"I don't hold any grudges. This is my doing. Sorry it happened".
22 Years Later, Scars of Judy Case Run Deep
By Laura Lane - Muncie Star-Press.com
Saturday, February 9, 2002
Editor's Note: April 28, 1979, was a Saturday. Terry
Lee Chasteen was driving her three children to a baby-sitter's house
before reporting to work in the produce department at a Marsh grocery
store. While driving on Interstate 465 early that morning, Chasteen
noticed the driver of a construction truck motioning toward her car. She
pulled over. Steven Judy, too, pulled to the side of the road. He told
her it looked as if a rear tire on the car were loose. He offered to
tighten it, and she got a lug wrench out of the trunk.
They returned to their vehicles. But Chasteen got
back out and approached Judy, saying something was wrong with the
emergency brake. He walked to the front of the car and opened the hood.
But instead of fixing anything, he removed a coil wire from the engine
so the car would not start.
He offered Chasteen, 23, and her kids a ride.
So 5-year-old Misty, 4-year-old Mark and nearly 3-year-old Steven
crawled into the truck. Their mom sat by the door. Within an hour,
Chasteen was raped and dead, and her children were drowned. All four
were killed that morning by 24-year-old Steven Judy.
In less than 2 years, he, too, would be dead, the
73rd person in Indiana to receive the death penalty. Before his
electrocution in March 1981, the death penalty had not been carried out
in Indiana for 20 years Almost everyone involved in the State of Indiana
vs. Steven Judy had nothing but contempt for the rapist and child killer.
It's difficult to muster up sympathy for the man who never showed
remorse for raping and killing a 23-year-old woman, then drowning her
three children. Still, being involved in a death penalty case sets off a
range of emotions.
After Judy's execution, his lawyer decided never
again to defend someone facing the death penalty. The prosecutor said
the trial and execution "took the fire out of me. I'd had it." The next
year, he became a Superior Court judge. His assistant in the case is no
longer an advocate of the death penalty he sought for Judy.
fallout, people closest to the case say their sympathy was for the
victims and their families, not the man who died in the electric chair.
"The people involved in these cases struggle with the tragic reality of
an execution while seeing the suffering the crime has caused at the same
time," said Paula Sites, a staff attorney with the Indiana Public
Defender Council. "What the offender has done is never going to be OK,"
she said. "But whether it's right to kill them for it is another
"I have no use for anyone who kills children," said
Robert Williams, retired officer of the Morgan County Sheriff's
Department. He and then-Sheriff Dick Allen were the first on the scene
at White Lick Creek that morning after mushroom hunters stumbled upon a
body along the fast-flowing creek bank. The officers arrived and
discovered one body. Terry Lee Chasteen. Then two. Misty Ann Zollars.
They walked downstream. Three, Steven Michael Chasteen. Four, Mark Louis
Chasteen. Williams's daughters were 2 and 6 at the time. "I could have
pulled the switch myself," he said, referring to Judy's electrocution
Sheriff Allen lived upstairs at the old Morgan County
Jail. So from his arrest until after his sentencing, Judy was among the
sheriff's downstairs prisoners. "We was all hoping he'd get the death
penalty," Allen said, "and were happy when he did get it." He spoke
while standing on the bridge over White Lick Creek, pointing to the spot
by a tall, straight sycamore where he and Williams found Chasteen's nude
body. She had been bound and gagged with cloth strips torn from her
Tom Gray was in his first term as Morgan County
prosecutor when Steven Judy came along. He was among the first at the
murder scene. "I'll not ever forget that morning, the eerie mist of that
morning," Gray said. A moment stands out, after the mother's body was
found and her daughter was found snagged on tree limbs under water
nearby. "We found two more," echoed a shout from downstream. "If I'd
written a book about this case, that would have been the title," he said.
Gray took evidence before a grand jury and got murder
indictments and a death penalty mandate. "Killing a person was not in my
nature, but this was a no-brainer. It had to be done," Gray said. "It
was an inevitable part of my job at the time. It happened that I was the
one that would pursue the death sentence."
Steve Oliver was working as an intern in the Morgan
County prosecutor's office in April 1979. When his boss called him to
White Lick Creek the morning of April 28, he saw a dead body for the
first time. Oliver, 28 at the time, spent the day on the creek bank and
at the morgue instead of at the party in his honor for passing the bar
exam. He spent the next several months collecting information about
Judy's past crimes and compiling evidence to prove Judy was sane when he
killed Chasteen and her children. "He was a true sociopath, with
absolutely no conscience or remorse or guilt," Oliver said. "It made me
really want to see that this man was killed."
Defense attorney Steve Harris was 34 when the case
landed in his lap. Having already defended four murder defendants in his
career, Harris was the most likely choice to be appointed public
defender in the death penalty case. For months, he and Judy spent time
together on a daily basis, preparing for trial and then going through
He remembers his client as personable, polite,
considerate, cooperative - and also as a calculated killer. "It was a
strange situation for me, to be there with this guy who seemed so
normal, so sociable on the surface, who was capable of such horrible
things." Even Harris said Judy had to die. "He would have killed again
had he not been executed," his lawyer said.
Jury foreman John Sappington, a retired postal clerk,
will never forget the day he voted to sentence Judy to death. "He looked
at me, and he said, 'I know where you live, and I know you have a
daughter.' He threatened all of us, and the judge too, if we didn't give
him the death penalty." The 12 jurors didn't hesitate. When the nine men
and three women got into the jury room to deliberate a sentence,
Sappington asked whether they wanted to discuss the options or take an
immediate vote. They wanted to vote. They all wanted Judy to die for his
crimes. "I said, 'Let's sit here for a while, so it doesn't look so bad.'
