By Mike Fletcher
Tribune crime reporter
The Indiana Court of Appeals this week affirmed the murder conviction for a man who killed his elderly neighbor.
A jury convicted Bradley Ryan in September of murder and robbery resulting in serious bodily injury in the August 2011 death of 85-year-old Lonnie Lewis.
Judge George Hopkins sentenced Ryan to 60 years for murder and 30 years for robbery and ordered the sentences to run consecutively.
Deputies were called to Lewis’ home at 1104 Miller St., at about 12:30 p.m. Aug. 15, 2011, after family members found Lewis unconscious and unresponsive.
An autopsy showed he died of blunt force trauma. A pathologist testified at the trial that Lewis died sometime the evening of Aug. 13.
Testimony in the four-day trial revealed Ryan went to Lewis’ house after Lewis returned from a night at the Eagles, hit him in the head with a blunt object and stole a check he later wrote and cashed for $1,500.
In the appeal, Ryan argued the court allowed improper hearsay evidence, violated his right to due process when the state lost an item of evidence and the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions.
Ryan first argued that statements made to police by his girlfriend, Tiffany Kubica, should have been inadmissible. The appellate court ruled Ryan’s argument was “bare assertion with no supporting argument at all.”
Regarding the lost evidence, Ryan contends his right to due process was violated when the state lost his phone. Evidence gathered from phone records corroborated other evidence with respect to Ryan’s phone and his phone was not potentially useful evidence, the appellate court ruled.
On his third argument, the Court of Appeals ruled the evidence, while circumstantial, was sufficient to support the convictions.
Ryan is serving a 90-year prison sentence in the Pendleton Correctional Facility, about 25 miles northeast of Indianapolis. His earliest release date is 2056, according to the Indiana Department of Corrections.
Mike Fletcher, Tribune crime reporter may be reached at 765-454-8565, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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