Appeals panel affirms murder conviction, sentence

An Indianapolis man who objected to his murder trial being scheduled later than permissible under the speedy trial rule failed to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse his murder conviction.

The court Thursday affirmed Thomas King’s convictions of murder and misdemeanor possessing a handgun without a license, and his sentence of 62 years in prison followed by three years in community correction. A jury in September 2015 convicted King in the June 2015 killing of Michael Mason.

King requested and was granted an Indiana Criminal Rule 4(D) speedy trial motion, and he objected to a 21-day delay due to calendar congestion. The setting of his trial to begin on Aug. 31 was three days after the 70-day limit for pre-trial detention in Rule 4(B).

Senior Judge Betty Barteau noted the court reviews a factual finding of congestion for clear error and reverses only if left with a definite and firm conviction a mistake was made, and that’s not the case in Thomas King v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1510-CR-1712.

Likewise, the court did not abuse its discretion in admitting testimony from witnesses or officers about King asking a neighbor to hold a gun and tell police he fatally shot Mason. The panel also found there is ample evidence from which a factfinder could find King’s self-defense claim was rebutted by the state. Finally, King’s sentence of 62 years in prison followed by three years in community corrections is not confusing and doesn’t warrant remand.

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