ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE
Gary S. Germann Pamela Carter
Portage, Indiana Attorney General of Indiana
I. Alexander Woloshansky Arthur Thaddeus Perry
Merrillville, Indiana Deputy Attorney General
OBADYAH BEN-YISRAYL, ) f/k/a CHRISTOPHER D. PETERSON, ) Defendant-Appellant, ) ) v. ) 64S00-9103-DP-00229 ) STATE OF INDIANA, ) Plaintiff-Appellee. )_________________________________________________
APPEAL FROM THE PORTER SUPERIOR COURT The Honorable Thomas W. Webber, Judge Cause No. 64D02-9102-CF-022
The defendant-appellant, Christopher D. Peterson, was convicted of two counts of murderSee footnote 1 and two counts of felony murderSee footnote 2 for the intentional killing and robbery of
Harchand Dhaliwal (Counts 1 and 2) and Marie Meitzler (Counts 3 and 4).
accordance with the jury recommendation, the trial court ordered that a death sentence be
On December 15, 1990, Marie Meitzler, a Portage, Indiana, motel clerk was killed as the result of a shotgun wound to the neck and $467.00 was missing from the cash register. The next day, Harchand Dhaliwal, an attendant at a nearby gas station, was killed by a shotgun blast to the head and $327.55 was missing. The defendant subsequently confessed to these murders.
The defendant presents twenty claims in this direct appeal, which we regroup and address as follows: (1) severance of offenses ;See footnote 4 (2) change of venue ;See footnote 5 (3) admissibility of evidence of the defendant's other crimes ;See footnote 6 (4) prosecutor's comments during closing argument ;See footnote 7 (5) jury instructions ;See footnote 8 (6) sufficiency of evidence of statutory aggravating
circumstances at the penalty phase;See footnote
admissibility of defendant's statements
search and seizure;See footnote
and (9) appropriateness of the death sentence. We affirm.
Ind. Code § 35-34-1-9(a) (1993).
Whenever two (2) or more offenses have been joined for trial in the same
indictment or information solely on the ground that they are of the same or
similar character, the defendant shall have a right to a severance of the
offenses. In all other cases the court, upon motion of the defendant or the
prosecutor, shall grant a severance of offenses whenever the court
determines that severance is appropriate to promote a fair determination of
the defendant's guilt or innocence of each offense considering:
(1) the number of offenses charged;
(2) the complexity of the evidence to be offered; and
(3) whether the trier of fact will be able to distinguish the evidence and apply the law intelligently as to each offense.
Ind. Code § 35-34-1-11(a) (1993).
Interpreting these statutes, we have required severance of offenses as a matter of right under subsection 11(a) only when the offenses are joined solely because of the reason listed in subsection 9(a)(1), i.e., that the offenses are of the same or similar character. See Brown v. State, 650 N.E.2d 304, 305 (Ind. 1995). However, when the offenses are joined under subsection 9(a)(2) , the court must grant a severance only if it determines that it is "appropriate to promote a fair determination of the defendant's guilt or innocence," based on subsections 11(a) (1) through (3). Conner v. State, 580 N.E.2d 214, 219 (Ind. 1991), cert. denied, 503 U.S. 946, 112 S.Ct. 1501, 117 L.Ed.2d 640 (1992).
Under subsection 9(a)(2) , offenses may be sufficiently "connected together" to justify joinder if the State can establish that a common modus operandi linked the crimes and that the same motive induced that criminal behavior. Davidson v. State, 558 N.E.2d 1077, 1083 (Ind. 1990). In this case, the crimes for which the defendant was charged both have the same modus operandi. Both shootings involved victims who were clerks
and were killed at their place of business while working alone between the hours of 6:00
p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The assailant in both shootings was identified as someone who drove
a white Nissan Sentra automobile. In both killings, the victims' cash registers were
emptied. The cause of death for both victims was a shotgun blast to the head, at close
range, from a .12 gauge shotgun. Winchester AA 8 shotgun waddings were also found at
both crime scenes.
Both shootings were committed in the City of Portage, two days
As noted, the crimes also had the same motive: robbery.
