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July 26, 2013

150-year sentence upheld for convicted double murderer

ANDERSON – An Anderson man's conviction for two murders was upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals in what Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said Friday will resolve the case for one of the three men involved with the 2010 slayings.

However, a defense attorney said he wouldn't rule out taking the case to the Indiana Supreme Court.

On July 25, Na-son Smith, 20, lost his appeal when his 150-year sentence for two counts of murder and one count of robbery was upheld by the appellate court. Smith, Jacob Fuller, and Martez Brown were identified as suspects shortly after the bodies of Keya Prince and Stephen Streeter were found shot to death in their home in the 2300 block of Menifee Street on Nov. 29, 2010.

Prosecutors said that after the shootings, Smith, Fuller, and Brown stole $7,000, marijuana, a video game console, and a television from the home. All three were found guilty and sentenced to 150 years in prison.

“I think it’s highly unlikely that this decision will be appealed again,” Cummings said of the Smith decision. “The issues have been decided by the Court of Appeals, so I can’t imagine the Indiana Supreme Court would accept transfer on this case.”

	Smith and his attorney, Christopher A. Cage, questioned whether the prosecutor committed misconduct by calling a witness for the sole purpose of impeaching testimony. The two also took issue with whether there was insufficient evidence for conviction, whether the court abused its sentencing direction, and whether Smith’s sentence is inappropriate. All four points were denied in the appeal.

“The trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Smith and his maximum sentence is not inappropriate,” Court of Appeals Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote in the decision.

Smith and his attorneys have 30 days to decide whether they want to petition for a rehearing or try to transfer the case before the Indiana Supreme Court. Cage is not closing that option.

“I would say there is a distinct possibility that further action could be taken on the case,” Cage said.

Brown originally pleaded guilty, but Smith and Fuller both appealed their convictions. Fuller’s appeal was denied earlier this month, so Smith’s appeal denial should end the proceedings, according to Cummings.

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