Timm v. State

Decision Date04 November 1976
Docket NumberNo. 674S117,674S117
Citation356 N.E.2d 222,265 Ind. 537
PartiesJohn Allen TIMM, Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

Oscar B. Smith, Jr., Knox, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty., Gen., Walter F. Lockhart, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.


The Appellant, John Allen Timm, was convicted on December 5, 1973, of second degree murder. The Appellant was sentenced by his jury to imprisonment for life. The Appellant's motion to correct errors was filed on February 15, 1974. It is from the denial of this motion on March 22, 1974, that this appeal is taken.

The evidence at trial revealed that on February 8, 1973, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Donald Leroy Nickles returned from work to his Fish Lake, Indiana, home. He discovered the nude body of his wife, Gayle, lying in a puddle of blood on the living room floor. A total of twenty-two knife wounds had been inflicted upon the body. A black and orange stocking hat was found lying at Mrs. Nickles' feet. A knife was found in the kitchen sink.

At 8:20 a.m. police received a phone call from the Appellant reporting the theft of a sweatshirt and a black and orange stocking hat. The Appellant was brought to the county sheriff's office at about 10:00 a.m. Inquiries regarding the alleged theft and the Appellant's activities the night before were made. The Appellant was returned to Fish Lake around noon. The Appellant was interrogated a second time at 2:00 p.m. that afternoon for some one and one-half hours. He was interrogated a third time on the afternoon of February 9. During this last interrogation the Appellant confessed to the murder of Gayle Nickles.


The first argument presented in the brief of the Appellant is that the evidence at trial failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Appellant was legally sane at the time of the crime. Our standard of review on this sufficiency of the evidence question is well-established:

'We have recently reiterated that the question of insanity is a question of fact not unlike other factual issues, which are to be decided by the trier of fact. Whenever such a factual question is appealed, this Court does not weigh the evidence nor judge the credibility of witnesses. We look to the evidence on the issue most favorable to the state and the reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom. When there is substantial evidence of probative value to support the decision of the trier of fact, the decision will be affirmed. Dragon v. State, (1974) Ind., 316 N.E.2d 827; Moore v. State, (1973) 260 Ind. 154 293 N.E.2d 28; Majors v. State, (1974) Ind.App., 310 N.E.2d 283.'

Blake v. State, (1975) Ind., 323 N.E.2d 227.

The Appellant concedes that the two psychiatrists appointed by the trial court to examine him, following the entry of his insanity plea, testified that he was, in their opinion, legally sane at the time of the commission of the crime. He attacks the basis of their evaluations, however, and contrasts their testimony with that of expert witnesses called by the defense. Despite an acknowledgment in the argument that this court does not weigh evidence, we are asked to do precisely that and to judge the credibility of witnesses. This we cannot do. The jury in this case was able to observe the Appellant as he testified at trial. His confession showed that he attempted to wash the blood off the murder weapon and to conceal his footprints in the snow, evidencing an appreciation of the wrongfulness of his conduct. This evidence, with the expert testimony already mentioned, is sufficient to support the jury's verdict.


It is also urged that the trial court erred in refusing to give to the jury Defendant's Instructions Nos. 2, 3, 5, 8 and 10. We note at the outset that the Appellant tendered twelve instructions to the trial court, seven of which were accepted and read to the jury. A defendant is permitted under our rules of criminal procedure to tender only ten instructions, unless the trial court fixes a greater number in a particular case. Ind.R.Cr.P. 8. No error may be predicated upon the refusal to give instructions in excess of the number permitted under the rule. Buchanan v. State, (1975) Ind., 332 N.E.2d 213. The record in this case does not indicate that the trial court exercised its discretion and permitted the tender of more than ten instructions in this case. As a result, the Appellant cannot complain of the trial court's refusal of at least two of his tendered instructions.

These instructions, however, were properly refused for other reasons. The substance of Defendant's Instructions Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 10 was contained in instructions which were given by the trial court. It is not error to refuse an instruction the substance of which is adequately covered by other instructions which are given. Fuller v. State, (1973) 261 Ind. 376, 304 N.E.2d 305. Defendant's Instructions No. 2 and No. 3 each essentially set out the definition of insanity as set out in Hill v. State, (1969) 252 Ind. 601, 251 N.E.2d 429, and stated the State's burden of proving sanity beyond a reasonable doubt. State's Instruction No. 6 and Defendant's Instruction No. 1 each accomplished the same thing. Defendant's Instruction No. 5 stated the State's burden of proving sanity beyond a reasonable doubt in wording different from other instructions defining that burden. This makes it no less redundant, however. Defendant's Instruction No. 10 defined the term 'purposely' as it relates to a murder charge. This word was defined in State's Instruction No. 1, given to the jury.

Defendant's Instruction No. 8 discussed the inference of unfavorable testimony or evidence which arises from the failure of the State to call known witnesses or produce known evidence. However, the Appellant does not allege that any known witnesses were not in fact called by the...

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14 cases
  • Bruce v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • 19 Abril 1978
    ...to produce evidence is appropriate only where the evidence withheld is material to the trial issues, and not cumulative. Timm v. State, (1976) Ind., 356 N.E.2d 222; Gatchett v. State, (1973) 261 Ind. 109, 300 N.E.2d 665. There is no indication that the evidence and tests referred to in the ......
  • Snyder v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • 30 Agosto 1979
    ...Kelsie v. State (1976), 265 Ind. 363, 354 N.E.2d 219, Cert. den. 429 U.S. 1094, 97 S.Ct. 1108, 51 L.Ed.2d 541; Timm v. State (1976), 265 Ind. 537, 356 N.E.2d 222; Buchanan v. State, Snyder contends that the trial court erred in admitting hearsay evidence. Thomas Romberger, an Elkhart County......
  • Sharpe v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • 29 Noviembre 1977
    ...disturb a trial court's ruling as to the admissibility of a confession when that ruling is based upon conflicting evidence. Timm v. State (1976), Ind., 356 N.E.2d 222; Cooper v. State (1974), 261 Ind. 659, 309 N.E.2d 807. In addition to the testimony about the circumstances surrounding Shar......
  • Williams v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • 1 Agosto 1979
    ...instructions. E. g., Spaulding v. State, (1978) Ind., 373 N.E.2d 165; Patterson v. State, (1978) Ind., 371 N.E.2d 1309; Timm v. State, (1976) 265 Ind. 537, 356 N.E.2d 222. The two instructions given by the court, quoted above, cover the same areas as appellant's instruction and, therefore, ......
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