COA to hear murder, negligence appeals next week

The Court of Appeals of Indiana will be on the road next week, traveling to two Indiana high schools to hear oral arguments in a murder case and a negligence dispute arising from a deadly fire.

First, the appellate court will hear Martin v. State, 20A-CR-2326, on Tuesday. Rhett Martin is challenging the Benton Circuit Court’s denial of his request to call his accomplice to testify during his murder trial.

Martin, on trial for the murder of Dan Riegle, had subpoenaed Duane Muse to testify. However, outside the presence of the jury, Muse’s attorney has stated that his client would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if he was called to the witness stand.

On appeal, Martin is asserting his right to present a defense was violated when he was prevented from calling his accomplice to the stand to either testify or invoke his right against self-incrimination. Also, Martin is arguing the recording should be corrected to reflect that the convictions for felony murder were vacated with the entry of a conviction and sentence for murder; the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions for murder and arson; and his sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.

The panel members will be Judges L. Mark Bailey, Elaine Brown and Leanna Weissmann. The arguments will begin at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at Pike Central High School, 1810 E. State Road 56, Petersburg, 46567.

Second, the appellate court will hear Ceres Solutions Cooperative, Inc. v. Estate of Kathryn Bradley, et al., 21A-CT-377, on Thursday. Kenneth Bradley filed a complaint against Ceres Solutions Cooperative, alleging, in part, negligent infliction of emotional distress after his son was injured and his wife died in a house fire caused by a propane tank explosion.

Ceres Solutions had filled the tank. The company filed a motion for summary judgment, and the Pulaski Circuit Court granted the motion with respect to Bradley’s son but denied the motion as to Bradley’s wife.

Ceres has appealed and Bradley cross-appealed. The issue is whether the circumstances surrounding Bradley’s discovery of his son’s and wife’s injuries support his claim.

The panel members will be Judges Bailey, Weissmann and Margret Robb. The arguments will begin at 1 p.m. Dec. 2 at Triton Central High School, 4774 W. 600 N., Fairland, 46126.

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