Wallace v. Davis, Cause No. IP95-0215-C-B/S (S.D. Ind. 11/14/2002)

Decision Date14 November 2002
Docket NumberCause No. IP95-0215-C-B/S.
PartiesDONALD RAY WALLACE, JR., Petitioner, v. CECIL DAVIS, Respondent.
CourtU.S. District Court — Southern District of Indiana


Donald Ray Wallace, Jr., was convicted in the Vigo Circuit Court of the murders of Patrick and Teresa Gilligan and their two small children, Lisa and Gregory. He was sentenced to death. After challenging his conviction and sentence in the Indiana courts, he brought the present action for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). His claims have been fully developed and considered, together with the expanded record, and for the reasons explained in this Entry, Wallace's petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be denied.

A. State Proceedings

Wallace was charged in Vanderburgh County with four counts of murder. The death penalty was sought on grounds that the killings were knowingly done in commission of a burglary and that Wallace had killed more than one person. Following a change of venue, Wallace was tried in the Vigo Circuit Court. He was convicted of four counts of murder on September 22, 1982, and sentenced to death on October 21, 1982. His convictions and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal in Wallace v. State, 486 N.E.2d 445 (Ind. 1985), cert. denied, 478 U.S. 1010 (1986) (Wallace I).

Wallace sought post-conviction relief. His petition for such relief was denied by the trial court and this decision was affirmed on appeal. Wallace v. State, 553 N.E.2d 456 (Ind. 1990), cert. denied, 500 U.S. 948 (1990) (Wallace II).

Wallace filed a second petition for post-conviction relief on September 1, 1992. This second petition was denied by the trial court. This denial of relief was affirmed on appeal. Wallace v. State, 640 N.E.2d 374 (Ind. 1994), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1115 (1995) (Wallace III).

B. The Crimes

The facts surrounding the crimes of which Wallace has been convicted were summarized by the Indiana Supreme Court:

. . . On January 14, 1980, Indiana State Trooper, Thomas Snyder, was called to the home of Ralph Hendricks which had been reported burglarized. In connection with the investigation, Trooper Snyder went to the Gilligans' house, next to Hendricks' house, to inquire whether the residents therein might have seen or heard anything unusual. The window to the Gilligans' back door was broken. Snyder checked inside the house and discovered four dead bodies in the family room. They were Patrick and Teresa Gilligan and their two children, ages four and five. Mrs. Gilligan had her hands tied behind her, and the two children were tied together. Coroner, David Wilson, M.D., testified that the cause of all four deaths, as listed on the inquests, was brain damage from gunshot wounds.

The evidence also showed that Defendant Donald Ray Wallace, Jr., was seen driving a blue Plymouth automobile on the night in question. This automobile belonged to Richard Milligan. Milligan and Milligan's girlfriend, Debbie Durham, were known to have committed several prior burglaries using this same automobile. However, Richard Milligan was in jail on burglary charges this particular night. Witnesses recalled seeing this automobile in the neighborhood about the time the murders occurred.

Donna Madison was at the home of her sister, Debbie Durham, the night in question. Earlier that evening she witnessed Wallace driving the blue Plymouth. Between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., Wallace returned to Debbie's home, and Donna heard him ask for matches. He found a cigarette lighter, and Donna saw him in the backyard burning the jacket he had been carrying over his shoulder upon arrival. Neighbor Sherry Grayson saw a fire at the same time and saw a man with shoulder length hair, which was characteristic of Wallace, standing by it. Officer John Crosser recovered the remains of the jacket and other items found on the ground. Among these items were a set of wedding rings without stones in them and some fragments of glass. State Police Specialist Oliver examined the glass and found the pieces fit into a pattern matching the hole in Gilligans' window.

On the evening in question, Defendant Wallace and Debbie Durham had Carl Durham take pictures of them with many of the items taken from the Gilligan and Hendrick residences. The pictures, also showing money and pistols connected with these burglaries, were admitted into evidence.

Debbie Durham gave Serologist William Kune the blue jeans worn by Wallace the night of the crime, upon which Kune found type AB human blood. Wallace had blood type O, but Mrs. Gilligan and one of the children had blood type AB. Kune also found type B blood on a brown cotton glove, identified as one of a set Wallace wore while burglarizing homes. Mr. Gilligan had type B blood.