We had some coffee, and then called for the bailiff."
Aftermath of the penalty
Kathleen Gilbert, an associate professor at Indiana
University who has studied capital punishment and grief issues, said
people found ways to cope with knowing they were part of a process that
killed a fellow human. "If you believe a person is guilty and the court
made the right decision, if there's no torture over religious or moral
philosophy, if all the pieces are consistent, then you can say this is a
legitimate and appropriate choice," she said. A person might separate
such a decision from the rest of his or her belief system because of the
brutality of the crime, she said. "You can say that in a perfect world,
we would not do this, there would not be people like this, there would
be ways we could rehabilitate a person, but this is part of our system
that's there for a reason," Gilbert explained. "So they make a
commitment to live with that realization."
Judy the sociopath
On the surface, Steven Judy seemed harmless enough.
He could be personable and charming. He liked children, and they liked
him. His foster parents supported him. And yet he was capable of evil. "The
thing that influenced me the most was the realization that there are
many people in society who appear to be as normal and friendly as he was,
and yet they are as dangerous as he was," said defense lawyer Harris. "It's
scary for me to think how many people like him are out there."
When Judy was 13, he posed as a Boy Scout and forced
his way into a woman's home in Indianapolis. He raped her then stabbed
her with a pocket knife until the blade broke. He used a hatchet to
fracture her skull and cut off a finger on her left hand as she tried to
block his blows. For that brutal attack, he spent 6 months at a center
for delinquent juveniles. From there, he was admitted to Central State
Hospital and diagnosed as a sexual psychopath.
He stayed there from
October 1970 until January 1973, when he was released to the custody of
foster parents Bob and Mary Carr. The Carrs, who had several young
children at the time, said they didn't know the violent details of
Judy's past. They bailed him out of jail after an armed robbery arrest a
week before he killed Chasteen and her children.
Judy admitted the killings. Harris argued that his
client was not guilty because he was insane. The state had to prove he
was not. Prosecutors Gray and Oliver worried. "A guy kills three little
kids and a mother? You worry the jury will think, 'Only a crazy person
could do that,' " Gray said. "That was our fear." And if the jury had
found Judy not guilty by reason of insanity, he would have been sent to
a mental hospital until he was deemed cured, then released. At the time,
Indiana did not give jurors the option of guilty but mentally ill.
But jurors agreed that Judy knew what he was doing
and knew it was wrong. He was not crazy. He was guilty. And unlike most
killers, he wanted to die.
'Give me death'
In many ways, Judy's refusal to allow appeals on his
behalf to stop the death penalty made it easier to support and carry out
- just as his threats to jurors and others in the case had made the
penalty of death inevitable. He let Judge Jeffrey Boles know he wanted
to die. "I honestly want you to give me the death penalty because one
day I may get out," he said to Boles. "If you don't want another death
hanging over your head, I think that's the only thing you can do."
Harris said his client wanted to take some kind of
action at the sentencing hearing to make sure he was sentenced to death.
"He said he was going to jump over the table and choke Tom Gray, and I
told him that no, he shouldn't do that, that someone might shoot him,
and that it might be me."
Then Judy asked whether he could address the
jurors. Harris said yes, but asked him to keep it clean. In a chilling
moment, Judy threatened them, one by one, saying he would come after
them and their families if he ever got out.
"I never go across that bridge without thinking of
those people he killed," said Sappington, the jury foreman, who lives
just a few miles away. "And I never lost one night's sleep over our
decision. We had no choice." Sappington is a Catholic. His faith opposes
capital punishment. "I've had to cope with that," he said. "I'm a man of
conscience, and I thought it might bother me." But it has not. "If
anyone against the death penalty had seen and heard what I did, they
might reconsider," he said. "The world is better off."
A lawyer's change of heart
At the time, Oliver supported the death penalty for
Judy. He worked to make sure it was imposed. "I was so in favor of
seeing Steven Judy die that I carried a handgun to all the depositions
that summer, hoping he would try to escape," Oliver said. But over time,
he has come to oppose capital punishment. "Even though I have this
lifelong indelible image of those three little children - lying out on a
cold stainless steel table - I am a staunch opponent of the death
penalty at this time," he said. "I have no remorse about the feelings I
had then, but I've come to believe that in the final analysis, it's a
fallible system," Oliver said, "and as such I think it is ill-advised to
entrust the taking of a human life to it."
'It should be more limited'
Gray, then a prosecutor and now a judge, has not
presided over a death penalty case. He recalled a robbery and murder
case where the ultimate punishment was sought, but jurors ruled against
it. "I thought, 'That's all right,' because I think the death penalty
has to be used sparingly," Gray said. "Since I've been a judge, there
have been cases where I've let the parties know they should rethink
death penalty petitions." He believes the penalty of death has a place
in our society. "It should be more limited than it is now," he said. "But
I know there are times when it is warranted."
In 1994, he was assigned a
case from Marion County. Gregory Resnover, convicted of killing an
Indianapolis Police sergeant 14 years before, was scheduled to die by
electrocution in 2 days. Gray reviewed a request for a stay of execution.
He denied the request. Resnover was executed.
Judy has final word
Death came quickly for Steven Judy once he halted the
appeals process. There was no delay, no stay of execution. No years on
death row. Harris, his court-appointed attorney, was there 'til the end.
"One of the last things he said to me was, 'You know, this is the best
thing,' ," Harris said. "And even though I knew it was probably the
right thing to do, it's hard to go through an execution with someone."
