Sparks v. State, No. 30669

Docket NºNo. 30669
Citation229 N.E.2d 642, 248 Ind. 429
Case DateSeptember 20, 1967
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 642

229 N.E.2d 642
248 Ind. 429
Donald Hurcle SPARKS, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 30669.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Sept. 20, 1967.

[248 Ind. 430]

Page 643

John R. Jett, Terre Haute, for appellant.

Page 644

John J. Dillon, Atty. Gen., of Indiana, Carl E. Van Dorn, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

JACKSON, Judge.

Appellant was charged by indictment in the Vigo Circuit Court of Vigo County, Indiana, with the crime of First Degree Murder as the result of the death of Brenda Dawn Frederick from a gunshot wound.

The shooting and death occurred on October 8, 1962. On that date appellant was seventeen years of age, and the victim of the shooting, Brenda Dawn Frederick, was three years and four months of age. Brenda's father, Peter Frederick, is appellant's half brother.

Appellant had been employed to take care of the Frederick children (including Brenda) during the day while the children's parents worked. On the day in question appellant had sent the two older children to school. Brenda remained at home with the appellant, and later a neighbor boy, Jimmie Walker, aged four years, came to the house to play with her.

About 11:35 a.m. on October 8, 1962, the police received a call from appellant to come to the Frederick home where they found the body of Brenda on the floor and appellant present. Brenda had been shot in the head. The gun, a 22 caliber revolver, was lying on a tricycle seat a few feet from the body. The police took appellant to the City Hall with instructions to 'Hold for Probation Department.' On the way to the City Hall and while there, the police interrogated appellant as to what had occurred at the Frederick home. Appellant first stated that Brenda had shot herself and signed a statement or confession to that effect, which was introduced at the trial as State's Exhibit No. 11.

[248 Ind. 431] Later, on October 8, 1962, after having talked to Jimmie Walker and after requiring appellant to submit to a paraffin test of his hands, in which test nitrate was found on the right hand, the police obtained a second statement from appellant of what had happened. This statement was introduced in evidence as State's Exhibit No. 12. This statement in substance was to the effect that he saw Brenda with the gun in her hand, he rushed over to her, placed his left arm around her and with his right hand attempted to get the gun away from her, and in the process the gun went off resulting in her injury and death. These two confessions were made on the afternoon of October 8, 1962, at the Terre Haute City Hall.

Thereafter, appellant was taken by the police to the Frederick home where, in the presence of and at the direction of the police, he re-enacted the shooting 'along the things that he had stated in his second statement. Detective Long had the statement in his possession as Donald re-enacted the events.'

The police officers interrogated appellant on October 9, 1962, and on the morning of October 10, 1962, he was, with permission from his father, taken from Terre Haute to Indianapolis by Terre Haute police officers and given a lie detector test. After such test, he was returned to Terre Haute where he was again intensively interrogated by the police officers and finally by Mr. Berry the Prosecuting Attorney. After being interrogated by Mr. Berry, appellant signed the third confession on October 10, 1962, which confession was introduced in evidence as State's Exhibit No. 14. The third confession was to the effect that he had pointed the gun at Brenda to scare her. When she did not become scared, but merely pushed the gun away, he became angry and shot her.

On October 11, 1962, appellant was for the first time charged with the commission of a crime, to-wit: Murder in the first degree, when taken to the court of Hon. Lee Easton, Justice of the Peace of Harrison Township, Vigo County, Indiana.

[248 Ind. 432]

Page 645

Appellant entered a plea of not guilty to the indictment and requested trial by jury. The jury, after trial, by its verdict, found appellant guilty of the crime of Second Degree Murder and sentenced him to imprisonment in the Indiana State Prison for life.