William Madison, brother of Debbie and Donna, came to Debbie Durham's home the evening in question and saw the Defendant come in. Defendant, wearing a gun in a holster, showed William Madison a briefcase with a couple of guns in it. Defendant also had in his possession a CB, a police scanner, and some rings. That same night Defendant attempted to sell to Randy Rhinehart some guns, a CB, and a scanner. Several witnesses testified that Debbie Durham displayed to them pieces of jewelry, which were later traced to the Gilligans. Debbie gave one of the rings to Officer O'Risky. It was identified by Dorothy Sahm, Teresa Gilligan's mother, as belonging to Teresa. A jeweler that had sized the ring and kept pictures of it also identified it as belonging to Teresa. There was a great deal of property in addition to that recited above which was found in Wallace's and Durham's possession and which was traced to the Gilligans. Much of the property recovered that night was also traced to the Hendricks' residence. Entry was gained in both of the homes by putting tape on the window and then breaking it in, in a manner that reduced the sound of breaking glass. Wallace and Milligan were known to gain entry for purposes of burglary in this manner.

Friends of Defendant, Mark Boyles and Anita Hoeche, testified they received a phone call on January 15th from Defendant who said he was in trouble and in need of a ride. While riding in the car, Defendant told them he had gotten too greedy the night before. He said he had broken into one house and never should have gone to the next house because he got caught there. He told them after he got caught a man in the house was giving him trouble, and he had to tie up the entire family. He said the little girl was crying and screaming, and it was bothering him. He felt he could not let the children grow up with the trauma of not having parents, and he did not "want to see the kids went [sic] through the tragedy of seeing their parents being killed," so he killed them also. (Record at 5083.) He said the woman was screaming, and he had to shut her up. Later that night Defendant, while hiding in the attic of Hoeche's house, was arrested.

Wallace's statements coincided with those given by Debbie Durham. Debbie Durham testified that when Wallace visited her on January 14th, around 9:30 p.m., he immediately took his clothes off and gave them to her so he could change. On his blue jeans there was a piece of fleshy-whitish-red matter. Debbie asked what it was, and Wallace stated it had to be a piece of brain because he had shot the residents, who had caught him, in the head. He told her a man had come in from the garage and surprised him. They struggled, and Wallace made him bring in the rest of the family. He said he tied up the man, made the woman tie up the children, and then Wallace tied her up. He shot the man in the head after possibly breaking the man's neck in the struggle. He said he then shot the woman twice. The children were crying for the mother, so he shot each one of them once. He said he shot the adults because they could identify him.

Wallace I, 486 N.E.2d at 449-450.

C. Wallace's Claims

Wallace presents eleven grounds in his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which are reordered for this review and consolidated into ten. These restated claims are as follows:

GROUND ONE: Wallace was denied a fair trial because he was denied a fair and reliable determination as to his competency to stand trial.

GROUND TWO: Wallace was denied a fundamentally fair trial and a fair and reliable sentencing determination due to the improper treatment of evidence, improper evidentiary rulings, and other acts and omissions of the trial court.

GROUND THREE: Wallace's intoxication at the time of the offense was erroneously precluded from being considered as a defense to murder and as a mitigating circumstance for sentencing purposes.

GROUND FOUR: Wallace was denied a fair and reliable sentencing determination, and a full and fair hearing in all prior proceedings due to the prosecution's misconduct during the various phases of Wallace's trial.

GROUND FIVE: Wallace was denied a fair trial, a sentencing determination and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment due to infirmities in the jury instructions at trial.

GROUND SIX: Wallace was denied a fundamentally fair penalty phase trial and a reliable sentencing decision due to factors that diminished the jury's sense of responsibility for their sentencing decision.

GROUND SEVEN: Wallace was denied a fair and reliable sentencing determination, because his death sentence was based on invalid aggravating circumstances and a failure to properly consider all relevant mitigating evidence.

GROUND EIGHT: Wallace was denied the effective and meaningful assistance of counsel in all proceedings in the state court, in that he was not accorded the standard of representation for effective assistance of counsel in capital proceedings during all phases of his state case.

GROUND NINE: Wallace was subjected to multiple violations of his constitutional rights in the execution of his sentence, the...

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