The Herald Bulletin

February 14, 2014

Tipton man who beat, robbed fellow inmate has sentence upheld

By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — A habitual offender who was sentenced to a long prison term for attacking and robbing another inmate in jail had his sentence upheld on Friday.

David L. Lewicki, 37, of Tipton, had his 60-year sentence affirmed by Appellate Judge Ezra Friedlander. Lewicki helped two other men viciously assault an inmate on March 8, 2012, and was convicted on charges of robbery, criminal confinement and battery just over a year later on March 13. Lewicki pleaded guilty to an additional charge of being a habitual offender, which enhanced his sentence. The sentence requires 50 years to be served in prison with the final 10 suspended to probation.

Both Lewicki and the man he attacked, Terrance Tyler, testified in court during the trial, but perhaps the most important piece of evidence against Lewicki and his alleged accomplices was a surveillance video of the attack. The video appeared to show Lewicki helping Martez Brown and Victor Hood, two other inmates, batter Tyler in the Madison County Detention Center.

The video showed a second attack on Tyler by Brown and Hood, during which Lewicki appeared to enter Tyler’s cell and take some of Tyler’s belongings.

Still, public defender Geoffrey Yelton told the jury in closing arguments that Lewicki didn’t initiate the fight and actually tried to defend himself.

Tyler, who was also in the courtroom, said there was no reason for the attack on him, and tempers can often build between inmates for petty reasons. The three men who attacked Tyler possess extensive criminal backgrounds and were awaiting trial for serious charges. Tyler said he didn’t think his attackers had much hope of leaving prison soon, which could have been a cause for the incident.

Lewicki's appeal included arguments that the trial court, overseen by Circuit Court 4 Judge David Happe, abused its sentencing discretion and that the sentence was inappropriate in light of Lewicki's character and the nature of the offenses.

In his denial decision, Friedlander wrote that the attacks demonstrated Lewicki's "brazen criminality and utter disregard for authority."

"We note that Lewicki participated in two separate, unprovoked attacks on Tyler," the opinion reads. "Two correctional officers testified that the battery on Tyler was among the worst they had ever seen at the facility."

Friedlander determined the sentence enhancement was appropriate for Lewicki, who possesses an extensive criminal background. He has previous convictions of theft, sexual misconduct with a minor, dealing marijuana, failure to register as a sex offender, check deception, battery, public intoxication and criminal trespass.

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