The Herald Bulletin

January 27, 2014

Sentence upheld in gang attack

The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld on Monday the conviction of an Anderson gang member for attempted murder in the beating of a rival gang member.

Ruben Rosales had appealed his conviction stemming from a June 2012 attack on Sergio Torres.

At the time, Rosales, then 19, was a member of the Latin Kings gang in Anderson, according to court documents. His girlfriend, Briana White, had run into problems with members of a rival gang known as Serrano 13. One of the Serrano 13 gang members was Torres, then 15.

On June 27, 2012, Torres went to a business near his home to buy a soft drink and chips. As he walked down an alley on his way home, three men including Rosales, drove a van behind Torres near the 600 block of East 27th Street.

One of those in the van, Donovan Ball, jumped out of the van. Torres felt a blow to his head and blacked out. He awoke on the ground and saw Rosales. Torres then saw Rosales and Ball run back to the van.

Torres was diagnosed with life-threatening injuries to the head including skull fractures, a subdural hematoma and bleeding in the brain.

The day after the attack, Rosales told his aunt he had to go to Chicago and she bought him a bus ticket. However, the aunt found out why he was heading to Chicago and she called police who arrested Rosales at the bus station in Indianapolis.

On July 5, Rosales was charged with attempted murder, a Class A felony, and participating in a criminal gang, a Class D felony. The jury was instructed on the attempted murder count as well as explaining "accomplice liability" as "an accomplice is liable for the acts of the principal which, even if not a part of their original plan, are probable and natural consequences thereof."

A Madison Circuit Court jury in Judge Thomas Newman's court found Rosales guilty of attempted murder. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Rosales appealed the verdict, in part, saying the court erred when the jury was told about accomplice liability.

The appeals court said there was more than sufficient evidence to show Rosales was the principal person involved in the attack. The appeals court also said that jury instructions are left to the "sound discretion of the court." Justices affirmed the conviction.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Terry Crone said the court erred in instructing the jury on accomplice liability and that the jury should have been informed that an accomplice to attempted murder must act with the specific intent to kill.

Of the others convicted in the attack, Donovan Ball received a 50-year sentence and Rivera, who was the third man in the attack, received a 20-year sentence.