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Justices affirm life without parole for murderer

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The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed in all respects the life without parole sentence imposed on a man sentenced for murder.

Justice Loretta Rush wrote a unanimous opinion that rejected Knapp’s claims that crime scene photos and expert witness testimony was improperly admitted and that his sentence wasn’t supported by evidence or was inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of his offense.

In Randy L. Knapp v. State of Indiana, 28S00-1305-LW-327, Rush wrote that Knapp and his de facto stepson Jeffrey Sims were meth addicts and that when Sims took his own life, Knapp blamed Stacey Lawson, Sims’ former girlfriend who had broken up with him.   
 
Knapp was arrested after Lawson’s body was found in a cemetery in Newark. The evidence trail against Knapp included phone messages saying he was “raged and crazed,” and was planning to meet Lawson and “I might beat her (expletive) brains out” and blame it on the meth.

Lawson died of massive head injuries.

“(O)ur collective judgment is that LWOP is not inappropriate in light of the nature of Defendant’s offense or his character as an offender,” Rush wrote for the court, calling his actions “calculated, premeditated and brutal.”

Knapp also has a criminal history dating to 1985, including convictions for drug and alcohol offenses, intimidation and battery causing bodily injury.

“And while we acknowledge Defendant’s genuine grief over Sims’ death, we find it minimally mitigating, because it appears to have been based at least in part on anger at being cut off from Sims’ finances,” Rush wrote. “He could have directed his indignation towards methamphetamine and the drug culture that helped bring about Sims’ death and Defendant’s own probation, but he directed it instead towards exacting brutal revenge.”

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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