He felt an obligation to be there for his client. And
a series of phone lines had been established in case Judy asked for a
last-minute stay from the governor. "About a half-hour before the
execution, he wavered," Harris said. A nervous, chain-smoking Judy
offered some advice. "He said, 'If you ever have another client who
wants the death penalty, tell them not to do it.' Then he was making
jokes again. He said he was going to quit smoking."
Judy was offered a 10-milligram injection of valium.
His lawyer urged him to refuse it so he could think clearly. Judy wanted
the shot and quickly relaxed. They said goodbye in a small, barred cell
furnished with a toilet and sink that didn't work. "We shook hands, he
said, 'Thanks, this is the right thing, don't feel bad about it,' and
that was it." Harris took a seat in the viewing room.
The next time he saw Judy, he was being led to the
electric chair. A black cloth covered his face. He was about 15 feet
away, beyond a glass panel. Four guards stood on each side. They
strapped him in and attached a metal saucer to his head and electrodes
to one leg. A few minutes after 1 a.m., the warden spoke the words: "Commence
the execution." After it began, Judy's body stiffened, smoke came out of
his head, and he shook violently, Harris said. Witnesses sat in silence,
waiting 4 1/2 minutes to make sure Judy's heart had stopped beating so a
physician could declare him dead.
One of Judy's last acts was handing over a letter to
his lawyer. He asked Harris to wait until after the execution to read it.
Judy had said he would admit to other crimes, other murders, he had
committed. Harris figured this was the written admission. Inside were
several pages of stenographer's notebook paper.
Written on the first
page was this: "I'm sorry, Steve, but I've decided to handle it this way
because I care too much for my foster mom and family. I hope you can
understand. Thank you for all you've done for me." Judy signed his name.
The remaining pages were blank. "That little son of a bitch," Harris
said. Judy's was the first, and last, capital punishment case for Harris.
"It's by choice," he said. "I'll never do another one."
The Execution of Steven Judy
By John Flora - Indianapolis News
March 10, 1981
Michigan City - Minutes after making
a surprise telephone call to a former girlfriend he hadn't seen in five
years, convicted murderer Steven Judy died today in Indiana's electric
chair. Judy, 24, became the first felon to die in the electric chair at
the State Prison in nearly 20 years at 12:12 a.m.
Judy's foster father, Robert Carr, Indianapolis, and
his attorney, Steven Harris, were the only two witnesses to the
execution, other than Department of Correction personnel who helped
carry out the sentence imposed by Hendricks Circuit Judge Jeffrey Boles.
"He called a girl in Texas that he was really serious about a few years
ago," Carr said of Judy's final half-hour. "I don't know why. It just
came out of the dark. He hadn't talked to her in five or six years. This
was about 25 or 20 'til 12. "They finally located her and got her on the
phone... her name is Jeannie. I don't know her last name," Carr said.
"He went with her a year or two back in '73 or '74. "I think she was
probably the only girl he really loved," Carr said.
Carr said Judy received about 20 telegrams on his
last day on Death Row, all of them from people urging him to change his
mind and ask for a stay of execution. Judy, he said, remained adamant
until the end that he would rather die in the electric chair than spend
decades in prison for the April, 1979, rape and murder of Terry Lee
Chasteen and the drowning deaths of her children, Misty Zollers, 5;
Stephen Chasteen, 4, and Mark Chasteen, 2.
Mrs. Chasteen, a divorcee, was en route to the home
of a babysitter with her children before going to her job as a
supermarket checkout clerk when she had a flat tire along Interstate 465
near Weir Cook Airport. Judy happened by and changed the tire, but
disabled her car and lured her into his pickup truck.
Testimony at his
trial in Martinsville indicated Judy drove his victims to a secluded
area along White Lick Creek southwest of Mooresville where he raped and
strangled Mrs. Chasteen and drowned her children in the creek. "I have
all the sympathy in the world for the Chasteen family," Mrs. Carr said
after the execution. "But Mark Chasteen (Mrs. Chasteen's former husband)
has put on a veneer as the grieving father and the grieving husband. He
never showed one bit of emotion during the entire trial.
"Most men would have to be physically restrained,"
she said. "Through the entire thing, he sat holding hands with his lady
friend and he showed no emotion whatsoever. "And suddenly he claims to
be a devout Christian. But he has made the statement that he would like
to be the one to pull the switch. I didn't know that God had granted him
that right," she said.
Less than an hour after the execution, Mr. and Mrs.
Carr returned to the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge where they and their
family have been staying in recent days and told their children Judy was
dead. "We just told them it was fast," Carr said. "We told them it was
finished and he went like a man and like he wanted to go," Mrs. Carr
added. "We told them that he sent them his love."
Carr, who left the prison visibly shaken, said he
watched the execution through a glass window. He said he believed Judy
was unable to see him through the glass before the mask was placed over
the condemned man's eyes. "I kind of looked for him to maybe throw a
hand signal or something, but he didn't," Carr said. "They gave him a
shot at 15 'til 12. It was like a tranquilizer because all of his
muscles were tightening up," Carr said, adding that it was Judy's
decision to have the shot. "He wasn't nervous at all," Carr said. "It
was just that his nerves were tightening up and he was kind of hyper the
last half-hour or so."
Mrs. Carr said Judy broke down and cried on at least
on occasion yesterday. "Even though the public has never seen Steve Judy
cry, I guarantee he cries frequently," she said, still speaking of her
foster son in the present tense 90 minutes after his execution. When Mrs.
