ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE
Lesa Lux Johnson Steve Carter
Indianapolis, Indiana Attorney General of Indiana
Cynthia L. Ploughe
Deputy Attorney General
INDIANA SUPREME COURT
DARRYL G. FORREST )
v. ) 49S00-0012-CR-748
STATE OF INDIANA, )
APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT
The Honorable Robyn Moberly
Cause No. 49G02-9909-CF-153586
On Direct Appeal
November 15, 2001
The defendant, Darryl G. Forrest, was convicted of murder
See footnote for a 1999 incident
in Indianapolis, Indiana, that resulted in the death of fourteen-month-old Xavier Hill.
The defendant was sentenced to sixty years in prison.
In this direct appeal, the defendant makes two claims: (1) that the trial
court erred in allowing the prosecution to use a peremptory challenge to strike
the only African- American juror on the venire panel; and (2) that there
was insufficient evidence to convict the defendant of murder. We affirm his
The defendant asserts that the trial court erred in denying his claim that
the prosecution's use of a peremptory strike to exclude the only African-American individual
on the venire panel violated Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct.
1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986). There are three steps to resolve a
Batson claim in the trial court. Purkett v. Elem, 514 U.S. 765,
767, 115 S.Ct. 1769, 1770-71, 131 L.Ed.2d 834, 839 (1995). First, the
party contesting the challenge must make out a prima facie case of racial
discrimination by demonstrating that:
(1) the juror is a member of a cognizable racial group; (2) [the
challenging party] has exercised peremptory challenges to remove that group's members from the
jury; and (3) the facts and circumstances of this case raise an inference
that the exclusion was based on race.
Wright v. State, 690 N.E.2d 1098, 1104-05 (Ind. 1997) (citing Batson, 476 U.S.
at 96, 106 S.Ct. at 1723, 90 L.Ed.2d at 87-88). Second, upon
such a showing, the burden of production shifts to the proponent of the
peremptory challenge to provide a race-neutral explanation. Purkett, 514 U.S. at 767,
115 S.Ct at 1770, 131 L.Ed.2d at 839. If the explanation, on
its face, is based on something other than race, the explanation will be
deemed race-neutral. Hernandez v. New York, 500 U.S. 352, 360, 111 S.Ct.
1859, 1866, 114 L.Ed.2d 395, 406 (1991). Third, the trial court must
determine whether the party contesting the peremptory challenge has proved purposeful racial discrimination.
Purkett, 514 U.S. at 767, 115 S.Ct. at 1770-71, 131 L.Ed.2d at
839. Sufficiency of the Evidence
Upon appellate review, a trial court's decision concerning whether a peremptory challenge is
discriminatory is given great deference, and will be set aside only if found
to be clearly erroneous. McCants v. State, 686 N.E.2d 1281, 1284 (Ind.
1997); Williams v. State, 669 N.E.2d 1372, 1379 (Ind. 1996) (citing Hernandez, 500
U.S. at 364, 111 S.Ct. at 1868-69, 114 L.Ed.2d at 408-09; see also
Batson, 476 U.S. at 98 n.21, 106 S.Ct. at 1724 n.21, 90 L.Ed.2d
at 89 n.21(trial court's finding "largely will turn on evaluation of credibility [and
should be given] great deference").
In the present case, the State sought to exclude from jury service the
only prospective juror in the venire pool who was African-American. In response
to the defendant's Batson objection, the State stated, "[The prospective juror] only got
forty-five minutes of rest. . . . [A]nd . . . when [defense
counsel] was telling his jokes . . . she responded very well to
him and we thought she favored him. Those are the reasons for
the strike." Record at 126. Defense counsel then noted that although
the prospective juror had only gotten forty-five minutes of sleep the night before,
she said during voir dire that she would be fine for the rest
of the day. Id. According to the record, when asked if
she would be able to sit and listen closely to the evidence, the
woman said, "I have to say I have had problems. I only
had about forty-five minutes rest. But I've heard basically what you've said."
Supp. Record at 3. She then appeared to express some confusion
about an earlier discussion during the voir dire. Id. The trial
court then overruled the defendant's objection.
