Indiana Death Row



DOB: 09/2/1972 DOC#: 952131 White Male

Tippecanoe County Superior Court
Judge George J. Heid

Venued from Putnam County

Prosecutor: Robert Lowe, Anne M. Flannelly, Delbert Brewer

Defense: Robert V. Clutter, Jeffrey A. Baldwin

Date of Murder: July 15, 1993

Victim(s): Zachary Snider W/M/10 (Neighbor of Stevens)

Method of Murder: strangling, smothering

Summary: Stevens was convicted of Child Molesting in Marion County in February 1993 and received a 4 year sentence with 3 years suspended and probated. His probation was transferred to Cloverdale, where he returned to live with his father. Apparently, none of his new neighbors were aware of his criminal past. Zachary Snider, age 10, lived in the same subdivision and was often seen in the company of the 20 year old Stevens. Stevens attended and videotaped one of Zachary's little league baseball games. Zachary's father eventually warned Stevens to stay away from his son when he learned that Stevens had taken the boy fishing. A month later, Zachary turned up missing one afternoon. He was last seen at a young friend's home, who was told by Zachary that he was going to Stevens' home. In the midst of a massive local search for Zachary, Stevens' brother reported to police that Stevens had confessed to him that he murdered Zachary. He then directed police to a remote location near a bridge, where Zachary's body and bicycle were recovered. Stevens was arrested and gave a complete confession. He claimed that he had been having sex with Zachary for 2 or 3 months. When Zachary came over to his house, they performed oral sex in Stevens' room. Zachary threatened to tell his parents about having sex and Stevens decided he did not want to go through what he went through in Marion County. Stevens smothered Zachary with a pillow, then strangled him with an electrical cord around his neck. When Zachary continued to gasp, Stevens got a plastic garbage bag and wrapped it over his head. He then put Zachary and his bicycle in the car, drove to a bridge in a remote area, and threw them both over. He returned the next morning, fearing that police would connect him to the trash bag, removed it from Zachary's head, and threw it out along the highway on the way home. A similar bag was recovered by police in the area described by Stevens. Stevens later admitted to psychologists that he had molested 25-30 children, and had ejaculated on Zachary when he killed him. The psychologists concluded that he was a benign pedophile and was a serious danger to society. (This case later resulted in Zachary's Law, IC 5-2-12, establishing Sex Offender Registry)

Conviction: Murder

Sentencing: March 14, 1995 (Death Sentence)

Aggravating Circumstances: b (1) Child Molesting, Victim less than 12, On Probation

Mitigating Circumstances: confession to Police, 20 years old at murder, parents divorced when he was a child, father jailed for molesting his stepsister, mother jailed for drug dealing, mental Health treatment for depression in 1992, average intelligence with good insight, manipulative, shallow, poor impulse control

Direct Appeal:
Stevens v. State, 691 N.E.2d 412 (Ind. December 31, 1997)
Conviction Affirmed 5-0 DP Affirmed 5-0
Shepard Opinion; Dickson, Sullivan, Selby, Boehm concur.
Stevens v. Indiana, 119 S.Ct. 550 (1998) (Cert. denied).

PCR Petition filed 12-01-98. PCR denied 09-14-99 by Tippecanoe County Superior Court Judge George J. Heid.
Stevens v. State, 770 N.E.2d 739 (Ind. June 26, 2002).
(Appeal of PCR denial) Conviction and Sentence Affirmed 5-0.
Dickson Opinion; Shepard, Sullivan, Boehm, Rucker concur.
Stevens v. Indiana, 124 S.Ct. 69 (2003) (Cert. denied).

01-17-03 Notice of Intent to File Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus; Motion for Stay
11-03-88 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana.
Christopher M. Stevens v. Daniel McBride, Superintendent (4:03-CV-00005-AS)
Judge Allen Sharp
For Defendant: Alan Rossman, Cleveland, OH, Kathy Lea Stinton-Glen, Zionsville, IN
For State: Stephen R. Creason, Deputy Attorney General (S. Carter)
01-13-05 Writ of Habeas Corpus denied.

Stevens v. McBride, ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (N.D. Ind. January 13, 2005) U.S. District Judge Allen Sharp, Northern District of Indiana, denied the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, rejecting claims of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.

Panel: Judge Kenneth F. Ripple, Judge Daniel A. Manion, Judge Diane P. Wood. (05-1442)

As of July 1, 2006

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