Pursuant to Ind.Appellate Rule 65(D),
this Memorandum Decision shall not be
regarded as precedent or cited before
any court except for the purpose of
establishing the defense of res judicata,
collateral estoppel, or the law of the
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT:
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE:
CARL C. JONES
Attorney General of Indiana
MICHAEL GENE WORDEN
Deputy Attorney General
COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA
STATE OF INDIANA,
APPEAL FROM LAKE SUPERIOR COURT
The Honorable Salvador Vasquez, Judge
Cause No. 45G01-0602-FA-00015
November 15, 2007
MEMORANDUM DECISION – NOT FOR PUBLICATION
Kourtney Reed (“Reed”) was convicted by a jury in Lake Superior Court of Class
A felony kidnapping 1 and Class D felony auto theft. 2 He appeals, raising two issues:
I. Whether sufficient evidence supports his convictions; and,
II. Whether the trial court properly sentenced him.
Concluding that sufficient evidence supports both Reed’s convictions and that the
trial court properly sentenced him, we affirm.
Facts and Procedural History
On February 12, 2006, Donald Pearson (“Pearson”) was driving in a Ford Bronco
with a friend to a grocery store in East Chicago. While Pearson was stopped at a red
light, a red Chevrolet Tahoe passed him on the driver’s side and a Lincoln Continental
passed him on the passenger side. The Lincoln struck Pearson’s vehicle as it passed.
Both vehicles stopped, and all three drivers got out of their respective vehicles to inspect
The driver of the Lincoln, Charles Anderson (“Anderson”), refused to exchange
insurance information with Pearson and instead demanded that Pearson pay him cash for
the damage to his car. The driver of the Tahoe moved his vehicle behind Pearson’s,
effectively trapping Pearson’s vehicle between the Lincoln and the Tahoe.
passengers exited the Lincoln, and Anderson told Pearson that they would have to go to a
nearby apartment complex to resolve the issue. The three vehicles proceeded to the
parking lot of an apartment building a block away where the driver of the Tahoe parked
his vehicle so that it blocked the only exit.
Ind. Code § 35-42-3-2 (2004).
Ind. Code § 35-43-4-2.5 (2004).
Pearson again tried to exchange insurance information with Anderson, but
Anderson insisted that Pearson give him cash. Pearson informed Anderson that he did
not have any money and asked if he could call someone.
Meanwhile, several of
Anderson’s friends came out of the apartment building and joined the group standing
near the Pearson’s and Anderson’s vehicles. Pearson called his father and explained the
situation. Pearson’s father spoke to Anderson on Pearson’s cell phone.
discussions, Reed, who was one of the passengers in Anderson’s vehicle, stood nearby.
After this call ended, Anderson told Pearson “your father must don’t care about
you because he want to get you killed. I want money for my car[.]” Tr. p. 54. Anderson
then showed Pearson a handgun. Reed told Pearson “to give [ ] Anderson what he wants
because he ain’t playing no games[.]” Tr. p. 87-88. Pearson called his father back and
told him “its not looking too good and they want some money right now, and I can’t
leave without that because I’m surrounded basically.” Tr. pp. 55. On the other end of the
call, Pearson’s father overheard threats to put Pearson in the trunk of the Lincoln, but he
convinced Anderson that his brother would meet him with the money at a mall in
Calumet City, Illinois. Meanwhile, Reed continued to stand within five feet of Pearson.
After the call ended, Pearson’s father alerted the police.
Anderson told Pearson that he did not trust him to drive himself to Calumet City
and insisted that Pearson ride in the trunk of the Lincoln. Pearson refused, and as the two
argued, Reed got into Pearson’s Ford Bronco, started it without the key, and drove off
with Pearson’s passenger still inside. Pearson rode in the backseat of Anderson’s Lincoln
with two other passengers. En route to Calumet City, Anderson pulled alongside the
Bronco and told Reed to follow him. As they arrived at the mall, Calumet City police
surrounded both cars.
