SCOTUS rejects Indiana sword fight killer’s appeal, 4 other Hoosier cases

The United States Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from an Indiana man convicted of killing his great-uncle in a 2009 sword fight that also took the life of the man’s grandmother. The case is one of five Indiana criminal, juvenile justice or post-conviction cases denied certiorari Monday by the high court.

Christopher Rondeau was convicted in the murder of Adolph Stegbauer, on whose Indianapolis property Rondeau lived, but a jury cleared him of reckless homicide in the death of his grandmother, Franziska Stegbauer. She was mortally wounded as she tried to come between the two men.

After Rondeau lost a post-conviction relief appeal in 2016, he filed a motion to dismiss that the Indiana Court of Appeals remanded to the Marion Superior Court with instructions to dismiss in a 2019 memorandum decision.

The high court rejected Rondeau’s petition for writ of certiorari — Christopher Rondeau v. Indiana, 20-5443 —without comment, as it likewise did in these four other cases against the state of Indiana in Monday’s orders list:

  • Mark A. Thacker v. Indiana, 20-5630: Rejects a petition to review the Court of Appeals’ denial in a memorandum decision of Mark Thacker’s petition to file a belated notice of appeal seeking to adjust the credit time toward his murder sentence. Thacker was sentenced to 175 years in prison in 1997, which was reduced to 85 years in a 2002 post-conviction relief ruling.
  • Ernest R. Snow v. Indiana, 20-5494: Declines to review an Indiana Court of Appeals decision from November 2019 affirming a 14-year sentence on Ernest Snow’s convictions of Level 5 felony counts of burglary, theft and conversion and Level 6 felony auto theft related to charges that he orchestrated the heist of Fitbit devices from a semi-trailer in Hendricks County.
  • Rodolfo Lopez Jr. v. State of Indiana, 20-5506: Lets stand an aggregate three-year sentence for Rodolfo Lopez Jr.’s convictions of four Level 5 felony counts of battery against a public safety official in a LaPorte Circuit Court bench trial verdict affirmed by the Court of Appeals in a September 2019 memorandum decision. 
  • C. V. Indiana, 20-5491: Lets stand an Indiana Court of Appeals decision affirming the Rush Superior Court’s placement of juvenile M.C. as a ward of the Indiana Department of Correction.

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