Christina Kovats v. State of Indiana - 1/16/13

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Wednesday  January 16, 2013 
1:30 PM  EST

1:30 p.m. 15A01-1205-CR-224. Union County High School, Liberty. Christina M. Kovats was a home healthcare nurse hired to look after 98-year-old N.C., who had recently suffered from a stroke.  On the evening of October 28, 2011, Kovats was driving N.C. home from a weekly social event N.C. liked to attend when she stopped to fuel her car.  Kovats then drove off from the gas station without paying for gasoline, and subsequently fled from an Indiana State Police Trooper who tried to stop her for her theft of the gasoline.  After reaching speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, Kovats lost control of her car. N.C. was seriously injured in the wreck, had to be cut from the car, suffered severe pain, and died six weeks later. At the time of the incident, Kovats tested positive for oxymorphone, a drug more potent than morphine or heroin.
The State charged Kovats with Class B felony neglect of a dependent, Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated, Class D felony resisting law enforcement, and Class D felony criminal recklessness.  Following a four-day jury trial, Kovats was found guilty as charged.  The trial court entered judgment of conviction on the jury verdicts, but at the sentencing hearing “merged” the Class D felony convictions into the conviction for Class B felony neglect of a dependent and sentenced Kovats to twenty years of incarceration on the Class B felony only.  


On appeal, Kovats claims that: (1) the trial court abused its discretion by considering as an aggravating factor that N.C. died six weeks after she sustained her injuries, (2) her twenty-year sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender, and (3) the trial court should have vacated the judgments of conviction entered on the merged counts.

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