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Indiana Appellate Court Denies Kyle Hutton's Appeal
Updated March 21, 2016 7:29 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana appellate court has ruled Kyle Hutton's sentence was not inappropriate.

The jury deliberated for around five hours before determining 34-year-old Kyle Hutton was driving the Jeep on July 28, 2012 when it crashed on Bailey Scales Road.

Hutton was found guilty on all three counts of causing death while operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .15 or greater that killed his wife Morgan, his best friend Dasan Spires and Spires' fiancee, Laura Duncan.

Lawrence County Superior Count I Judge Michael Robbins sentenced Hutton to 42 years in prison with two years suspended to probation. He is currently serving that sentence at the Wabash Valley Correctional Institute.

Hutton still maintains he is innocent saying his wife was driving the Jeep the night of the fatal accident when a deer ran into the path of the vehicle causing Morgan to lose control of the Jeep and crash.

Hutton and his attorney appealed the conviction saying Judge Robbins did not include the lesser offense of a Class A misdemeanor of operating a a vehicle with a blood-alcohol count of .15 percent or more during jury instructions.

Hutton's defense claims that offense should have been offered because Hutton didn't necessarily cause the death of his wife and friends if evidence showed that a deer could have caused the fatal accident.

In his decision, Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Terry Crone says at best, the evidence Hutton relies on shows that it was possible that a deer was in the road, but whether there actually was a deer in the road remains pure speculation

Judge Crone says speculation does not create a 'serious evidentiary dispute' and Judge Robbins did not abuse discretion by not including the lesser offense.

In a similar argument, Hutton believes Judge Robbins abused discretion by declining to use a tendered instruction on intervening cause.

"An intervening cause is an independent force that breaks the casual connection between the actions and/or omissions of (Hutton) and the death," according to the court paperwork. Though Judge Robbins did not include the instruction for the jury, Hutton was allowed to present an argument about intervening cause in closing statements - the deer.

Judge Crone, again, ruled in support of Judge Robbins, saying "Given that the substance of Hutton's tendered instruction was covered by the other instructions, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by refusing Hutton's tendered instruction."

Another point of the appeal was the admission of blood test results.

Hutton believes the blood draw results from the hospital were inadmissible as evidence because the Bedford Police Department officer who responded to the accident did not have reason to believe Hutton was the driver of the Jeep.

Hutton claims he did not consent to having a blood draw and that the nurse who drew Hutton's blood was not acting under a protocol prepared by a physician as state law requires.

But Judge Crone ruled the responding officer was required by law to offer Hutton a test. When he read the implied consent form to Hutton, Hutton replied, "Whatever," and extended his arm out for the blood draw. Since Hutton extended his arm, Judge Crone believes Hutton consented to the blood draw, as well.

In the decision, Judge Crone also ruled the blood draw was allowed as evidence because the nurse who drew the blood testified she was acting accordingly with a protocol approved by a physician.

Hutton's last point of the appeal was his sentence was inappropriate, and asked the Court of Appeals to reduce it.

By Indiana law, an appellate court can reduce a sentence if it gives consideration to the trial court's decision and if the sentence "is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender."

Hutton has the burden to show that his sentence of 14 years on each count for a total of 42 years was inappropriate.

"Here, Hutton's conduct was worse than that necessary to establish the Class B felony," the document reads. "His ACE was estimated to be about 0.28 (percent) at the time of the crash, well beyond that required for his crime. Before the crash, he was offered a ride and declined. Further, when he left the scene of the crime, he did not stop at the nearby houses to seek immediate help for his wife and friends and delayed calling 911."

Hutton also has four previous alcohol-related offenses, and he violated his pretrial release by testing positive for alcohol.

Judge Crone agreed with Judge Robbins that Hutton's criminal history is a "clear indication of a pattern of conduct and failure to take responsibility for that conduct that ultimately led to the death of three individuals.

Judge Crone added that Hutton had not sought treatment for his substance abuse since he committed the offenses and showed no remorse or taken responsibility for his part in the deaths of his wife and friends.

"Accordingly, we conclude that Hutton has failed to carry his burden to show that his sentence is inappropriate based on the nature of the offenses and his character."

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