Carr left Judy's cell for the last time she said, "We hugged. We do what
you do when you tell people good-bye for the very last time. I'm certain
there are very few people who have ever experienced that. "I told him I
loved him and he told me he loved me and was sorry he had put us through
so much," she said, adding she and Judy were both crying at the time.
One of Judy's last acts was to give his wrist watch
to fellow Death Row inmate James Lowery with whom he had developed a
friendship while at the prison. Earlier, Carr said, Judy had joked about
wearing his watch to the execution to "charge it up." About 60 reporters
and cameramen covering the execution were passed through two checkpoints
about 11 p.m. and gathered in a small conference room on the second
floor of the prison administration building.
As the clock on the conference room wall edged past
midnight, the room became noticeably quieter, but there was no dimming
of the lights or other indication of the exact moment the initial switch
was thrown and the first charge of 2,300 volts passed through Judy's
The first official announcement came at 12:20 a.m. when Tom Hanlon,
administrative assistant with the Department of Correction, stepped to
the podium and, voice trembling, said, "The execution of Steven T. Judy,
24, as ordered by the Morgan County Superior Court, was carried out this
morning at the Indiana State Prison, Michigan City, Indiana. The
official pronouncement of death was made by the doctors in attendance at
12:12 a.m. CST."
At 2:30 p.m. yesterday, Hanlon said, Judy showered,
received new institutional clothing and was prepared for the execution.
At 3:31 p.m., he was moved from his cell on Death Row to a holding cell
in the execution room. "He ordered and received supper which consisted
of prime rib, lobster, baked potatoes, salad and dinner rolls.
He ate at
8:04 CST," Hanlon said, noting Judy's request for beer with his last
meal was denied. "At 12:05 a.m. CST, DOC personnel entered Judy's cell
and asked if he had any comments or requests. "He said, 'I don't hold no
grudges. This is my doing. I'm, sorry it happened,'" Hanlon said. "He
was then escorted from the holding cell to the execution room and placed
in the electric chair. The sentence was then carried out. Steve Judy's
body was released to the LaPorte County deputy coroner.
Funeral and burial arrangements will be made by the
foster family," he said. After the initial 10-second high-voltage charge,
Hanlon said, Judy received a 20-second charge of 500 volts. Carr said
later he was convinced Judy felt nothing after "three or four seconds"
and was satisfied the execution was carried out as painlessly as
possible. Asked who actually threw the switch to execute Judy, Hanlon
said, "I can only refer you to the Indiana statute which says, 'either
the warden or his assistant,'" adding it will never be announced which
person carried out the sentence.
At the close of the press conference, Hanlon
distributed copies of a statement by Gov. Robert Orr which said, in part,
"Now that this difficult ordeal is over, I am at peace with myself
because I know I have met my responsibilities under the law and because
I believe justice has prevailed."
Henry Schwartzchild, who represented the American
Civil Liberties Union in a fruitless attempt to foil Judy's wish to die,
told about 200 protesters outside the prison gates before the execution,
"The governor, the attorney general, the clemency commission, the judges
and the prosecutors involved all have the invisible mark of Cain upon
their foreheads. "Judy's consent to his own execution cannot wipe that
stain away, for who would think that our political and legal leaders
should follow the wishes of a sick and destructive killer? Like Adolf
Eichmann, they say they merely did their duty and like Pilate they say,
'The law took its course and the blood is not on our hands.' It has been
a contemptible spectacle." "The State of Indiana tonight is winning a
very sorry victory over us," he said.
"I've got a whole box of bad memories. Anything good
never made an impression on me," Judy told reporters before his 1981
execution in "Old Betsy," Indiana's electric chair.
Judy had sought to terrorize his jurors into giving
him the death sentence. But Judy took matters a step further: "You
better vote for the death penalty," he said, "because if you don't, I'll
get out and it may be 1 of you next, or your family."
The Problem with the Chair
A conservative case
against capital punishment
By Carl M. Cannon - National Review Online
June 19, 2000
At a dinner party in Georgetown during the Reagan
years, I was seated next to a liberal journalist I didn’t know too well
— Sidney Blumenthal, then with The New Republic. No matter what has
happened since, he was erudite and charming that night as we discussed
the Washington scene. But my mind was largely elsewhere, for that week I
had begun work on a story about a man convicted of murder who was
possibly innocent. I was preoccupied, not with anything the
administration might have been doing, but with the issue of capital
At some point, I asked my dinner companion his view
of the death penalty. “Oh, we’re against it,” he replied. I recall being
amused by that pronoun, “we” — Whom did he mean? The Democratic party?
The elites? — but eventually I decided he meant the magazine he worked
for. I asked him why. “The moral issue,” he said.
I remember also that this remark antagonized me. I do
not support capital punishment either, but this was so inadequate an
answer that I found myself arguing the other side of the question. I did
so by invoking the specter of Steven Timothy Judy.
On April 28, 1979, Judy was cruising down the highway
when he came across 23-year-old Terry Lee Chasteen, who was stranded
with her kids by the side of the road in her disabled vehicle.
Pretending to be a Good Samaritan, Steven Judy further disabled
Chasteen’s car by disconnecting the ignition wires, then drove her and
her three children — Misty Ann, 5, Steve, 4, and Mark, 2 — to a secluded
location. He raped and strangled Chasteen and drowned the children, one
by one, in a nearby creek.
Judy was quickly arrested and convicted of capital
murder. At trial, he assured the jurors that if they didn’t vote for the
death penalty he’d kill again someday. “And it may be one of you next,”
he warned. “Or your family.” The jury obliged, and on March 9, 1981, the
State of Indiana put Steven Judy to death in an electric chair nicknamed
“Old Betsy.” The “moral” aspect of allowing Judy to live eluded the
grasp of not just me, but a majority of Americans. Except to the most
ideological of criminal-justice liberals — and perhaps to Judy’s fellow
inmates at his Michigan City prison — his execution seemed a blow in
behalf of civilization.
