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Accomplice’s murder conviction upheld

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A woman who threatened that her baby’s father and his brother would kill the man who punched her several times had her conviction of murder upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals. She sat in a car while with the boyfriend and his brother killed the man.  

Brittney Watson got into a physical fight with Cornelius Miller in November 2010 after she called him a “rapist” because of his alleged Internet posting of nude photos of Watson’s friend. Watson then got into a fight with Miller’s girlfriend. Witnesses heard Watson make threats that “somebody is going to die” and that she would have her brothers come down and kill someone.

Watson called her baby’s father, Steven Rice, and his brother Stephon Rice to say she had been beaten. They, along with several other people, went to Miller’s house, where Steven and Stephon shot Miller and killed him. Watson remained in the car when the shooting happened and then fled the scene.

She was charged with Miller’s murder; the state’s theory was that she acted as an accomplice. She was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison, with five years suspended to probation.

An accomplice can be found guilty of murder if she knew or intended that the victim would be killed by a principal. The judges in Brittney Watson v. State of Indiana, 71A03-1303-CR-91, found probative evidence supports Watson’s conviction. She told the mother of Miller’s children that she was going to have her brothers come back and kill Miller. She told a friend that the Rices were bringing guns with them. Watson didn’t oppose the plan to kill Miller and actually spoke up to stop Stephon Miller from shooting the wrong person.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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