The defendant first contends that her sentence for Murder—life imprisonment without the possibility of parole—is inappropriate in light of the maximum possible sentence—fifty-years’ imprisonment—faced by her codefendant, Tkachik, as a result of his plea agreement.
. . . .
Nevertheless, as we have acknowledged, “[w]hile an accomplice may be found guilty of the crime largely executed by his principal, it does not follow that the same penalty is appropriate.” Martinez Chavez v. State, 534 N.E.2d 731, 735 (Ind. 1989). We believe this sentence of life without the possibility of parole is inappropriate under the circumstances of this case, particularly given that the defendant was merely complicit in her boyfriend’s conduct but did not actively participate in or plan the killing. . . . .
In this case, the evidence most favorable to conviction makes clear that the defendant’s role in causing the fatal injuries was indirect. Without a doubt, the physical battering inflicted by the defendant was excessive and unacceptable, yet, as discussed above, none the acts of physical abuse inflicted by the defendant are associated with a high probability of death. These circumstances lead us to conclude that for this defendant a sentence to a term of years is more appropriate than a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. That the defendant continued to physically discipline the victim after she was punched in the head by Tkachik, that the defendant seemingly showed no concern for the victim’s well-being prior to the time when she stopped breathing, and that the defendant attempted to conceal the victim’s death and did not assist law enforcement with the investigation reflect negatively on the defendant’s character and militate in favor of a sentence above the advisory sentence for Murder. Weighing all of these circumstances together, we conclude that the appropriate sentence for this defendant is the maximum term of years for Murder—sixty-five (65) years.
Sullivan, J., concurs.
Rucker, J., concurs in result.
David, J., concurs in result with separate opinion:
The majority concludes that the “facts do not support a conviction of the defendant for Murder as a principal but only as an accomplice.” Slip op. at 7. In essence, the majority believes that Castillo did not knowingly or intentionally kill her two-year-old cousin. Although I agree that the evidence does not support a finding that Castillo intentionally killed the victim, I believe that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to find that Castillo knowingly killed the victim.
Massa, J., dissents with separate opinion:
I agree with the majority’s conclusion that the evidence supported Castillo’s conviction
for murder as an accomplice, but dissent because I believe there was also substantial evidence for the jury to conclude Castillo was the principal actor.