Indiana Death Row



DOB: 09-26-1964 DOC#: 13154 White Male

Wayne County Circuit Court
Judge Wayne C. Puckett

Venued from Noble County

Prosecutor: Dave Laur

Defense: Terry Richmond, Robert Way

Date of Murder: May 28, 1983

Victim(s): William Miner W/M/31 (Aliva Town Marshall - No relationship to Spranger)

Method of Murder: shooting with handgun

Summary: Avila, Indiana Town Marshall, William Miner, was called by a resident who reported that two men, later identified as Spranger and Allen Snyder, were vandalizing a car. Miner responded to the scene and arrested both men. A struggle ensued between Snyder and Miner, and Miner's service revolver was knocked away into the highway. Spranger crossed the highway, retrieved the gun, and shot Miner in the back from some distance away. Following his arrest, Spranger made several admissions to shooting the officer, and led the police to a lake where the gun was recovered. Snyder was allowed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter, received a prison term, and testified at trial. Spranger claimed at trial that Snyder, not he, killed the officer.

Conviction: Murder

Sentencing: December 8, 1983 (Death Sentence)

Aggravating Circumstances: b(6) Law enforcement victim

Mitigating Circumstances: no advance plan or scheme to murder, 18 years old at the time of the murder, capable of rehabilitation, poor social controls, impulsive and extremely susceptible to influence of others, no prior criminal record, intoxication and stress on day of murder, accomplice received a disproportionate easy plea, cooperation with law enforcement

Direct Appeal:
Spranger v. State, 498 N.E.2d 931 (Ind. October 15, 1986)
Conviction Affirmed 5-0 DP Affirmed 4-1
Dickson Opinion; Givan, Pivarnik, Shepard concur; Debruler dissents.

Spranger v. State, 500 N.E.2d 1170 (Ind. 1986)
(Rehearing Denied 4-1)
Dickson Opinion; Givan, Pivarnik, Shepard concur; Debruler dissents.

Spranger v. Indiana, 107 S. Ct. 1965 (1987) (Cert. denied)

PCR Petition filed 10-07-87.
PCR granted 12-14-93 as to Death Sentence only by Special Judge Douglas Van Middlesworth.

Spranger v. State, 650 N.E.2d 1117 (Ind. 1995)
(Appeal by State and Defendant on granting of PCR as to Death Sentence only)
Conviction Affirmed 5-0; DP Vacated 5-0 - Dickson Opinion; Shepard, Debruler, Sullivan, Selby concur.
(Counsel was ineffective in failing to present evidence of mitigating factors, including defendant's psychological make-up, and in advising defendant, in the face of strong evidence of guilt, to deny shooting police officer rather than to admit the shooting but deny that shooting was intentional)

On Remand:
The parties jointly waived a Jury Sentencing Hearing, and after a Judicial Sentencing Hearing in Wayne County, on 11-06-97 Special Judge Douglas Van Middlesworth sentenced Spranger to 60 years imprisonment for Murder.

As of July 1, 2006

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