Appellate court upholds Shorewood Forest shooting conviction

2012-08-06T12:15:00Z 2012-08-06T23:59:04Z Appellate court upholds Shorewood Forest shooting convictionBy Bob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | An attorney representing a Shorewood Forest man convicted of shooting a passer-by said he intends to ask the Indiana Supreme Court to toss out the verdict.

Defense attorney Scott King said he disagrees with the Monday ruling by the state appellate court that upholds the April 2011 conviction of 49-year-old Donald Huls.

King plans to argue the jury was not instructed properly on how to consider his client's claim of self defense and defense of property. Rather than just being told to consider how a "reasonable man" should have responded, the jury should have been instructed to "look at it as how the person perceived it," King said.

He said the decision to seek a review by the state's highest court keeps the appeal going, which should keep his client out of jail until a final ruling is made in the case.

Porter Superior Judge Bill Alexa agreed in December to delay Huls' six-month jail sentence pending the outcome of his appeal.

Huls was sentenced to two years of home detention and four years of probation, with the six months of jail time thrown into the mix, after being found guilty on two felony counts of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon.

He shot a young man in the ankle June 15, 2009, while the man and three teens were walking through a wooded area behind Huls' home in the 400 block of Forestwood Drive.

Police said Huls randomly fired a handgun numerous times into the woods after hearing noises coming from the area.

King argued in the appeal a new trial should be ordered because Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel commented in front of the jury and drew attention to Huls' decision to exercise his right not to testify during his trial.

The state appellate court said in its Monday ruling that "it does not appear that the prosecutor was deliberately attempting to prejudice the jury to deprive Huls of a fair trial."

The court also rejected King's concerns about the jury instructions and another that prosecutors failed to rebut his claim of self defense as is required.

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