Because these facts are
sufficient to show a "series of acts connected together,"
they were not joined solely
because they were
of a "same or similar character
severance was not mandated as a
matter of right. Accordingly,
"whether to sever multiple charges is a matter within the
trial court's discretion, taking into account the three factors listed in [subsections 11(a)
and a denial of severance will be reversed only upon a showing of clear
The defendant concedes he cannot establish that the number of offenses charged or the complexity of the evidence offered subjected him to any prejudice, as required under Indiana Code Section 35-34-1-11(1) and (2) . He has similarly presented no evidence that the jury was unable to distinguish the evidence and apply the law intelligently as to each offense. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to sever the offenses for trial.
apparent error in the trial transcript contained in the record of proceedings
and in any transcripts submitted as part of any supplemental records. This
task shall be completed and the results submitted to this Court on or before
February 1, 1995. All further appellate briefing in this case is stayed until
further order of this Court. . . .
Indiana Supreme Court Order, dated Oct. 6, 1994 (emphasis added).
On May 8, 1995, we removed the stay on briefing, stating, "On October 6, 1994, this Court issued an Order staying briefing in this case until supplementation of the Record of Proceedings was completed. This Court now deems the Record of Proceedings filed and supplementation complete." Indiana Supreme Court Order, dated May 8, 1995.
The defendant now alleges that portions of the trial transcript are still indecipherable or missing. Our order of October 6, 1994, made it clear that, if there were any problems with the reconstruction of the record, they were to be brought to this Court's attention, in writing, before February 1, 1995, and certainly before we removed the stay on May 8, 1995, allowing appellate briefing to continue. It was not until four months after the date this Court set as the final date for completing the reconstruction process, and almost one month after this Court deemed the process complete, that the defendant made any mention of his perceived problems with the reconstruction process.See footnote 13
The defendant now contends there were problems with the reconstruction process
or result. However, he was ordered to present those to this Court while the briefing
period was stayed or at the very least he should have requested an extension in which to
continue the reconstruction process. We formally resolved the reconstruction of the
record on May 8, 1995, without any objections from the defendant. He has therefore
forfeited his claim regarding the sufficiency of the record.
was not tried and convicted of these murders until after he had been convicted of the
murders in the case at bar.See footnote
The defendant argues that the admission of this evidence
was error. However, even if the evidence was erroneously admitted, which we do not
decide, such error would be harmless.
Ignoring any reference to the Balovski murders, the evidence presented to the jury in this case was overwhelming. First and foremost, the jury was presented with the defendant's voluntary confession to police. The State also presented testimony that, prior to his arrest, the defendant admitted to an acquaintance that he had committed the murders. The defendant acknowledged his possession of a .12 gauge sawed-off shotgun, which was identified as the same weapon used to commit the murders. Several witnesses testified to seeing the shotgun in the defendant's possession. The shotgun was found in a closet in the bedroom which was previously occupied by the defendant. Three other witnesses testified they saw the defendant or his car either at the murder scene or in close proximity thereto.
In determining whether the erroneous admission of extrinsic offenses is harmless error, we look to whether the error had substantial influence on the jury or whether one is
left in "grave doubt." Hardin v. State, 611 N.E.2d 123, 132 (Ind. 1993) (internal citations
See Ind.Trial Rule 61.See footnote
In light of the above evidence, we do not find the jury
would have been "substantially influenced" by the possible erroneous admission of
evidence relating to the Balovski murders, nor are we left in "grave doubt" as to the
influence such admission may have had on the verdict. Any error was therefore harmless.
that they were stating there had been no evidence showing why someone would confess
to a crime they did not commit. The trial court, seeking to clarify what the prosecution
meant by "evidence," asked if the prosecution was referring to coercion, to which the
prosecution responded, "Yes, [it] could go to duress, anything." Record at 5566-67. The
trial court then allowed the prosecution to proceed, stating, "You can comment that there
is no evidence," but emphasized that the prosecution could not "comment in any fashion
on . . . the defendant's failure to testify." Record at 5563-64. The prosecutor continued
his closing argument and reminded the jury that he had told them in his opening statement
that the defendant confessed to killing the four victims with his shotgun. He stated it was
self-evident "that no one freely and voluntarily confesses to a murder unless they're
guilty." Record at 5568. He then challenged defense counselSee footnote
to explain why a person
would voluntarily confess to a crime they did not commit.
