INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the murder convictions and 195-year prison sentence issued last year to a Gary man found guilty by a Lake County jury of killing two teenage brothers and a 46-year-old man.
David Johnson IV, 40, argued in his appeal that he should have received separate trials for his role in June 2015 murders of Arreon Lackey, 18, and Antonio Lackey, 16, in a remote area of Hobart called "The Farm," and the April 2015 shooting death of Alfred Wiley in Gary's Miller neighborhood.
In a 3-0 decision, the appeals court concluded that Lake Superior Judge Diane Ross Boswell acted correctly in joining the cases as the brothers' execution-style slaying was spurred in part by their theft of the handgun Johnson used to kill Wiley.
"Our Supreme Court has held that when the commission of one crime provides the motive for the commission of a second crime, the two acts are connected together and joinder is appropriate," wrote Appeals Judge John Baker.
The appellate court also rejected Johnson's argument that given the complexity of the Lackey murders, which involved seven co-defendants including several with similar names or nicknames, Johnson should not simultaneously have been tried for Wiley's murder.
Baker said there is no reason to believe the jury confused Wiley's slaying with the Lackeys, since the evidence in Wiley's death "was not particularly complex" and the murders occurred in different months and at different locations.
In any case, the appeals court said Boswell properly instructed the jury as to the elements necessary for conviction on each of the charges and noted that each charge must be considered individually and separately from the other counts.
Johnson still can request the Indiana Supreme Court review the appellate ruling.