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Man's murder sentence upheld in abduction slaying

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A man convicted of murder in Allen County will continue to serve a 65-year sentence after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the callousness of the crime merited the consideration of numerous aggravators.

In Delmas Sexton II v. State of Indiana, No. 02A03-1110-CR-465, Sexton argued that the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing him when it found as an aggravating circumstance the fact that as a multiple-conviction felon, he was unlawfully possessing the gun he used to kill his victim.

The court also rejected Sexton’s claim that the Allen Superior Court sentence was improper because its consideration of his criminal past resulted in double jeopardy.

In March 2009, Sexton went to the home of Donald McKee, ordered him at gunpoint to write checks, then bound him with duct tape, covered his head and forced him into a truck. According to court documents, Sexton shot McKee in the head three times and left him in the truck, where McKee was found more than a week later.

Sexton was charged with murder; felony murder; Class A felony robbery; criminal confinement and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, both Class B felonies, and two counts of Class C felony forgery. The state also alleged that Sexton was a habitual offender.

According to court records, Sexton punched his attorney in the face in open court as a trial was set to begin in 2009, resulting in the trial’s cancellation.  As another jury trial was about to begin, Sexton pleaded guilty to felony murder and the state dropped the remaining charges.

“Sexton says the trial court’s finding of multiple aggravators relating to his criminal past (like his criminal convictions, his drug use, the escalating nature of his crimes of violence, that he is at high risk of reoffending) is akin to being punished multiple times for the same offense. We disagree,” Senior Judge Randall Shepard wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Edward Najam Jr.

“A trial court may consider multiple factors relating to a defendant’s criminal past at the sentencing stage. The trial court here convicted Sexton of felony murder. For that crime, the trial court imposed one sentence. There is no double jeopardy violation,” Shepard wrote.

Judge L. Mark Bailey in a brief concurring opinion wrote that he relied on Farmer v. State, No. 772 N.E.2d 1025 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), as the proper application of Hammons v. State, 493 N.E.2d 1250 (Ind. 1986), cited as precedent in affirming Sexton’s conviction.

 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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