Hilary Bowe Oakes
Jeffrey A. Modisett
James A. Garrard
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE
Attorney General of Indiana
Deputy Attorney General
Hilary Bowe Oakes
Jeffrey A. Modisett
James A. Garrard
conspiracy to be served consecutively. Bonds appeals, arguing that there is insufficient
evidence to support his convictions, that the trial court failed to find a mitigating
circumstance and that his sentence is manifestly unreasonable. We affirm the trial court.
sister to check on their brother Jewan. He had seen Jewan with a .38 caliber revolver and
Clark with a nine millimeter handgun earlier that day. After Jermaine observed Webster
leaving a store in the strip mall, he and the others approached Webster as Webster was
getting into a red car. As Jermaine walked around the back of the car he heard a gunshot.
Jermaine first ducked, then stood up and saw Clark shoot Webster through the open window
of the backseat door. Although Jermaine admitted that he did not see the first shot fired, he
testified that his brother fired the first shot at Webster's head. He stated that he left in the
white Oldsmobile and Bonds and the others left in the Blazer.
Shawntae Kelly, Jermaine's girlfriend, testified that on the afternoon of the shooting Bonds was at her house when he received a page, said Revco, let's go and left with several others. A Revco store was located in the strip mall along with several other stores. Later that evening she heard Jewan tell someone on the phone that he and Clark had shot someone that day.
Tiffany Wilson, Jewan's girlfriend, testified that she owned a purple Taurus. On most days Jewan would drop her off at work and keep the car until he picked her up after her shift. Jewan dropped her off at 3:00 p.m. on the day of the shooting and kept the Taurus as usual. She heard from a friend later that her car was in the parking lot where the shooting occurred.
Linda Knox, an employee at the Revco store, testified that she saw two young men in a purple car in the store's parking lot. The two waited in the car for ten to fifteen minutes until others arrived in a black Blazer and a white car and the two in the purple car got out to talk to them. Knox heard the driver of the white car say [i]s that him? and saw the group
approach a man who had just exited a store and was getting into his red car. She also saw
the driver of the purple car repeatedly shoot the man in the red car before running to the
white car to drive away.
William Russell testified that as he drove into the parking lot on the day of the shooting, he noticed a white Oldsmobile in the parking lot. He heard a person say [t]here [he] is and saw a group of men approach the red car and saw the man from the white car shoot repeatedly.
Helen Shouse testified that when she arrived at the parking lot on the afternoon of the shooting, she saw both a purple car and a black Blazer. She saw the white Oldsmobile arrive shortly thereafter. The driver of the white Oldsmobile was talking to the driver of the Blazer when he pointed out a man exiting a store by saying [t]hat's [him] to the driver of the Blazer. The driver of the Blazer said oh, okay, and the group approached the red car. Shouse saw the driver of the white car fire repeated shots at the man in the red car.
Finally, Kevin Ritchey testified that the day before the murder Bonds and Jewan approached him, asking who had carjacked Ernestine. Jewan told Ritchey that whoever did it was going to get burned. When asked by the prosecutor what get burned meant, Ritchey replied get shot.
Bonds was convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The trial court sentenced Bonds to sixty-five years for the murder and fifty years for the conspiracy to be served consecutively. He appeals his convictions and sentence.
before, during and after the crime. Edgecomb, 673 N.E.2d at 1193; cf. Richardson v. State,
697 N.E.2d. 462, 465 (Ind. 1998) (State need not prove that defendant personally
participated in the acts that caused victim's death).
The day before Webster was killed, Bonds and Jewan were looking for Webster and Jewan stated that the person who stole Bonds' mother's car would get burned. Bonds went to the parking lot when he was paged and met Jewan and Clark who were armed. When Webster exited a store, Bonds and the others approached Webster and, without discussion about recovering Bonds' mother's car or any other warning, killed Webster. Finally, Bonds fled the scene with the others after the shooting. In sum, Bonds' behavior before, during and after the shooting supports his participation in the murder. These facts are sufficient for a reasonable jury to find Bonds guilty of Webster's murder, either as a principal or an accomplice.
Bonds' conviction for conspiracy to commit murder is also supported by sufficient evidence. A conviction for conspiracy requires the State to prove that the defendant had the intent to commit murder, agreed with another person to commit the crime, and performed an overt act in furtherance of the agreement. See Ind. Code § 35-41-5-2 (1998); Williams v. State, 690 N.E.2d 162, 170 (Ind. 1997).
Bonds and others were searching for Ernestine's carjacker with revenge as a stated goal. On the day of the shooting, Bonds received a page and stated, Revco, lets go. When Bonds arrived at the parking lot, which was the overt act charged in the information, Jewan and Clark were already there. Several witnesses testified that when Webster walked out of
the store toward his car, someone in the group stated, There [he] is. The group then
approached Webster and someone started firing. In the aggregate this is sufficient to
establish motive, a concerted action by the group, and implementation of a prearranged
agreement to shoot Webster. This is substantial evidence of probative value from which a
reasonable jury could conclude that Bonds conspired to commit murder.
1986). A trial court's sentencing statement is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. Harris
v. State, 659 N.E.2d 522, 527 (Ind. 1995). The trial court expressly considered the fact that
Bonds' incarceration would create hardship for his family. Bonds suggests that the trial
court did not give this circumstance enough weight. However, [t]he trial court is not
required to give the same weight to proffered mitigating circumstances as the defendant
does. Thacker v. State, 709 N.E.2d 3, 10 (Ind. 1999).
Bonds also points to his expression of remorse and acceptance of responsibility as a mitigating circumstance that the trial court failed to take into consideration. Bonds' statement:
I'm sorry that the family -- I'm remorseful for all what happened. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time because I didn't -- I didn't tell nobody; I didn't pay nobody. I was just going to talk to the guy about getting my mother's car back. I'm sorry about what all happened. I just don't know what went wrong
is at best an equivocal statement that he was involved in Webster's death but is well short of a full acceptance of responsibility. It certainly does not qualify as a significant mitigating circumstance that the trial court was required to take into account. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in failing to find Bonds' expression of remorse as a significant mitigating circumstance. See, e.g., Wooley v. State, 716 N.E.2d 919, 931 (Ind. 1999) (rejecting defendant's apology to the victim's family as significant mitigating circumstance); cf. Wilkins v. State, 500 N.E.2d 747, 749 (Ind. 1986) (finding no error in trial court's failure to address mitigating circumstances that were highly disputable in nature, weight, or significance).