By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
An inmate accused of attacking and robbing another inmate in jail was convicted Wednesday.
David L. Lewicki, 35, of Tipton, was found guilty of battery, robbery and criminal confinement by a jury in Madison Circuit Court 4. Lewicki also pleaded guilty to a fourth charge of being a habitual offender, which could mean an increase in any sentence he receives.
Both Lewicki and the man he attacked, Terrance Tyler, testified in court Wednesday, but perhaps the most important piece of evidence against Lewicki and his alleged accomplices was a surveillance video of the March 8, 2012, attack, which the court saw Tuesday. The video appeared to show Lewicki help Martez Brown and Victor Hood, two other inmates, batter Tyler in the Madison County Detention Center.
The video showed a second attack on Tyler by Brown and Hood, during which Lewicki appeared to enter Tyler’s cell and take some of Tyler’s belongings.
Still, public defender Geoffrey Yelton told the jury in closing arguments that Lewicki didn’t initiate the fight and actually tried to defend himself.
“The prosecution sees some kind of cooperative conspiracy. That’s not what I see,” Yelton said. “I see David just as intimidated by these thugs as anyone else.”
Deputy prosecutor Bob Summerfield said the video spoke for itself. He also cited case law examples of accomplice liability to link Lewicki’s actions with Brown’s and Hood’s.
“Inmates deserve protection as much as we do,” Summerfield told the jury.
The jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts in less than an hour.
“The video was a strong piece of evidence. It did show fairly vividly a lot of what the state alleged,” Summerfield said after the verdict. “It assisted greatly.”
Tyler, who was also in the courtroom, said there was no reason for the attack on him, and tempers can often build between inmates for petty reasons. The three men who attacked Tyler possess extensive criminal backgrounds and were awaiting trial for serious charges. Tyler said he didn’t think his attackers have much hope of leaving prison soon, which could have been a cause for the incident.
“I think the jury came to the right conclusion,” Tyler said. “Everyone has their own set of problems, especially in lockup. Some of them deal with it better than others. I was just trying to stay to myself and do my time.”
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