The defense objected and sought a mistrial. The trial court reserved its ruling until it could review the record in its totality. The State continued and proceeded to tell the jury that "nobody will ever confess to a murder freely and voluntarily unless they commit
it. That's why we have spent so much time, so much effort in explaining that the
confession . . . was freely and voluntarily given." Record at 5570. The prosecution then
summarized the evidence it had introduced to show the confession was freely and
voluntarily given. The prosecution concluded its argument by stating that the defense
would try to show the defendant was coerced into confessing, but that the prosecution
believed they had proven it was voluntary beyond a reasonable doubt. Following closing
arguments, the trial court instructed the jury:
[A] person charged with the commission of a crime cannot be compelled to testify and is under no duty or obligation to testify. The fact that the defendant did not testify raises no presumption of any kind against him. It shall not be commented upon, referred to, or in any manner considered by the jury in determining the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
Second Supp.Record at 16. After reviewing the record and hearing arguments from both
sides, the trial court found that the comments were not improper and denied the
defendant's request for a mistrial. The defendant then asked for an admonishment, to
which the trial court responded that the instructions already given were more relevant
than an admonishment, which would only call attention to what the court had just told
them to disregard.
When a defendant's motion for mistrial is denied, reversible error exists only if that denial subjects the defendant to grave peril. Taylor v. State, 587 N.E.2d 1293, 1299 (Ind. 1992). Grave peril is measured by the probable persuasive effect on the jury. Id. On appeal, the trial court's decision is reviewed only for an abuse of discretion. Steele v. State, 672 N.E.2d 1348, 1350 (Ind. 1996).
We have recently addressed this issue in Moore v. State, 669 N.E.2d 733 (Ind.
1996). Analyzing both the historical and contemporary treatment of a prosecutor's
comments on the defendant's failure to testify, we held that: "The Fifth Amendment
privilege against compulsory self-incrimination is violated when a prosecutor makes a
statement that is subject to reasonable interpretation by a jury as an invitation to draw an
adverse inference from a defendant's silence." Id. at 739. Moore makes clear that direct
and indirect references to the defendant's failure to testify are not, per se, improper. Id.
We therefore look to whether the prosecutor's comments in this case could reasonably be
interpreted by the jury as an invitation to draw an adverse inference from the defendant's
The jury in this case could not reasonably have interpreted the prosecutor's comments as suggestion to infer guilt from the defendant's silence. While the prosecutor could have been more articulate, it is clear that he was responding to any possible implications that the defendant's confession was less than voluntary. His "challenge" to defense counsel was made to illustrate that the only reason a defendant would confess to a crime he did not commit would be because of coercion or duress. He then pointed out that the State presented substantial evidence that the confession was not the result of coercion or duress. Consequently, he was arguing that the confession should be taken by the jury as direct evidence of the defendant's guilt. The theme of the State's argument was a challenge directed at defense counsel which pointed out the uncontradicted nature of the State's evidence of voluntariness and invited defense counsel to explain, in its
closing argument, any contrary conclusions.
Because the jury could not have reasonably interpreted the State's argument as an impermissible suggestion, the probable persuasive effect on the jury does not rise to the level of grave peril. Therefore, the prosecutor did not commit reversible error and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to grant a mistrial and refusing to give an admonishment.See footnote 18
instruction because he was actually charged as a principal. Id. at 151. The Swoaks court
found that some evidence showed that an accomplice was also involved in the crime for
which the defendant was charged as a principal. Id. We stated:
In view of the fact jurors not totally familiar with the law might have been persuaded that if appellant were only an accomplice he could not be convicted as a principal, it was entirely proper for the trial court to give the instruction that an accomplice could be charged as a principal.
The trial court in this case found that the testimony of two witnesses, Barbara Wright and Bob Bailey, raised the inference that the defendant had been accompanied by one to two other persons on the night of the murder. Furthermore, during his discussion of another issue in his appellate brief, the defendant concedes as much.See footnote 19 The instruction on accomplice liability was proper.
As to the remaining instructions challenged by the defendant on appeal, the defendant failed to object and, thus, his claim of error was not properly preserved at trial. When an issue is not properly preserved at trial, this Court will reach the merits of the case only if the error is fundamental. Beasley v. State, 643 N.E.2d 346, 348 (Ind. 1994). To qualify as fundamental error, the defendant bears the burden of proving that "the error [was] a substantial blatant violation of basic principles rendering the trial unfair to the defendant." Hart v. State, 578 N.E.2d 336, 337 (Ind. 1991).
