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Court upholds Sturgis’ conviction for murder of son

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St. Joseph County resident Jerry L. Sturgis Sr. lost his appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday that challenged convictions stemming from the beatings and abuse of three of his children, leading to the death of his 10-year-old son in 2011.

In Terry L. Sturgis, Sr. v. State of Indiana,  71A03-1207-CR-330, Sturgis argued that the trial court abused its discretion in limiting his cross-examination of one of his sons at his trial, that the evidence couldn’t support his murder conviction, and double jeopardy required reversal of some convictions.

Sturgis was charged with numerous counts as a result of the malicious and severe beatings of his children, including murder and battery. Some of the battery charges were related to Sturgis hitting the children with a hot iron, others for striking them with a rod. He beat his 10-year-old son so severely that he died from blunt force trauma to the head.

The Court of Appeals found no limitation by the trial court regarding Sturgis’ cross-examination of his third-oldest child at trial, and that he was, in fact, allowed to cross-examine the boy on whether the oldest child physically abused his siblings and asked the other boy to lie about it.

There is more than enough evidence from which a reasonable trier of fact could have determined that beatings by Sturgis caused his 10-year-old son’s death and that Sturgis knowingly killed the boy, Senior Judge Betty Barteau wrote.

Finally, the appeals court found no double jeopardy violations under the Indiana Constitution.

 

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