Source: The Corydon Democrat

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Former state trooper guilty on 6 counts

by Alan Stewart

November 26, 2013

After a two-day trial, a Plainfield man, who had resigned from the Indiana State Police days before a drunken incident in which he entered the Byrneville home of Gary and Brenda Shaw and pointed a gun at Brenda Shaw, was found guilty of his crimes Thursday night by a jury in Harrison Superior Court.

After nearly 6-1/2 hours of deliberation, the 12-member jury reached the verdict that Raymond Hunt was guilty of Class B felony burglary and Class D felony residential entry, criminal recklessness and pointing a firearm at another person, along with Class A misdemeanors of operating vehicle while intoxicated and criminal trespass. The only charge Hunt was found not guilty on was confinement.

A sentencing hearing will be Friday, Dec. 13, at 10:30 a.m.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nick Haverstock said he was pleased with the verdict.

"I'm happy for the Shaws, as they got justice tonight after waiting a year," he said. "It's been a tough week for us in the office, but I'm glad we got through it and I'm glad the trial ended up how it did."

Hunt's attorney, Brad Johnson, acknowledged that his client drove under the influence of alcohol and went on the Shaws' property but stopped short of the felony charges as there was no criminal intent while Hunt was under the influence. Johnson said the state's statute regarding crimes committed while someone is intoxicated made his case difficult.

The State successfully argued that intoxication was not an excuse.

"The drunken defense angered me in that you have a gentleman who is essentially saying, 'I got drunk; I should be allowed to commit a crime.' He wasn't saying he got drugged. He wasn't saying he accidentally got drunk. He admitted he went to the liquor store, he bought alcohol and he got drunk. He chose to get drunk. He didn't accidentally get drunk," Haverstock said. "Then, he has the gall to say, 'Well, now that I am drunk, I shouldn't be held accountable for my actions.' I'm glad this jury saw through that. It would be a sad day in society that we allow people to go out and knowingly and intentionally get drunk and then commit heinous crimes like this and get away with it. That whole defense didn't sit well with me."

Haverstock went on to say that the jury still convicted Hunt on six of the seven charges despite never hearing that Hunt was a former trooper with the ISP.

"I'm just happy we got the verdicts we did," John Shaw, son of Brenda Shaw, said.

Last Wednesday, the first day of testimony, Brenda Shaw testified that she'd never met Hunt before Oct. 12, 2012, when Hunt showed up at her home and banged on a window in the early morning hours that day.

She asked if it was "Troy," a neighbor. Holding a cell phone up to his face, Hunt said it was and to let him in. They went to a door and Brenda Shaw opened it.

What happened next was in dispute. It was Shaw's testimony that Hunt had a Glock handgun pointed at her midsection as he came into the home. Shaw said she feared for her life as well as the lives of two grandchildren in the home as Hunt allegedly waved the gun around.

The defense alleged that while Hunt had the firearm, he had no criminal intent, saying he was drunk, confused and that he told the Shaws he needed help.

Later, and after John Shaw showed up with a firearm, Hunt gave up his weapon to Gary Shaw.

Hunt took the stand as the defense's only witness and described what led up to the incident at the Shaw residence.

He said a friend had invited him to Harvest Homecoming in New Albany. Hunt stopped at a liquor store and purchased a case of Bud Light beer, a fifth of Crown Royal Whiskey and some Red Bull energy drink.

Hunt said he went to the friend's house and they started drinking beer, perhaps having three or four beers during a few hours time. At 9:30, after the friend's children went to bed, they started drinking whiskey from the bottle and chased the liquor with the Red Bull "because of the taste and burn" of the Crown Royal, Hunt said.

"The intoxication came on really fast," Hunt testified.

Hunt went on to say he became "more sadder" thinking of his ex-wife, whom he had divorced not long before the incident.

At some point, Hunt said, he and the friend had a disagreement and the friend kicked him out of the home. Hunt got into his 2002 Ford Taurus and drove away.

Hunt said he didn't remember much from there, other than being around a building and exiting the vehicle and retrieving his firearm, which was loaded with 17 rounds.

Hunt testified that, due to the number of bullets left in the magazine, it was reasonable to assume he had fired two shots from the time he left his car until the time he entered the residence.

The next memory Hunt said he had was sitting in a hospital bed and being restrained in handcuffs.

He said he felt terrible and sorry about what took place. Hunt also said that, if he had intended to hurt the Shaws, he wouldn't have asked for help, wouldn't have given his gun to them and wouldn't have sat at a table with them.

Under cross examination, Hunt said he didn't know if he'd ever reached a BAC level of 0.21 as he had tested. When asked if he still consumed alcohol, Hunt said he did but that he didn't mix whiskey and Red Bull anymore.

During the State's closing argument, Haverstock explained to the jury that intoxication is not a defense under most circumstances. It's only a defense if the intoxification was from the introduction of a substance into the body without consent or if the person did not know the substance might cause intoxication.

"This is a society of rules; we have to follow the rules," Haverstock said. "What kind of message do we send to society if allowed to go out and commit a crime? Use common sense and Hoosier values."

During the defense's closing, Johnson asked the jury to consider whether the facts presented to them present that a crime was committed. He said Hunt drove while he was intoxicated and was guilty of trespassing.

"That's what happened," Johnson said.

During rebuttal, Haverstock showed the gun that was used and pointed out that neither he nor Johnson had ever pointed the gun at the jury during testimony. It was always pointed away from people or a "finger gun" was used.

"Guns are scary and dangerous. We used fingers, and we never pointed the gun even though we knew it was unloaded. If someone has a gun and it's pointed at you, you are scared," Haverstock said. "(Hunt) was drunk, and he knew what he was doing."

The jury started deliberation at 2:39 p.m. and came back to the courtroom just after 5 p.m. because of a disagreement in witness testimony. After reviewing audio of the testimony, the jury returned to deliberation, eventually coming to a verdict just before 9 p.m.

Hunt was directed by Superior Judge Roger D. Davis to have no contact with the Shaw family, and he's not to possess firearms of any kind.