But if Judy’s crimes were hideous even by the grisly
standards of Death Row, what makes his case notable almost 20 years
later is that his execution — or rather, the lack of an outcry at his
execution — was a signal that a momentous change was taking place in
Until that night, there had been only three executions in the
United States since the confusing 5-4 Supreme Court decision in 1976
invalidating all existing state death-penalty laws. But the states
inclined to use this remedy had hurriedly rewritten their statutes to
conform with the Court’s requirements, and just five years later here
was Steven Judy saying to the guards as he was strapped into Old Betsy,
“I don’t hold no grudges. This is my doing . . .”
It was not generally apparent then that a flood of
executions was about to begin. Judy’s case seemed unproblematic in that
he had not appealed his sentence. In so refusing, he had followed in the
footsteps of Gary Mark Gilmore, executed by firing squad in Utah in
1977, and Jesse Bishop, who went to Nevada’s gas chamber in 1979. John
Spenkelink, electrocuted in Florida in 1979 after spurning a plea
bargain that would have earned him a measly 20 years in prison — he
argued self-defense — was the only one of the four to go to his death
unwillingly. But it was the business-as-usual aspect of the Judy case
that served as a portent.
The night he was executed, liberal activists
descended on Michigan City in a familiar ritual: the candlelight vigil.
A crowd of some 200 of them braved the wind and rain to be there, but
they were not alone. Earlier, at a “Protect the Innocent” rally in a
downtown park, Mark Chasteen, the slain woman’s ex-husband, assured a
pro-death penalty crowd that he’d “throw the switch” himself. As the
hour approached, motorists passing the prison would slow down, honk
their horns, and yell, “Burn, Judy!”
On that March night, the United States was heading
briskly down a road it had not taken since the rough days of the Great
Depression. Not much longer would executions be international news
events. In a handful of states, most prominently Texas, they would
actually become routine.
In fact, within two years, crowds of several
hundred Texans would be rallying outside the Huntsville prison on
execution nights to celebrate. Battered by a violent-crime rate that
threatened the very freedoms we are promised in our founding documents,
and angered by repeated accounts of vicious predators who were paroled
only to kill again, Americans were calling for a remedy prescribed long
ago: “An eye for an eye!” demonstrators would chant.
And who can argue with this ancient wisdom? Well, I
will. What if the issue is not an eye for an eye, but an eye for a
finger? Or removing the eye of someone you thought put out your eye, but,
in fact, only looks like the guy who did? This is not an academic
question, and it never has been. And now, thanks to several high-profile
cases in which condemned men were exonerated, and thanks to the added
tool of DNA evidence, the true horror of the death penalty has made
itself plain. The right question to ask is not whether capital
punishment is an appropriate — or a moral — response to murders. It is
whether the government should be in the business of executing people
convicted of murder knowing to a certainty that some of them are
Steven Timothy JUDY
The product of a broken home, Steven Judy grew up nursing memories of violent arguments between his parents. Later, when a foster family provided him with loving care, it was apparently too late; the violence of his early years had taken root and twisted something in his personality.
At twelve, he visited a neighbor's home, pretending to have cookies for sale. Upon discovering that the young housewife was home alone, Judy forced her into the bedroom, raped her at knifepoint, and stabbed her forty-one times, finishing off his assault with a hatchet. His victim survived after brain surgery and testified against Judy, earning him a nine-month period of treatment in a mental institution.
Therapy proved ineffective, and at age eighteen he was convicted of beating a woman in Chicago, spending twenty months in jail. Later, in Indianapolis, he abducted a young woman and forced her to drive into the countryside, but she managed to leap from the car and escape on foot. A kidnapping charge put him back in prison for a year.
On April 28, 1979, a group of mushroom hunters found a woman's naked body floating in White Lick Creek, outside Indianapolis. Further downstream, the bodies of three small children -- two boys and a girl -- were also found in the water. The woman had been raped and strangled; her children had drowned when they fell -- or were thrown -- into the creek. A bank book found nearby identified the adult victim as 20-year-old Terry Chasteen.
Her boyfriend told police that she left home around seven o'clock that morning, taking her children to their babysitter before she reported for work at a local department store. None of them had made it to their destination. Public appeals for information brought reports of a distinctive red-and-silver pickup truck, observed near the murder scene.
Detectives traced it to a building site, where its owner, 22-year-old Steven Judy, was employed as a bricklayer. Arrested at the home of his foster parents, Judy described how he had tricked Terry Chasteen into stopping her car, then disabled the engine while "checking under the hood." She had accepted his offer of a ride to the nearest filling station, but he took her to the murder site instead, not far from where his previous victim had escaped two years earlier.
Chasteen's three children were sent for a walk while he raped her, strangling his victim when she began to scream. The woman's children returned at the sound of her cries, and Judy threw them in the creek, where all three drowned. At trial, the unrepentant Judy told assembled jurors, "You had better put me to death, because next time it might be one of you or your daughter." They took him at his word, and on February 16, 1980, he was sentenced to die in the electric chair.
Resisting all appeals on his behalf, Judy steadfastly fought for the right to die on schedule. While awaiting execution, he regaled authorities with tales of other homicides across the country. He had killed so many women, Judy said, that he could not remember all his victims, but there was a "string of bodies" spanning Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Texas, Florida.