After verdict and before judgment was rendered thereon, appellant filed his motion for a new trial, such motion contained one hundred thirteen grounds. Thereafter appellant filed his supplemental motion for a new trial containing two additional grounds, for a total of one hundred fifteen grounds for new trial. Obviously it is impossible to set out, in an opinion of reasonable length, all of these grounds. Generally the grounds related to alleged error in giving certain numbered instructions tendered by the State; refusing to give certain numbered instructions tendered by the appellant; error in overruling appellant's motion for directed verdict; error in overruling objections to statements made by the State and refusing to withdraw the submission of the cause from the jury; error in allegedly permitting the Sheriff's department to move appellant about the court house in view of the jury while shackled; numerous objections to questions propounded various witnesses, such objections being embodied in objections designated as stipulated objections Nos. 1, 2 and 3. These objections and others were interposed numerous times to certain questions propounded to witnesses produced by the State.

These objections go to the several constitutional rights of the appellant therein allegedly violated, as well as the right of the State to introduce, in the case in chief, three separate and several contradictory confessions obtained from appellant, a seventeen year old boy with no previous police record, without benefit of counsel or an opportunity to consult with his parents, or anyone else, outside the presence of the police, while being held by the police without warrant and without charge.

[248 Ind. 433] The Assignment of Errors contains four specifications as follows:

'1. The Court erred in overruling Defendant's Motion for New Trial.

'2. The Court erred in overruling Defendant's Supplemental Motion for New Trial.

'3...

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12 practice notes
  • Ortiz v. State, No. 576S147
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 16, 1976
    ...N.E.2d at 193. This vague 'promise' falls far short of the Ashby mark. Finally appellants rely on language from Sparks v. State, (1967) 248 Ind. 429, 229 N.E.2d 642, which states that a confession is voluntary only if 'in making it the accused was aware of the probable consequences of his a......
  • State v. Caffrey, No. 13633
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • April 6, 1983
    ...prior to taking the test and that his counsel had previously approved the suggestion that the defendant take the test. In Sparks v. State, 248 Ind. 429, 229 N.E.2d 642 (Ind.1967), the Supreme Court of Indiana held involuntary a confession that was obtained from an inexperienced 17-year old ......
  • Green v. State, No. 171S14
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 20, 1971
    ...S.Ct. 183, 42 L.Ed. 568; Hall v. State (Ind., 1971), 266 N.E.2d 16; Smith v. State (1969), Ind., 249 N.E.2d 493; Sparks v. State (1967), 248 Ind. 429, 229 N.E.2d 642.' (267 N.E.2d In light of this summary of the law governing our consideration of appellant's case we shall proceed to conside......
  • Gibson v. State, No. 55S01-9411-CR-1121
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 28, 1994
    ...and § 10-3030(1)(d) did define different crimes, and that proof of one constituted a failure of proof of the other. Id. at 360, 229 N.E.2d at 642. 11 Indiana Code § 35-43-4-1(c) defines "receiving" as "acquiring possession, control or title, or lending on security of Receiving Retaining Dis......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Ortiz v. State, No. 576S147
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 16, 1976
    ...N.E.2d at 193. This vague 'promise' falls far short of the Ashby mark. Finally appellants rely on language from Sparks v. State, (1967) 248 Ind. 429, 229 N.E.2d 642, which states that a confession is voluntary only if 'in making it the accused was aware of the probable consequences of his a......
  • State v. Caffrey, No. 13633
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • April 6, 1983
    ...prior to taking the test and that his counsel had previously approved the suggestion that the defendant take the test. In Sparks v. State, 248 Ind. 429, 229 N.E.2d 642 (Ind.1967), the Supreme Court of Indiana held involuntary a confession that was obtained from an inexperienced 17-year old ......
  • Green v. State, No. 171S14
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 20, 1971
    ...S.Ct. 183, 42 L.Ed. 568; Hall v. State (Ind., 1971), 266 N.E.2d 16; Smith v. State (1969), Ind., 249 N.E.2d 493; Sparks v. State (1967), 248 Ind. 429, 229 N.E.2d 642.' (267 N.E.2d In light of this summary of the law governing our consideration of appellant's case we shall proceed to conside......
  • Lewis v. State, No. 571S131
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 19, 1972
    ...or whether the court will take cognizance of the age of the child and apply different standards. We held in Sparks v. State (1967), 248 Ind. 429, 229 N.E.2d 642, that the parents of a seventeen year old juvenile should be informed of an interrogation being conducted with their son and that ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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