The defendant contends that the following instruction was fundamental error:
"You may also consider the [prior inconsistent] statements as evidence in determining the
guilt or innocence of the defendant of the crime charged."
He is correct that, in Modesitt
v. State, 578 N.E.2d 649, 654 (Ind. 1991), we modified the applicable evidentiary rule,
overruling the case upon which this jury instruction was patterned: Patterson v. State,
263 Ind. 55, 324 N.E.2d 482 (1975).
It would be hard to imagine a situation in which
such error could be fundamental. Furthermore, in this case, t
he defendant has not
prior inconsistent statements in the record which may have been affected
by this jury instruction.See footnote
We are not persuaded that the alleged error was a substantial
blatant violation rendering his trial unfair. His
claim of fundamental error fails.
He also contends that the inclusion of an instruction on aggravation and mitigation during the penalty phase was reversible as fundamental error because the instruction provided: "The law provides for the penalty of death upon conviction for the crime of murder under the following circumstances: The defendant . . . has committed another murder at any other time." Record at 49. During the guilt phase, the State had introduced evidence of the murders of Harchand Dhaliwal and Marie Meitzler, the victims of the charged offenses in this case, as well as evidence that he was responsible
for the separate murders of Eli and George Balovski.See footnote
See supra text accompanying note
15. The defendant contends that, during the penalty phase,
the jury could have
impermissibly considered the Balovski murders as the "another murder at any other time"
referenced by the jury instruction. Supplemental Brief of Appellant at 11-12.
However, at no point during the penalty phase were the Balovski murders mentioned. Further, we evaluate whether the instructions as a whole sufficiently informed the jury of the murders they were to consider as statutory aggravating circumstances. Accord Beasley, 643 N.E.2d at 348. The penalty phase instructions given by the court and read to the jury before the instruction challenged here included an instruction that the State was seeking the death penalty by alleging the existence of at least one aggravating circumstance:
Count 7: The State of Indiana . . . now seeks the death sentence for [the defendant], based on the existence of the following aggravated circumstance:
(1) On or about the 13th day of December, 1990, in the County of Porter, State of Indiana, [the defendant] did murder Harchand Dhaliwal and (a) the defendant . . . did commit another murder, to wit: the murder of Marie Meitzler on December 15, 1990.
Count 8: The State of Indiana . . . now seeks the death sentence for [the
defendant], based on the existence of the following aggravated
(1) On or about the 15th day of December, 1990, in the County of Porter, State of Indiana, [the defendant] did murder Marie Meitzler and (a) the defendant . . . did commit another murder, to wit: the murder of Harchand Singh Dhaliwal on December 13, 1990.
Second Supp.Record at 35; Record at 215, 216 (emphasis added). In addition, following
the final penalty phase instructions, the trial court again read to the jury the amended
charging information, which contained the same language as the instruction above. The
instructions provided the jury with proper guidance as to which murders they were to
consider in finding the presence of statutory aggravating circumstances. No error was
Record at 5700. The defendant does not contend that, considering the totality of evidence in the guilt phase , the evidence of aggravating circumstances was insufficient. Rather, t he defendant contends only that, because the State failed to offer any evidence of a statutory aggravating circumstance at the penalty phase, it failed to prove the existence of an aggravator beyond a reasonable doubt as required by Indiana Code Section 35-50-2- 9(a). The State responds by arguing that, although a motion to incorporate the evidence
presented at the guilt phase "has become routine in capital cases," there is no authority
requiring such incorporation. Brief of Appellee at 14. Indiana's death sentencing statute
provides, in pertinent part:
If the defendant was convicted of murder in a jury trial, the jury shall reconvene for the sentencing hearing. . . . The jury or the court may consider all the evidence introduced at the trial stage of the proceedings, together with new evidence presented at the sentencing.
Ind. Code § 35-50-2-9(d) (1993) (emphasis added).
