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COA upholds denial of convicted murderer’s motion to dismiss

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The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that murder charges should have been dismissed based on a plea agreement he made with the state, finding no error by the trial court in allowing the jury to decide whether the defendant’s testimony was credible. The plea agreement preventing prosecution for murder would be in effect only if the defendant met certain criteria.

Chaunsey Fox was charged with murder, attempted robbery and felony murder in the shooting death of Eddie Williams in South Bend in 2009. Fox, who was incarcerated in 2011, got on police radar as a potential suspect when he contacted a detective claiming to have information on the homicide. Fox wanted favorable treatment for his pending charge in return.

He claimed to be at the scene of the crime but did not shoot Williams. The state agreed to not charge Fox with murder if he was truthful, testified against other individuals if called upon, he was not the shooter, and he didn’t carry a gun during the crime. But Fox later told inmates he was the shooter, and Derek Fields testified that he and Fox tried to rob Williams, Fox carried a handgun that night, and was the shooter. A jury convicted Fox of felony murder and attempted robbery.

Fox wanted the murder charges dismissed based on the agreement he entered into with the state. In Chaunsey L. Fox v. State of Indiana, 71A04-1304-CR-187, the Court of Appeals concluded the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion by denying the motion to dismiss and allowing the jury to decide the issue of credibility. The judges also rejected Fox’s claim that he relied on the state’s promise not to prosecute him for murder by pointing out Fox admitted to being at the crime scene before entering into the deal. Nor was the court convinced that the jury accepted Fox’s version of the events just because it acquitted him of murder as Fox argued.

The COA also concluded there were no Brady violations or judicial bias as Fox claimed.

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