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COA affirms murder conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals found the state presented sufficient substantive evidence to establish that a man killed his sister’s boyfriend while staying in her apartment.

Charles Lawrence Sr. spent the night with his sister, Tekelia Lawrence, so she would feel safe after her boyfriend hit her in the mouth with a bottle. The boyfriend, Quinton Lewis, had a key to her apartment. Tekelia Lawrence smoked marijuana, took two Vicodin pills and went to bed while her brother stayed up. She awoke to the sound of “pops” and saw that her front door was open and her brother was gone. She chained the door from the inside and went back to bed.

Police arrived later that morning after someone found Lewis’ body in the hallway on the bottom floor of the apartment building. A trail of blood led to Tekelia Lawrence’s front door, there was an empty shell casing inside her apartment, and there was a bullet hole in the wall. In a state of shock, Tekelia Lawrence told police that her brother had been at the apartment and stayed with her so she could sleep.

Charles Lawrence was charged with and convicted of murder and being a habitual offender and sentenced to 90 years.

Charles Lawrence argued that the evidence placing him at the scene consisted almost entirely of impeachment evidence rather than substantive evidence. He asserted that there was insufficient substantive evidence to sustain the verdict because the only evidence presented that he was in the apartment at the time of the murder came in through the state’s impeachment of its own witnesses.

At the trial, Tekelia Lawrence testified that her brother was gone before the murder, but the state offered her prior statements to police that he had stayed the night so she could sleep as both impeachment and substantive evidence. In Charles Lawrence, Sr. v. State of Indiana, No. 02A03-1105-CR-194, Judge Terry Crone noted that Charles Lawrence’s attorney did not object to the admission of some of the statements nor did the attorney request an admonishment or jury instruction limiting the use of any of those statements to impeachment only.

The appellate court found substantial evidence of probative value to support the conclusion Charles Lawrence murdered Lewis.  

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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