Justices to review denial of shooter's insanity defense

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The Indiana Supreme Court will hear the appeal of a man whose 120-year sentence on conviction of four counts of attempted murder was reversed by the Court of Appeals.

Donald Myers was convicted of firing on multiple motorists and police officers along U.S. 20 in Steuben County. Police shot Myers after he continued to brandish a shotgun, and he fled into woods where he was flushed out after an hours-long standoff in April 2004.

But the Indiana Court of Appeals in a memorandum decision held that the trial court abused its discretion by denying Myers’ insanity defense, holding that “in the absence of any admissible evidence of probative value that even inferred sanity at the time of the crimes, the jury clearly erred in rejecting Myers’s insanity defense.”

The trial court also abused its authority in admitting evidence of Myers’ refusal to speak with police and his request for counsel to support a showing of sanity, the COA held. Multiple evaluations found Myers incompetent, and he was committed to the Logansport State Hospital.

He was transferred to Richmond State Hospital in 2012, where he was found to have regained competency, at which he was found guilty but mentally ill. The case is Donald William Myers, III v. State of Indiana,  76S03-1407-CR-493.

Justices also agreed to hear an insurance dispute following a fire that destroyed the office of a dentistry practice. The office was left with damages of more than $500,000 over what policy limits provided.

A trial judge granted summary judgment in favor of the insurer, finding the insurer had explained the policy’s limits. A panel of the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the insurer had a special duty to advise the office about coverage and ensure the office was fully covered based on the longstanding business relationship between the practice and the insurance company.

The case is Indiana Restorative Dentistry, P.C. v. The Laven Insurance Agency, Inc., and Proassurance Indemnity Company, Inc. f/k/a The Medical Assurance Company, Inc., 49S05-1407-PL-491.

The Indiana Supreme Court also granted transfer and dismissed the appeal of a custody dispute in which the Court of Appeals ruled that a trial court order automatically awarding custody of a child to the father violated the custody modification statute.

That case is In re the paternity of C.J.A.: G.C. (mother) v. T.A. (father), 79S02-1407-JP-484.

Those cases are among five to which justices granted transfer for the week ending July 25. Transfer also was granted in two cases in which the court already has ruled. Those cases are:

Justices denied transfer in 25 cases. Supreme Court transfer disposition lists may be seen here.


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