The jury in the penalty phase was the same jury which had just completed the guilt phase, convicting the defendant of two counts of murder and two counts of felony murder. The statute expressly allows the jury to consider all the evidence introduced at the guilt phase, and the State specifically asked the jury to do so. The defendant presents no authority requiring the State to move to incorporate the guilt phase evidence at the penalty phase. We find no error on this issue.
charged in Lake County with
December 19, 1990, murders of Eli and George
Balovski. These four separate murder charges all arose following the defendant's arrest
on January 28, 1991, and confession on January 30, 1991. See supra note 15. Thus,
facts and circumstances of his arrest and subsequent confession at issue in this appeal are
identical to the circumstances we addressed in the defendant's separate direct appeal for
the Balovski murders. See Peterson v. State, 674 N.E.2d 528, 535-39 (Ind. 1996)
for cert. filed (Oct. 14, 1997)
We rejected the defendant's claims in Peterson and he
presents no new argument or factual allegations as to these issues. Therefore, we find
that, for purposes of his federal Fourth Amendment claim, the trial court properly denied
the defendant's motion to suppress his confession. Id. at 539.
Separate and apart from the federal Fourth Amendment analysis, the Indiana Constitution provides an independent prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures under Article 1, Section 11. Moran v. State, 644 N.E.2d 536, 540 (Ind. 1994). Such challenges are analyzed under an independent "reasonableness" standard. Id. We are not persuaded that the defendant's arrest and the delay in taking him to a magistrate were unreasonable under Article 1, Section 11.
The defendant also claims that his arrest and subsequent delay were unreasonable under Article 1, Section 12 of the Indiana Constitution.See footnote 22 However, the defendant
provides no argument or authority for this contention. The arrest and subsequent delay
were not unreasonable under
the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution or
under Article 1, Sections 11 and 12 of the Indiana Constitution.
recently addressed the defendant's arguments regarding these search and seizure issues in
Peterson, 674 N.E.2d at 535-39, wherein we
found that the defendant possessed "no
reasonable expectation of privacy"See footnote
and therefore could not challenge the search of his
mother's apartment. Id. at 533. Further, in finding that Article 1, Section 11 of the
Indiana Constitution was not violated, we held that, "police observation of an item in
open view is not a search" and that one of the officers who found the shotgun "simply
made a discovery of that which was open to view." Id. at 535. Because t
presents no new argument or factual allegations, we find that the trial court properly
rejected his challenges.
required that he vacate her apartment the night before he was arrested.
These murders were brutally committed. U sing a sawed-off shotgun, the defendant killed Marie Meitzler while she was working and removed $467.00 from the cash register. The next day, he murdered Harchand Dhaliwal with a shotgun blast to the head, taking $327.55. The defendant confessed to these murders.
Considering both the offender and the offense in this case, we find that the penalty is appropriate.
Gary S. Germann
I. Alexander Woloshansky
Attorneys for Appellee
Attorney General of Indiana
Arthur Thaddeus Perry
Deputy Attorney General
Gary S. Germann
I. Alexander Woloshansky
f/k/a CHRISTOPHER D. PETERSON,
Appellant (Defendant below),
STATE OF INDIANA,
Appellee (Plaintiff below).
) Supreme Court No.
SULLIVAN, Justice, concurring in part and concurring in result.
I concur in sections 1 through 8 of the majority opinion.
In this appeal, the defendant does not challenge the constitutionality or the appropri
ateness of his death sentence or the procedures (except to the extent discussed in issues 5
and 6 above) by which it was imposed. Nevertheless, a death sentence cannot be imposed
in this state "until it has been reviewed by this Court and found to comport with the laws of
this State and the principles of our state and federal constitutions." Judy v. State, 416
N.E.2d 95, 102 (Ind. 1981).
This Court has regularly upheld the constitutionality of the Indiana death penalty
statute, including challenges to the version of the statute in effect at the time these crimes
were committed.See footnote
See Peterson v. State, 674 N.E.2d 528 (Ind. 1996); Lambert v. State, 643
N.E.2d 349 (Ind. 1994), aff'd on reh'g, 675 N.E.2d 1060 (Ind. 1996), cert. denied 117 S.Ct.
2417 (1997); Bivins v. State, 642 N.E.2d 928 (Ind. 1994); Roche v. State, 596 N.E.2d 896
(Ind. 1992). I find no basis not to reaffirm those decisions.
