Sebastian Wedding and Derrick Cardosi

Sebastian Wedding and Derrick Cardosi 

A man convicted of a triple homicide in Sumava Resorts claims he was wrongfully convicted and the Indiana Supreme Court has agreed to hear his appeal.

Derrick Cardosi, 26, formerly of Sumava Resorts, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in February for the murders of three people who were found stabbed Aug. 28, 2016.

Cardosi filed an appeal of his murder convictions, two counts of assisting a criminal, auto theft and his life sentence according to court documents. Cardosi alleges there was not sufficient evidence to convict. 

The victims, 20-year-old Justin Babbs, 23-year-old Richard Thomas and 39-year-old Kimberly Spears were found in a Sumava Resorts residence with multiple stab wounds, according to coroners.

Newton County Sheriff's Deputy David Hoaks was first to respond to the scene, according to court records. Hoaks checked a locked bedroom door in the residence after seeing Babbs's body.

“He proceeded to kick the door in and immediately saw blood everywhere in the room,” The court document stated. “He then saw two bodies, Spears and Ricky [Thomas] on the bedroom floor. Babbs, Spears, and Ricky [Thomas] all died from fatal stab wounds.”

Cardosi and Sebastian Wedding, 26, allegedly planned to rob Thomas, prosecutors said. Wedding was sentenced to 55 years in prison for his involvement in the robbery and murders.

After finding the victims' bodies and an open safe nearby, police observed Thomas' vehicle was missing. A Cedar Lake officer later located the vehicle, a Mercury Grand Marquis, three minutes away from Wedding's residence in Cedar Lake.

While searching the area, police found a bag containing a cellphone, two sheathed knives, a wood-handled knife police said belonged to Cardosi and a flat-handled knife that belonged to his roommate, a camouflage jacket, a white cloth, a black hood and black rubber gloves about 20 to 30 feet into the nearby woods. Court documents said Cardosi's DNA and the victims' blood were found on the items.

Inside the vehicle police found a Dollar General bag and price tag. Upon reviewing surveillance footage from the Dollar General in Cedar Lake, detectives said they observed Wedding and Cardosi making purchases at the store. A lead also directed police toward the nearby Luke's gas station, where surveillance footage showed Wedding driving the stolen vehicle.

In his appeal, Cardosi said that the state did not present any evidence that he stole Thomas's vehicle or the items allegedly belonging to Thomas, including a PlayStation 3 and an electronic tablet.

However, the state said there is no evidence that either men had Thomas's permission to use his vehicle and text messages between Cardosi and Wedding reveal they intended to steal the vehicle.

Cardosi's appeal also alleges there was no evidence presented by the state that Cardosi killed Thomas while committing burglary.

“Drugs, money and sex, that’s what murders are usually about and this case is full of drugs and money,” The State of Indiana argued in its closing statements.

Cardosi alleges there was no evidence of drugs or money being involved in the case.

The appeal also states that the court failed to properly advise the jury when they adjourned during various times in the trial by not instructing jurors that they cannot converse with each other, speak about the trial with any other person and not to form an opinion on the cause among themselves until the cause is submitted to them.

According to opposing court documents, the state said the jury was repeatedly advsied of their responsibilities during the eight-day trial.

The appeal also claims the court should not have allowed statements by Wedding in Cardosi's case. The statements in question were text messages between Wedding and Cardosi, which were presented as evidence. Cardosi claims that Wedding's statements were in violation of his right to confrontation because Cardosi was never given the opportunity to question Wedding in a hearing.

The state responded that the admission of the text messages were at most a harmless error due to the strength of the other evidence against Cardosi.

The Indiana Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for Cardosi's claims on Dec. 13 in the state capital.

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