This Court has held that using a peremptory challenge to remove the only
prospective African-American juror does "raise an inference that the juror was excluded on
the basis of race." McCants, 686 N.E.2d at 1284. In the present
case, the State responded to the defendant's objection with an ostensibly race-neutral reason
for the challenge. It thus became the responsibility of the trial court
to determine from all the circumstances whether the defendant had proved purposeful racial
discrimination by the State. Reviewing the trial court's ruling deferentially, as we
must, we find no error in its decision to overrule the objection and
permit the peremptory challenge.
The defendant asserts that the State did not present evidence sufficient to prove
that he killed Xavier Hill knowingly or intentionally. In reviewing a claim
of insufficient evidence, we will affirm the conviction unless, considering only the evidence
and reasonable inferences favorable to the judgment, and neither reweighing the evidence nor
judging the credibility of the witnesses, we conclude that no reasonable fact-finder could
find the elements of the crime proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Jenkins
v. State, 726 N.E.2d 268, 270 (Ind. 2000); Webster v. State, 699
N.E.2d 266, 268 (Ind. 1998); Hodge v. State, 688 N.E.2d 1246, 1247-48
"A person engages in conduct 'knowingly' if, when he engages in the conduct,
he is aware of a high probability that he is doing so."
Ind.Code 35-41-2-1. The defendant acknowledges that the "knowingly" element may be inferred
from surrounding circumstances. Br. of Appellant at 9; see, e.g., Lewis v.
State, 740 N.E.2d 550 (Ind. 2000); Anderson v. State, 681 N.E.2d 703 (Ind.
The facts favorable to the judgment show that the defendant was watching a
fourteen-month old child while the child's mother ran errands. When the mother
returned from her first errand, she saw that the defendant was playing with
the child on the couch, and she told him to stop. She
then left the house again, and when she returned home approximately ten minutes
later, the child was having difficulty breathing and he had gone limp.
When paramedics arrived, the child had no pulse and no blood pressure.
He was pronounced dead less than an hour later. The autopsy revealed
that the child died of a blunt force injury to his back with
a laceration of his heart. He had suffered three blows: one to
the front of his head, one to the back of his head, and
one to his back. At trial, a forensic pathologist testified that the
child's death was caused by a severe force from the back, as though
he had been dropped from a height of several stories. The child
was injured at or near the time of his death. When questioned,
the pathologist agreed that the child might have sustained his injuries when he
hit a couch, but he would have had to hit a solid part
of the couch three times. The pathologist also agreed that it was
possible that the child had been thrown against a wall, where he suffered
the blows to his back and head, and then hit the floor, where
he would have sustained the injury to his forehead. The defendant maintained
that he had been swinging the child around in circles when he tripped
and lost his grip on the child. He testified that he did
not see where the child landed, but he found the child lying on
the couch. When the mother returned home, the defendant was cleaning something
from the couch. The child was lying on the floor, but the
mother noticed that "he wasn't breathing right." Record at 187. When
she picked up the child, "his head went back, his eyes rolled in
his head and his body was just limp." Record at 188.
The defendant argues that there was no evidence presented that would show that
he had lashed out at any of the children or their mother the
day that the child died. He also compares his case to Moriarity
v. State, 620 N.E.2d 696 (Ind. 1993) in which this Court held that
the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction of another defendant found guilty
of murdering an infant. In that case, the child died as a
result of one blow to the head that might have occurred at any
time from twenty minutes to six hours before the defendant called 911, and
the defendant had been watching the child for approximately one hour when he
called for help. Moriarity, 620 N.E.2d at 697. The Court held
that it was impossible for the jury to find the defendant guilty beyond
a reasonable doubt as the blow the child suffered "could well have occurred
prior to the child being left in the care of appellant," and "[o]ne
can merely guess that appellant may have injured the child." Moriarity, 620
N.E.2d at 698.
In contrast to Moriarity, however, here the child died from a severe blunt
force injury at or near the time of his death. Approximately ten
minutes before his mother found his injured body, the child had been actively
engaged in normal activities. During this time, the child had been in
the defendant's exclusive care. The defendant's testimony was inconsistent with the medical
evidence from the autopsy.
From the evidence and resulting reasonable inferences, a reasonable fact-finder may have concluded
beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly or intentionally killed the child.
The evidence was sufficient to support the defendant's murder conviction.
The defendant's conviction is affirmed.
SHEPARD, C.J., and SULLIVAN, BOEHM, and RUCKER, JJ., concur.
Amy Barnes, Master Commissioner, presided.
Footnote: Ind.Code § 35-42-1-1.