Deadly weapon enhancement affirmed in man’s intimidation conviction

A man convicted of intimidation after threatening his estranged wife with an AR-15 rifle did not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his charge was wrongly enhanced from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Angry that his wife was sending Facebook messages to other people, Jerry Rhodes texted her in November 2018 and threatened to kill her. Rhodes then change the locks on their home, prompting his wife, A.R., and their children to move out.

Rhodes continued to threaten A.R. in the following days via texts sent to one of his children, claiming he would “burn in hell before I see your mom with another man.” Rhodes also called A.R. and threatened to kill her, then showed up at the place she was staying with an AR-15 propped up on his shoulder with the barrel pointing up.

After he tried to enter the home, police apprehended Rhodes, who was charged with and eventually convicted of Level 5 felony intimidation, enhanced from a Class A misdemeanor for drawing a deadly weapon while committing the offense.

On appeal, Rhodes’ argued there there was insufficient evidence to support the enhancement, but an appellate panel affirmed in Jerry Rhodes v. State of Indiana, 19A-CR-2422.

“There is no question that Rhodes brought forth the AR-15 when he held it in his hand and propped it on his shoulder as he moved toward the house,” Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote for the appellate court, concluding it could be reasonably inferred from Rhodes’ possession of the gun and his anger that he was preparing to use the weapon.

“The evidence shows that on November 6, Rhodes called A.R. and told her, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ Then five to ten minutes later, Rhodes showed up at the house where A.R. was staying, got out of his truck, took his AR-15 out of the truck, and came around the truck,” Vaidik wrote. “He then walked to the door, kicked it, and yelled, ‘open the f**king door.’ This was one continuous chain of events.”

The court thus concluded there was sufficient evidence to prove Rhodes drew a deadly weapon while committing intimidation.

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