Supreme Court Oral Arguments Set In Stephenson’s Murder Appeal
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – A convicted murderer is appealing his sentence of life in prison without parole to the Indiana Supreme Court.
Charles Robert Stephenson used a skillet and a pepper grinder to bludgeon Aurora resident Leigh Jennings, 67, to death in her Aspen Ridge Road home in March of 2012. He stole Jennings’ cash savings from her bedroom safe and used it to pay off a court-ordered debt to a relative in Kentucky in order to avoid being sent to jail.
Following a two-week murder trial in Dearborn County Circuit Court last May, jurors convicted Stephenson of Murder and Robbery. The jurors recommended he serve life in prison without parole, a sentence made possible because of the robbery conviction paired with the gruesome murder.
Through the investigation, trial and sentencing, Stephenson denied that he murdered Jennings.
Soon after his conviction, Stephenson appealed directly to the Indiana Supreme Court, which is permitted in cases involving life without parole sentences. Justices agreed in April to hear oral arguments in the case.
The oral arguments have been scheduled for June 26 in the Indiana Supreme Court room at the Indiana Statehouse. The arguments with last 40 minutes with attorney’s for the State of Indiana and Stephenson each receiving 20 minutes to present their case.
Stephenson is being represented in his appeal by Lawrenceburg attorney Leanna Weissmann.
In the appeal, Stephenson raises several issues relating to proof at trial, the life without parole sentence, and the admission of certain evidence.