The State charged Reed with Class A felony kidnapping, two counts of Class B
felony criminal confinement, Class B felony attempted robbery, and Class D felony auto
theft. A jury trial commenced on October 10, 2006, and the jury convicted Reed of Class
A felony kidnapping and Class D felony auto theft. At a sentencing hearing held on
November 9, 2006, the trial court sentenced Reed to twenty-five years for kidnapping,
with a concurrent two-year sentence for auto theft. Reed now appeals.
Discussion and Decision
First, Reed asserts that the State presented insufficient evidence to sustain his
convictions. When we review a claim of sufficiency of the evidence, we do not reweigh
the evidence or judge the credibility of the witnesses. Jones v. State, 783 N.E.2d 1132,
1139 (Ind. 2003). We look only to the probative evidence supporting the judgment and
the reasonable inferences therein to determine whether a reasonable trier of fact could
conclude the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. If there is substantial
evidence of probative value to support the conviction, it will not be set aside. Id.
The State alleged in the charging information that Reed knowingly or intentionally
and by fraud, enticement, force or threat of force did remove Donald Pearson from one
place to another with the intent to obtain ransom. See Ind. Code § 35-42-3-2(b)(1)
(2004). Reed argues that he was just “a passenger involved in a car accident between the
complaining witness Mr. Pearson and…Anderson.” Br. of Appellant at 5. He further
asserts that he personally made no threatening remarks to Pearson or asked Pearson or his
father for any ransom.
Indiana’s accomplice liability statute provides in relevant part that “[a] person who
knowingly or intentionally aids, induces, or causes another person to commit an offense
commits that offense[.]” Ind. Code § 35-41-2-4 (2004). In Indiana there is no distinction
between the responsibility of a principal and an accomplice. Wise v. State, 719 N.E.2d
1192, 1198 (Ind. 1999). Thus, one may be charged as a principal yet convicted on proof
that he or she aided another in the commission of a crime. Id.
A defendant’s mere presence at the crime scene, or lack of opposition to a crime,
standing alone, is insufficient to establish accomplice liability. Tobar v. State, 740
N.E.2d 109, 112 (Ind. 2000) (citing Harris v. State, 425 N.E.2d 154, 156 (Ind. 1981)).
These factors, however, may be considered in conjunction with a defendant’s course of
conduct before, during, and after the crime, and a defendant’s companionship with the
one who commits the crime. Id.
Here, the State presented evidence that Reed stood at a distance of five feet while
Anderson demanded money from Pearson, told Pearson that his father must want to get
him killed, and showed him a gun. In addition, Reed told Pearson to give Anderson what
he wanted because “he ain’t playing no games” and that “if they got the money, [he]
would be okay; but if they didn’t, [he] would not be okay.” Tr. pp. 87-88. Reed then
drove off in Pearson’s car without permission, leaving Pearson with little choice but to
get into Anderson’s car. Reed then followed Anderson’s vehicle to the location where
the money was to be paid. Thus, sufficient evidence supports the jury’s conclusion that
Reed was an accomplice to Pearson’s kidnapping.
Reed also contends that the State presented insufficient evidence to sustain his
conviction of Class D felony auto theft. In order to convict Reed of auto theft, the State
was required to prove that he knowingly or intentionally exerted unauthorized control
over the motor vehicle of another person, with intent to deprive the owner of the vehicle’s
use or value. Ind. Code § 35-43-4-2.5(b) (2004). Pearson testified that Reed drove off in
his Ford Bronco without permission, denying him the use of the vehicle.
argument to the contrary is an invitation to reweigh the evidence, which we will not do.
Sufficient evidence supports Reed’s conviction of auto theft.
Finally, Reed challenges his sentence, arguing that the trial court failed to consider
as mitigating circumstances that “the only damage was caused by the car accident” and
that Pearson “facilitated the offense.” Br. of Appellant at 8. An allegation that the trial
court failed to identify or find a mitigating factor requires the defendant to establish that
the mitigating evidence is both significant and clearly supported by the record.
Anglemyer v. State, 868 N.E.2d 482, 493 (Ind. 2007). Reed directs us to nothing in the
record demonstrating that either of his proffered mitigating circumstances is significant.
Therefore, we cannot conclude that the trial court improperly sentenced him.
Sufficient evidence supports Reeds convictions and the trial court properly
NAJAM, J., and BRADFORD, J., concur.