyer.'

The record indicates that this Appellant's November 11 oral statement was made voluntarily and with full knowledge of his rights. We can find no error in the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress it. The other two contentions[264 Ind. 593] presented are thus also without merit. Because the oral statement was legally obtained, it could in no way taint the written confession given the following February. No other challenge to the written statement is presented and we can only conclude that its admission into evidence was proper. The defense motion for a directed verdict was similarly properly denied.

II.

Appellant Deloris Smith raises similar issues in her appeal. Police visited...

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18 practice notes
  • French v. State, No. 1175A321
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 6, 1977
    ...of police interrogation, and therefore admissible under Miranda. The evidence supports this finding. Riddle v. State (1976), Ind., 348 N.E.2d 635. The trial court further found that the statement was voluntarily given. This Court will not ordinarily disturb such a finding of fact when that ......
  • Allen v. State, No. 181
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • February 23, 1982
    ...(1977) 265 Ind. 655, 658, 359 N.E.2d 513, 514-15, cert. denied, (1977) 434 U.S. 902, 98 S.Ct. 297, 54 L.Ed.2d 188; Smith v. State, (1976) 264 Ind. 587, 595-96, 348 N.E.2d 635, Defendant contends that the trial court erred in admitting his confession because it did not make detailed findings......
  • Parker v. State, No. 1078S245
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • September 10, 1981
    ...662; Randolph v. State, supra. Defendant's reliance on Layton v. State, (1966) 248 Ind. 52, 221 N.E.2d 881 and Riddle v. State, (1976) 264 Ind. 587, 348 N.E.2d 635 is misplaced. In Riddle the only similarity in the record between the two homicides was that the victims were stabbed in the th......
  • Chambers v. State, No. 178S8
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • August 8, 1979
    ...Ind., 379 N.E.2d 444; Bugg v. State, (1978) Ind., 372 N.E.2d 1156; Murphy v. State, (1977) Ind., 369 N.E.2d 411; Riddle v. State, (1976) 264 Ind. 587, 348 N.E.2d 635. The trial court committed no error in overruling the motion to suppress these statements and testimony regarding them and in......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • French v. State, No. 1175A321
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 6, 1977
    ...of police interrogation, and therefore admissible under Miranda. The evidence supports this finding. Riddle v. State (1976), Ind., 348 N.E.2d 635. The trial court further found that the statement was voluntarily given. This Court will not ordinarily disturb such a finding of fact when that ......
  • Allen v. State, No. 181
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • February 23, 1982
    ...(1977) 265 Ind. 655, 658, 359 N.E.2d 513, 514-15, cert. denied, (1977) 434 U.S. 902, 98 S.Ct. 297, 54 L.Ed.2d 188; Smith v. State, (1976) 264 Ind. 587, 595-96, 348 N.E.2d 635, Defendant contends that the trial court erred in admitting his confession because it did not make detailed findings......
  • Parker v. State, No. 1078S245
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • September 10, 1981
    ...662; Randolph v. State, supra. Defendant's reliance on Layton v. State, (1966) 248 Ind. 52, 221 N.E.2d 881 and Riddle v. State, (1976) 264 Ind. 587, 348 N.E.2d 635 is misplaced. In Riddle the only similarity in the record between the two homicides was that the victims were stabbed in the th......
  • Chambers v. State, No. 178S8
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • August 8, 1979
    ...Ind., 379 N.E.2d 444; Bugg v. State, (1978) Ind., 372 N.E.2d 1156; Murphy v. State, (1977) Ind., 369 N.E.2d 411; Riddle v. State, (1976) 264 Ind. 587, 348 N.E.2d 635. The trial court committed no error in overruling the motion to suppress these statements and testimony regarding them and in......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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