Common sense doomed a 62-year-old man’s appeal of his child molesting conviction Thursday in which he argued the state had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was at least 21 years old.
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the Class A felony conviction and 30-year sentence imposed by the Lake Superior Court in Henry Ward Brown v. State of Indiana, 20A-CR-171.
Judge Nancy Vaidik noted for the panel in a three-page opinion that the jury did not specifically find that Henry Ward Brown was at least 21 years old — an element elevating the statute on the books at the time of Brown’s 2017 offense from a Class B to a Class A felony. However, the victim testified at trial that Brown was balding, had a white beard, described the three vehicles he had and said he worked as a handyman at the apartment complex where she lived, among other things.
“Although the State failed to present direct evidence of Brown’s age, ‘circumstantial testimonial evidence can be sufficient to prove age,’” Vaidik wrote, citing Staton v. State, 853 N.E.2d 470, 474 (Ind. 2006). “In addition, a jury may use its common sense.
“… The jury could use its common sense to determine from this evidence that Brown was at least twenty-one years old when he committed the offense. We therefore affirm the trial court,” the panel concluded.