Despite investigation, sketchy details kept police from verifying any of his claims before he met his fate on March 8, 1981.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial
Killers - Hunting Humans
Judy v. State, 416 N.E.2d 95 (Ind. January 30, 1981) (Direct
Defendant was convicted before the Superior Court,
Morgan County, J. V., Bowles, Special Judge, of four counts of murder
and was sentenced to death. On defendant's petition for determination of
status of appeal which had been filed by his court-appointed counsel,
the Supreme Court, Pivarnik, J., held that: (1) defendant's waiver of
right to appeal from convictions was a knowing, voluntary and
intelligent waiver; (2) state constitutional provision that Penal Code
is to be founded on principles of reformation and not on vindictive
justice does not prohibit imposition of capital punishment; (3) statutes
relating to death sentence are constitutional; (4) jury could consider
both the fact that murder of one victim was committed while in
perpetration of a rape and the fact that defendant murdered such
victim's children as aggravating circumstances in deciding to recommend
death penalty; (5) jury was justified in finding that no mitigating
circumstances existed which would outweigh the aggravating circumstances;
and (6) imposition of death sentence against defendant would be
reasonable and appropriate. Affirmed and remanded. Prentice, J.,
concurred in result and filed opinion. DeBruler, J., dissented and filed
This cause is before us for review by virtue of appellant Steven T.
Judy's "Verified Petition for Determination of the Status of This
Appeal," filed by his court-appointed counsel. This petition shows that,
on February 25, 1980, appellant Judy was sentenced to death upon
conviction of four counts of murder. These charges arose out of the
April 28, 1979 slayings of Terry Chasteen and her three children, Misty
Zollers, Stephen Chasteen and Mark Chasteen.
The trial judge signed the death warrant and ordered
the sentence to be carried out. On the day he was sentenced, appellant
Judy requested that an appeal be filed, and Kenneth M. Stroud and
Stephen L. Harris were appointed appellate counsel. Judy's attorneys
timely filed a motion to correct error on April 16, and the trial court
denied the motion on May 6.
On May 23, Judy's attorneys filed a praecipe
for the record with the Clerk of the Morgan Superior Court, and, on
August 4, counsel filed the record of the proceedings with the Clerk of
the Supreme Court. This Court then granted a petition for extension of
time to file appellant's brief. At the time of the filing of the "Verified
Petition for Determination of the Status of This Appeal" on October 14,
the due date for appellant's brief was October 20.
On October 8, Judy notified his counsel and this
Court that he desired to terminate the appeal prior to the completion
and filing of his brief; he requested that counsel cease all efforts
toward proceeding with his appeal. Judy further indicated to counsel
that he wished to waive his right to appeal and to completely terminate
the appeal proceedings.
Counsel asserted in their verified petition that
conflicting duties, created by the Code of Professional Responsibility
adopted by this Court and the nature of the sentence imposed here,
placed them in an "intolerable dilemma." One portion of the death
penalty statute, Ind.Code s 35-50-2-9(h) (Burns 1979 Repl.), provides:
"(h) A death sentence is subject to automatic review by the Supreme
Court. The review, which shall be heard under rules adopted by the
Supreme Court, shall be given priority over all other cases. The death
sentence may not be executed until the Supreme Court has completed its
Under this section, then, a sentence of death may not
be carried out in this State until there has been a review by this Court.
Generally, this provision would have imposed a duty on Stroud and Harris,
as Judy's appointed counsel, to complete this appeal and thereby assist
in this Court's review. Therefore, they would have violated that duty if
they had followed the directives of their client and ceased to prosecute
On the other hand, attorneys generally have a duty to
act on their clients' requests, and counsel here recognized that they
should comply with Judy's request, if that request was knowingly,
voluntarily and intelligently made. Thus, as counsel asserted in their
verified petition: "Appellant's counsel cannot determine which duty to
follow. If the Statute is construed as mentioned and counsel drop the
appeal pursuant to Appellant's request they have violated the statutory
duty. If the Statute is construed as allowing waiver of appeal in death
cases and counsel ignore Appellant's request and file the appeal they
have violated their duty to their client." Therefore, to fully protect
their interests and those of their client, counsel requested that this
Court dispose of this "insoluble professional and ethical problem."
After considering the issues presented in counsel's
petition, this Court concluded that s 35-50-2-9(h) precludes waiver of a
review of the sentencing in a death penalty case. However, we further
found that this statute does not preclude waiver of a review of a murder
Accordingly, this Court set a hearing for October 27,
for Judy to appear personally before us so that we might determine
whether he did, in fact, wish to waive his appeal of this conviction,
and, if he did so waive, whether that waiver was voluntarily and
knowingly made. In this opinion, we shall: (1) determine the validity of
Judy's waiver of appellate review of his convictions; and (2) review the
death sentence imposed by the trial court.
* * *
Judy's response to the legal procedures in this case
was much like Gilmore's in Utah; in fact, one might surmise that Judy
was aware of Gilmore's activity, as it was heavily publicized, and opted
to bring to bear the same results in this case. An examination of the
transcripts and record of the trial before the court and jury reveals
that the prosecution presented overwhelming evidence of Judy's guilt.
Steven Judy was convicted of murdering Terry Chasteen
and her three children: Misty Zollers, age five years; Stephen Chasteen,
age four years; and Mark Chasteen, age two years. Hunters discovered
Terry Chasteen's body at approximately 9:30 a. m. in White Lick Creek,
near State Road 67 and Mooresville in Morgan County.
