VALPARAISO — The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the murder conviction Wednesday of former Center Township resident Steven Lindsey.
Lindsey was found guilty in March 2016 of shooting and killing his wife, Melinda Lindsey, 23, on Jan. 16, 2015, as she lay in bed at the couple’s home along Ind. 149 in Center Township.
He was sentenced a month later to 55 years behind bars.
"We were confident that the conviction would be affirmed," Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel said.
"Both the Porter County Sheriff's Department investigation and the trial work of Cheryl Polarek and Matt Frost were exemplary," Gensel added. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Kirby family as they continue to mourn the loss of their daughter Melinda."
The appellate court rejected seven challenges raised by Lindsey, including a claim that the court abused its discretion by not allowing him a continuance when, in the middle of the trial, prosecutors introduced new evidence that showed Lindsey's boots matched a footprint found outside the house where the murder occurred.
"Nothing in the record suggests that a continuance would have further aided Lindsey," according to the appellate court.
Lindsey also argued the court erred when it did not further question a juror after it was clear the trial would interfere with her vacation plans. He raised concerns about potential prejudice by the juror.
Considering the juror "only stated minor concern during voir dire about the disruption of her trip, it was reasonable for the trial court to conclude there was no actual bias on the part of the juror," the appellate court said.
Lindsey also challenged the admission of blood evidence, the lack of police interviews that he claimed showed an inadequate investigation and the admission of evidence that he had the victim's dog euthanized shortly after her murder.
Lindsey has denied pulling the trigger, claiming instead that he was also a victim of a violent home invasion. He said he was attacked while sleeping on a couch, rendered unconscious, bound and carried to his then-2-year-old daughter’s bedroom, where he awoke to the sound of a gunshot that turned out to be someone else shooting his wife in their nearby bedroom. The home invasion came after weeks of harassment by a stalker/thief, he said.
Lindsey is required to serve at least 75 percent of his sentence.