Indiana Death Row



DOB: 11-21-1962 DOC#: 22622 White Male

Madison County Superior Court
Judge Thomas Newman, Jr.

Prosecutor: William F. Lawler

Defense: Garry W. Miracle

Date of Murder: October 9, 1982

Victim(s): Marjorie Johnson W/F/61 (No relationship to Wisehart)

Method of Murder: stabbing with butter knife

Summary: Anderson Police received an anonymous call to go to a certain apartment where they would find a body. Police did so and found the body of 61 year old Marjorie Johnson. Her clothing was torn and wrapped around her mid-section, her head was beaten and bloody, and there were 13 stab wounds in her chest area. Johnson was a regular visitor to the Christian Center, where Wisehart resided. Another resident testified that Wisehart had sent a letter to Johnson before the murder, talking about going to old people's houses and robbing them. Upon his arrest, Wisehart gave a confession, admitting that he had stabbed Johnson several times with several weapons, punching her with his fist, and striking her in the head with a whiskey bottle. He stated he took $14 and admitted he was the one who tipped off police.

Trial: Information/PC for Murder and DP filed (10-18-82); Insanity Defense filed (11-12-82); Competency Hearing (04-11-83); Motion for Speedy Trial (06-14-83); Voir Dire (08-16-83, 08-17-83, 08-18-83); Jury Trial (08-18-83, 08-19-83, 08-23-83, 08-24-83, 08-25-83, 08-26-83, 08-27-83); Verdict (08-27-83); DP Trial (10-16-98, 10-19-98, 10-20-98); Verdict (10-20-98); Court Sentencing (09-29-83).

Conviction: Murder, Burglary, Robbery, Theft

Sentencing: September 26, 1983 (Death Sentence)

Aggravating Circumstances: b (1) Burglary, Robbery

Mitigating Circumstances: None

Direct Appeal:
Wisehart v. State, 484 N.E.2d 949 (Ind. October 31, 1985)
Conviction Affirmed 4-1 DP Affirmed 4-1
Pivarnik Opinion; Givan, Prentice, Shepard concur; Debruler dissents.
Wisehart v. Indiana, 106 S. Ct. 2929 (1986) (Cert. denied)

PCR Petition filed 05-25-90. PCR denied 06-27-1994 by Special Judge Thomas G. Wright
Wisehart v. State, 693 N.E.2d 23 (Ind. 1998)
Affirmed 5-0; Sullivan Opinion; Shepard, Dickson, Selby, Boehm concur.
Wisehart v. Indiana, 119 S. Ct. 1338 (1986) (Cert. denied)

10-06-98 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana.
Judge Larry J. McKinney
12-12-04 Writ of Habeas Corpus denied.

Wisehart v. Davis, ___ F.3d ___ (7th Cir. May 10, 2005) (04-1632).
(Appeal of Habeas Denial; Reversed 3-0)
Judgment vacated by Seventh Circuit “with directions that the State release Wisehart, retry him, or conduct a further postconviction hearing addressed to the issue of jury bias.” (10 years after trial, juror gave defense an affidavit stating that during trial he “heard” that trial was delayed so Wisehart could take polygraph. Juror did not know from whom he “heard” it, and did not know results of polygraph).
Opinion by Richard A. Posner; Joel M. Flaum, Diane P. Wood concur.
For Defendant: Alan M. Freedman, Evanston, IL
For State: Steve Carter, Indiana Attorney General


As of July 1, 2006

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