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Justice's first ruling affirms murder convictions, life sentence

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Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David issued his first decision as a member of the state’s highest court, affirming a life without parole sentence in a murder case out of Hamilton County.

The unanimous 10-page ruling came today in Anthony D. Delarosa v. State of Indiana, No. 29S00-0911-CR-531, which stems from the April 2007 murders of Rebecca Payne and her boyfriend, George Benner, in her home in Home Place. Evidence at trial established that Delarosa from Zionsville was connected to Payne’s estranged husband, who had coordinated the shooting.

A jury found Delarosa guilty of two counts of murder and one conspiracy count. Delarosa left his penalty in the hands of Hamilton Superior Judge Steven Nation when waiving his right to a jury trial for sentencing. The judge imposed a life without parole sentence for the murder convictions and a consecutive 50-year sentence on the conspiracy conviction.

On direct appeal of the three counts, Delarosa argued the trial court erred in admitting certain statements he contended were hearsay, that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the convictions, and that the state committed prosecutorial misconduct in closing arguments about what Delarosa had said.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in May, about two weeks before Justice Theodore R. Boehm announced he’d be stepping down. Justice David succeeded him in October, and this is his first published ruling as a state justice.

Going through each of the appellate issues raised, Judge David wrote that the trial judge didn’t err and used specific caselaw on point for each issue. He wrote that the state’s evidence bolstered their case and that even the claimed error about admitting testimony didn’t make a fair trial impossible and doesn’t rise to the level of fundamental error. The record shows the evidence was sufficient to convict him on the two murders. Delarosa failed to preserve the prosecutorial misconduct claim, but even if he had the record doesn’t reveal he’d be entitled to any relief, Justice David wrote.
 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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