A police search of
the creek led to the discovery of the other three bodies. Terry Chasteen
was found naked, with her hands and feet bound with strips of material
torn from her clothing, and her head covered with her slacks. She had
been gagged and strangled with other strips of cloth. The evidence
established that Terry Chasteen had been raped and that she died of
strangulation, while the children died of asphyxia due to drowning.
Certain physical evidence tended to circumstantially
connect Steven Judy with this incident. Tests on a coat found at the
scene of the crimes revealed a semen stain. Analysis of this stain
indicated that the makeup of the substance was compatible with Judy's
blood type and the finding of an "H endogen" in a sample of Judy's blood.
Testimony established that, once the geographic
location of the discovery of the substance was known, only a very small
percentage of the male population was capable of producing semen with
the identification qualities mentioned. In addition, two threads of
material found in Steven Judy's truck substantially matched the threads
of one article of Terry Chasteen's clothing.
The evidence further established that Terry Chasteen had left in her
automobile with the three children some time after 6:00 a. m. She had
planned to leave the children at a babysitter's house and continue on to
her place of employment. When her probable driving route was retraced,
her automobile was found parked near the interchange of Interstates 465
and 70 in southwest Marion County.
Several witnesses related that they had seen various
segments of the incident. On the day of the killings and the preceding
day, Steven Judy had in his control a red and gray truck which several
witnesses placed at or near the location of Terry Chasteen's car on
One of the witnesses testified that he saw a blond-haired
man, whom he later identified as Judy, standing near a car parked on the
interstate with the hood open. Another witness testified that he was
driving southwest on State Road 67 and saw a red and gray truck carrying
a man, a woman, and some childreN, proceeding in the same direction.
This witness stated that the truck was moving at a fast pace, and in a
sometimes erratic manner, and that the woman in the truck waved to him
when the two vehicles stopped at a traffic light.
Judy's truck was also seen parked near the scene of
the killings by White Lick Creek around 7:00 to 7:30 a. m. One witness
recognized the truck from having seen it on several occasions at a
construction site. Another witness testified that he saw a man near the
scene carrying a child under one arm and carrying a bundle, which
actually had the shape and size of a child, under his other arm. A third
child was walking in front of the man.
The witness saw no other person at that time. At
approximately 7:30 a. m., a man was seen running away from the creek
toward the parked truck. Near that same time, another person saw a man
with blond hair backing his truck onto the travelled portion of the
highway from this same location. The person who witnessed this
occurrence testified that the driver of the truck was alone.
As noted earlier, Judy had possession of the truck in
question on the day preceding and the day of the murders. The evidence
established that Judy returned the truck to witness Robert Carr in
Indianapolis between 8:00 and 9:00 a. m. on the day of the killings.
Judy initially denied any involvement in the incident, and asserted that
he was with his girlfriend at the time in question and could not
remember what had happened. Judy's girlfriend first corroborated this
story, but subsequently contradicted Judy's alibi.
At trial, Judy presented an insanity defense and
testified at length concerning his commission of the rape and murders.
Judy stated that he was driving on Interstate 465 in Marion County when
he passed Terry Chasteen's car. He testified that he motioned for her to
pull over to the shoulder of the road, indicating that something was
wrong with the rear of her car. The two vehicles pulled to the shoulder
and stopped, and Judy purported to assist the victims. In the process,
he removed the coil wire, thereby rendering Terry Chasteen's car
inoperable. When her car would not start, Judy offered her and the
children a ride, and she accepted.
Judy then drove the victims to the location of the
killings and pulled his truck off the road. He testified that he
directed them on foot toward the creek, and that he sent the children
down the path ahead of Terry and him. Judy testified that he then raped
Terry Chasteen and bound her hands and feet and gagged her. When Terry
cried out, the children ran back up the path to them. Judy stated that
the children stood around him and yelled. At that point, he strangled
Terry Chasteen and threw her body into the creek.
Judy testified that he then threw each of the
children as far as he could into the water. He stated that he remembered
seeing one of the children standing in the creek. Judy returned to his
truck after attempting to eradicate his footprints. He then drove away
from the scene, stopped and bought a soft drink, and threw the coil wire
away. Thereupon, he returned the truck to Robert Carr at Carr's
residence. Although Judy's version of the events presented some
discrepancies concerning minor details, his testimony very substantially
corroborated the evidence presented by the State.
The only defense presented at the trial was a plea of
insanity at the time of the commission of the offenses. Dr. Cathy Spath
Widom, a psychologist, testified for the defense that she believed Judy
had chronic emotional problems. She described Judy as having an
antisocial personality disorder, and was of the opinion that he was
legally insane. She referred in her testimony to extensive records on
Judy's life and mental condition; these records covered a period of
During this time he had been examined and evaluated
many times as a result of committing offenses at school and in his
neighborhood. The evidence established that, when Judy was thirteen
years old, he perpetrated a rape, stabbed the victim eighteen times, and
hit her with a hatchet.
As a result of this incident, he was admitted to
Central State Hospital in Indianapolis for evaluation. While he was
involved in Central State's treatment program, he became the foster
child of a family in Indianapolis. He was discharged from Central State
Hospital in 1972 at age sixteen, with a recommendation that he be
returned to the juvenile center for placement at the Indiana Boys School.
The hospital's evaluation stated that Judy had appeared to recover from
his emotional problems and that further hospitalization was not
Judy testified that he had been committing various
offenses since he was ten years old. He asserted that he had been
involved in approximately two hundred shoplifting incidents, a like
number of burglaries, twenty to fifty robberies, approximately twenty-four
car thefts, and from twelve to sixteen rapes. He also estimated that he
had been examined by approximately thirty psychiatrists during those
From 1975 to the time of these offenses, Judy had
been out of jail for a total time of approximately four months. During
those periods, he testified, he had lived with or had intercourse with
fifteen women. Three women with whom Judy had lived testified that he
had never threatened or physically harmed them. In fact, Judy was living
with one of those women during the week prior to the commission of these
However, other women testified as to various attacks
Judy had committed upon them. These incidents involved accosting the
victims in their cars and kidnapping, threatening and beating them. One
witness testified to being a victim of one of Judy's armed robberies.
