Robber Appealing Conviction To Ind. Supreme Court
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – An Ohio County criminal case is being appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court, with oral arguments scheduled in February.
In 2012, Kenyatta Erkins and Ugbe Ojile were convicted in a jury trial of were each charged with one count of Conspiracy to Commit Robbery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury and one count of Attempt to Commit Robbery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, both class A felonies. They were each sentenced to 50 years.
The two had followed a number of southeast Indiana riverboat casino winners home, then robbed them of their money. One of the occasions was October 5, 2010 when Ojile and Erkins planned to rob a patron of the Grand Victoria Casino – now called Rising Star Casino – in Rising Sun once he left the casino.
After the jury was sworn but before opening arguments at the trial in Ohio County Circuit Court, prosecutors moved to dismiss the attempt charges and to amend the conspiracy charges by substituting Ojile’s name for Erkins’ as the person who committed the overt act of surveilling the intended victim.
That motion was granted by Judge James Humphrey over the defendants’ objections, and the jury found the defendants guilty as charged.
Erkins appealed that decision to the Indiana Court of Appeals soon after his conviction. In April 2013, the court upheld Judge Humphrey’s decision to allow the amendment.
Once again, Erkins appealed. The Indiana Supreme Court agreed to accept transfer of the case in September. The court has scheduled oral arguments for February 13.