As to the appropriateness of the death penalty in this case, the statute guides this Court's review by setting forth standards governing imposition of death sentences. Follow ing completion of the guilt phase of the trial and the rendering of the jury's verdict, the trial court reconvenes for the penalty phase. Before a death sentence can be imposed, our death penalty statute requires the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt at least one aggravat
ing circumstance listed in subsections (b)(1) through (b)(12) of the statute. Ind. Code § 35-
50-2-9. Here the State supported its request for the death penalty with the following
aggravating circumstances: (1) that the defendant intentionally killed Marie Meitzler while
committing or attempting to commit robbery, Ind. Code § 35-50-2-9(b)(1)(G); (2) that the
defendant intentionally killed Harchand Dhaliwal while committing or attempting to commit
robbery, id.; and (3) that the defendant committed multiple murders (Marie Meitzler and
Harchand Dhaliwal ), Ind. Code § 35-50-2-9(b)(8).
To prove the existence of these aggravating circumstances at the penalty phase of the
trial, the State relied upon the evidence from the earlier guilt phase of the trial (with respect
to which the jury had found the defendant guilty of the two murders and the two robberies).
I join the majority in rejecting an attack on the sufficiency of this evidence in section 6 of
The death penalty statute requires that any mitigating circumstances be weighed
against any properly proven aggravating circumstances. The majority opinion accurately
describes the evidence of mitigation here and I repeat it in the interest of completeness:
In the penalty phase, the evidence regarding the offender25 included testimony that the defendant was generous with friends, driving one friend to and from work weekly because the friend did not have any transportation. The defen dant was described as being non-violent and not abusive in any way. He had lost his sixth-month-old child a year before the murders occurred, learning of
the child's impending death while attending his grandfather's funeral, a man
whom he regarded as a father figure. The mother of his children testified that
they had been dating since high school and that he was never violent towards
her or anyone else unless they provoked him. He also helped out her family
whenever needed. His own mother testified that she and the defendant had an
extremely close relationship. She told the jury that he always set a good
example for the rest of her children and that he was a good student, graduating
from high school and then going into the Marine Corps. However, the record
also contains the mother's testimony at the suppression hearing that she often
searched the defendant's bedroom looking for drugs the defendant may have
hidden and that he was AWOL from the Marines when she required that he
vacate her apartment the night before he was arrested.
25 This Court extensively considered this defendant in our review of his death
sentence resulting from the murders of the Balovski brothers. See Peterson, 674
N.E.2d at 542 (involving the imposition of the death sentence in the context of a
contrary jury recommendation).
Majority op. at 23-24.
The jury subsequently returned a unanimous recommendation that a sentence of
death be imposed.
Once the jury has made its recommendation, the jury is dismissed, and the trial court has the duty of making the final sentencing determination. First, the trial court must find that the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that at least one of the aggravating circumstances listed in the death penalty statute exists. Ind. Code § 35-50-2-9(e)(1). Second, the trial court must find that any mitigating circumstances that exist are outweighed by the aggravating circumstance or circumstances. Ind. Code § 35-50-2-9(e)(2). Third,
before making the final determination of the sentence, the trial court must consider the jury's
recommendation. Ind. Code § 35-50-2-9(e). The trial court must make a record of its
reasons for selecting the sentence that it imposes. Ind. Code § 35-38-1-3 (1988).
In imposing the death sentence, the trial court found that the State proved beyond a
reasonable doubt the charged aggravating circumstances listed in the death penalty statute
_ that the defendant had intentionally committed the murder of Marie Meitzler and of
Harchand Dhaliwal while committing or attempting to commit robbery and that the defen
dant had committed multiple murders. The record and the law supports these findings.
The trial court found no mitigating circumstances to exist. My own review of the
record leads me to conclude (as it did this Court in the other Peterson case) that there were
mitigating circumstances _ defendant's difficult childhood, his emotional disturbance, his
graduation from high school, his service in the Marines, his age, and his caring relationship
with his child and her mother. Cf. Peterson, 674 N.E.2d at 543. As this Court did in the
other Peterson case, I find the mitigating weight warranted for each of these considerations
to be in the low range, individually and cumulatively.
As required by our death penalty statute, the trial court specifically found that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances. The trial court also gave consideration to the jury's recommendation. The trial court imposed the sentence of
Based on my review of the record and the law, I agree that the State has proven
beyond a reasonable doubt aggravating circumstances authorized by our death penalty
statute and that the mitigating circumstances that exist are outweighed by the aggravating
circumstances. I conclude that the death penalty is appropriate for defendant's murder of
Marie Meitzler and of Harchand Dhaliwal.
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