INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the five-year prison sentence of a man who pleaded guilty without an agreement to Level 5 felony overpass mischief after throwing a bicycle onto I-69 in Anderson, causing bodily injury to someone passing below.
The 16-page opinion authored by Judge Edward W. Najam Jr. disagreed with appellant Stephen M. Davis’ assertion that Madison County Circuit 1 Judge Angela Warner Sims abused her discretion and that the sentence was inappropriate.
“Here, Davis has not shown that his sentence is inappropriate,” Najam said in the opinion filed last week.
Davis, 34, is serving a sentence of nearly five years at Pendleton’s Correctional Industrial Facility. His earliest release date is Nov. 2, 2024, according to the Indiana Department of Correction’s website.
He previously was convicted on charges of battery and battery by bodily waste, according to court records.
About 5:45 p.m. Nov. 4, 2019, Davis called 911 to report his actions and waited for law enforcement to arrive.
“Once an officer arrived, Davis admitted that he had thrown the bicycle off the overpass in ‘an attempt to make a vehicle crash and cause death,’” according to the appeals opinion. “He further reported that he ‘regretted’ that the bicycle had not caused ‘a ten car pile up and bodies on the ground.’”
Davis also reported to police he had thrown another bicycle off the overpass earlier in the day. That bicycle, he said, did strike a vehicle.
“Davis then told the officer that he wanted to get arrested so that he would be guaranteed ‘housing and food,’” according to the opinion.
While in the custody of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, the opinion said, Davis threw feces on staff and destroyed more than $7,000 with of electronics. He was moved to the Department of Correction.
Davis argued that Warner Sims abused her discretion by not considering the fact he reported the incident and waited for law enforcement to arrive a mitigating factor that should have led to a shorter sentence. The appeals court disagreed, saying he did not argue that as a mitigating factor before the trial court.
“The trial court is not obligated to accept the defendant’s contentions as to what constitutes a mitigating circumstance,” the opinion said.
Davis further argued that the sentence was inappropriate given the nature of the offense. However, the appeals court noted he made no argument as required by law about its appropriateness in light of his character, which includes more than a dozen arrests for various offenses both as a juvenile and adult.
“Because Davis’ argument on appeal does not address his sentence in relation to his character, he has waived our review of the appropriateness of his sentence,” the opinion said.