The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a woman’s intimidation conviction Thursday, finding the evidence supports the charge that she threatened the manager of the apartment complex where she lived.
Donnetta Newell was being evicted from an Indianapolis apartment complex and sued for damages over a recent incident in which management believed she had damaged a desk in the apartment manager’s office with a meat cleaver.
Newell was upset about the eviction notice and told apartment security guard Russell Growe that the new lady upstairs – the apartment manager Evelyn Young – was about to get her f******g head knocked off. Growe was concerned for Young’s safety and immediately told her about the threats. Extra security was posted outside her office for several weeks.
Newell appealed her Class A misdemeanor conviction, arguing the evidence couldn’t sustain her conviction and that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting evidence of the desk incident.
“Here, Growe testified that, based on Newell’s past interactions with him, she was aware his duties included reporting problems to the apartments’ manager. Furthermore, her threat against Young raised a security issue, and a reasonable person could conclude that Growe would have to act on that threat. There is sufficient evidence for the finder of fact to conclude Newell knew that her statement would be transmitted to Young,” Senior Judge Randall Shepard wrote in Donnetta Newell v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1309-CR-744.
The appellate court also concluded that evidence about the desk incident was admissible under Rule 404(b) as probative of whether Newell intended to intimidate.
“Newell has argued at trial and on appeal that she never intended to threaten Young but was instead merely expressing frustration at being evicted. On this question of intent, evidence that she was believed to have done violence recently in the manager’s office was legitimately available for the purpose of evaluating whether her subsequent statements about doing violence to the new manager were actually threats or just hyperbole. Moreover, evidence of the desk incident was admissible under Rule 404(b) because it was material to evaluating Growe and Young’s reaction to Newell’s statement,” Shepard wrote.