Indiana Death Row



DOB: 04-18-1975 DOC#: 992454 White Male

Allen County Superior Court
Judge Frances C. Gull

Prosecutor: Robert W. Gevers, II

Defense: John S. Nimmo and Mark A. Thoma

Date of Murder: July 26, 1997

James Corcoran W/M/30 (Brother)
Robert Turner W/M/32 (Sister's Fiance)
Timothy Bricker W/M/30 (friend of Brother)
Doug Stillwell W/M/30 (friend of Brother)

Method of Murder: shooting with Ruger Mini-14 Semi-Automatic Rifle

Summary: The defendant was living in a home along with his brother James Corcoran, his sister Kelly Nieto, and her fiance’ Robert Turner. On July 26, 1997 the defendant was upstairs while his brother and Turner sat in the living room with friends Timothy Bricker and Doug Stillwell. According to the defendant, he heard them talking about him, so he went downstairs and confronted them. He first placed his 7 year old niece in an upstairs bedroom to protect her from the gunfire, then loaded his semi-automatic rifle. Before they had a chance to move, the defendant shot and killed his brother, Turner, and Bricker. Stillwell fled to the kitchen, but was cornered, shot and killed. The defendant then laid down the rifle, went to a neighbor’s house, and asked them to call the police. A search of the defendant’s room and secure attic, to which only he had access, revealed over 30 firearms, several munitions, explosives, guerilla tactic military issue books, and a copy of The Turner Diaries. Corcoran asserted an insanity defense based upon his diagnosis as having either a paranoid or schizotypal personality disorder.

Trial: Information/PC for Murder filed (07-31-97); Amended Information for DP filed (05-13-98); 2nd Amended Information for DP filed (05-10-99); Voir Dire in Porter County (05-17-99, 05-18-99, 05-19-99); Jury Trial in Allen County ( 05-20-99, 05-21-99, 05-22-99); Verdict (05-22-99); DP Trial (05-24-99); Verdict (05-25-99); Court Sentencing (08-26-99); New Sentencing Order entered (09-30-01).

Conviction: Murder (4 counts)

Sentencing: August 26, 1999 (Death Sentence)

Aggravating Circumstances: b(8) Multiple Murders

Mitigating Circumstances:
Extreme mental / emotional disturbance; Capacity to appreciate criminality impaired; Unable to assist defense because of mental illness; Fully cooperated with police, admitted guilt; Good behavior in jail; Protected 7 year old niece before murders; No significant prior criminal conduct; Remorseful, young age (22).

Direct Appeal:
Corcoran v. State, 739 N.E.2d 649 (Ind. December 6, 2000)
Conviction Affirmed 5-0 DP Vacated 5-0
Dickson Opinion; Shepard, Sullivan, Boehm, Rucker concur.
(DP Vacated and remanded for more specific sentencing order, since trial court may have impermissibly relied upon non-statutory aggravating factors.)

On Remand:
Corcoran again sentenced to death by Allen County Superior Court Judge Frances Gull, filing a new sentencing order on 09-30-01.

Direct Appeal:
Corcoran v. State, 774 N.E.2d 495 (Ind. September 5, 2002).
Conviction Affirmed 5-0; DP Affirmed 4-1
Shepard Opinion; Dickson, Boehm, Sullivan concur.
(Rucker dissents, stating that a person suffering a “severe mental illness” should only be sentenced to LWOP.)

Notice of Intent to file PCR Petition filed 04-02-03.
Motion by Defendant to Determine Competency filed 09-09-03.
10-21-03 “Cause is submitted and evidence heard on the issue of Defendant’s competency to waive PCR.
12-19-03 Allen County Superior Court Judge Frances C. Gull notifies Indiana Supreme Court “of the Court’s finding of competency and the lack of any Petition for Post-Conviction Relief being filed.”
01-07-04 Notice of Appeal filed by Defendant.

Corcoran v. State, 820 N.E.2d 655 (Ind. January 11, 2005) (02S00-0304-PD-00143)
(Corcoran waived PCR, but Public Defender filed anyway claiming that Corcoran was incompetent to waive. Trial Court found Corcoran competent to waive PCR. Corcoran recanted his waiver during the appeal of that decision, requesting dismissal of appeal and remand back to trial court to litigate PCR.)
Finding of competency affirmed 4-1.
Sullivan Opinion; Shepard, Dickson, Boehm concur. Rucker dissents.

Corcoran v. State, 827 N.E.2d 542 (Ind. May 12, 2005) (On Rehearing) (02S00-0304-PD-00143)
(Affirming ruling that Corcoran was competent to waive, and denying request for dismissal of appeal)
Sullivan Opinion; Shepard, Dickson, Boehm concur. Rucker dissents.

Corcoran v. State, 845 N.E.2d 1019 (Ind. April 18, 2006) (02S00-0508-PD-350)
Affirmed 4-1; Sullivan Opinion; Shepard, Dickson, Boehm concur. Rucker dissents.
(Affirming dismissal of PCR Petition as too late, after Corcoran changed his mind and signed Petition)
For Defendant: Joanna McFadden, Laura L. Volk Deputy Public Defenders (Carpenter)
For State: Stephen R. Creason, Deputy Attorney General (S. Carter)

11-08-05 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana.
Joseph Edward Corcoran v. Cecil Davis, Superintendent (3:05-CV-00389-AS-CAN)


As of July 1, 2006

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