These witnesses all believed Judy was in control of himself during the
incidents and could have stopped doing what he was doing. However, one
witness stated at one point that Judy "acted crazy" when he was beating
her about the face.
Previously conducted psychiatric evaluations
classified Judy as having a personality disorder and concluded there was
no indication of a mental illness. Two court-appointed psychiatrists,
Dr. John Kooiker and Dr. Larry Davis, testified that they had examined
Judy and that, in their opinions, he had an antisocial personality
disorder. Both concluded that he was legally sane at the time of the
commission of these crimes.
In fact, the record reveals that every psychiatrist
who has ever examined Judy has been of the opinion that he is of normal
or above-average intelligence and that he is legally sane. The jury
rejected Judy's insanity defense and convicted him on all charges.
After the jury found Judy guilty on all four counts
of murder, and the bifurcated sentencing portion of the trial was
commenced, Judy ordered his attorneys not to present any evidence of
mitigating circumstances to the jury in regard to the sentence they
might select and recommend. See Ind.Code s 35-50-2-9(c), (d) (Burns 1979
Repl.). Judy stated to the jury in open court at the sentencing hearing
that he would advise them to give him the death sentence, because he had
no doubt that he would kill again if he had an opportunity, and some of
the people he might kill in the future might be members of the jury.
He also directed a similar comment to the trial judge.
Then, during final argument in the sentencing hearing, Judy ordered his
attorneys not to argue against the death penalty. They complied with his
request, except for a suggestion to the trial judge that the
constitutionality of the death penalty statute ought to be considered
before such a penalty is imposed.
On October 27, Judy appeared in this Court with his
attorneys for a hearing on his request that he be permitted to waive his
appeal. At that hearing, Judy very freely and openly discussed his
situation with the members of this Court. It was obvious to all members
of this Court that Judy well understood his situation and the results
that could be expected from an acceptance of his waiver. Judy stated
that he understood that he had a right to an appeal, that a review of
the convictions might result in an order for a new trial, that in that
event he would again be entitled to a jury trial, and that, at that new
trial, he also would be entitled to a change of judge and a change of
venue from the county.
He further expressed an understanding that, if he
were granted a new trial, he would be entitled to the assistance of
counsel and to subpoena witnesses in his behalf. He also understood that
he might be found not guilty at a new trial. In addition, Judy stated he
was aware that our review of the sentence might result in the setting
aside of the death sentence and the imposition of a term of years.
Moreover, Judy acknowledged that he understood that a
waiver at that time of review of his convictions would be considered his
final decision, and would stand, even if this Court were to decide to
set aside the death sentence. Finally, he freely admitted that he is
guilty of the **101 murders of which he was convicted. Waiver Hearing
Transcript at 8-19.
Thus, in response to questions from various members
of the Court, he indicated that he was fully aware of all that might
happen if this Court allowed him to waive his appeal. He discussed all
of the alternatives with the Court and showed that he clearly and
intelligently understood them. He responded to one question in the
following manner: "I no longer wish any more representation by counsel,
any counsel. All right? You know, I feel that it's my right that I can
proceed with the appeal." Waiver Hearing Transcript at 15.
Judy further stated that he felt the attorneys in
court with him, Stroud and Harris, were "darned good attorneys." He said
he has no complaint about them, and, in fact, they are the best lawyers
he has ever seen. Waiver Hearing Transcript at 12. Judy also wanted it
to be known that his actions did not detract in any way from his feeling
that they were representing him competently and were treating him fairly
in all respects. He made it clear to this Court, as he had done at the
sentencing hearing, that he did not want counsel to make arguments for
him regarding the death sentence.
In addition, Judy asserted that he personally did not
intend to take any further action on his appeal. In answer to another
question from the Court, Judy stated: "What I understand that statute (s
35-50-2-9) to mean is that the Indiana Supreme Court has to review the
case. It's not saying that a brief has to be filed on it or any motions
filed or anything. Alright, that's final, there. The Indiana Supreme
Court can review the case, if they wish." Waiver Hearing Transcript at
At another point, Judy told the Court that he
understands his constitutional rights; in fact, he feels he understands
his rights more than other laymen understand them. Waiver Hearing
Transcript at 14.
The Court explained to Judy that, by waiving his
appeal, his convictions would not be reviewed for legal errors, and that
the Court would accept that Judy is guilty of the crimes in question.
Judy's overall attitude is best expressed by his response to that
warning: "I understand all that. It's, you know, the why, you know, of
not going on with this appeal, it's within myself, you know. And there's
really no you know, I accepted what the court found. You know, I thought
I was treated fair, more than fair. I was provided with good counsel and
I lost. There's no sense going on with this." Waiver Hearing Transcript
Thus, Judy's attitude, in short, was that he would
like to waive review of the sentence as well as review of the
convictions; however, if this Court felt it had to review the sentence,
he would accept that, but would take no action toward that review,
preferring that it be done as soon as possible.
Before the hearing terminated, Judy stated in open
court that he would like to formally fire attorneys Harris and Stroud,
saying he no longer wished for them to represent him. Judy further
stated that he had nothing against these two gentlemen; that they are
the best attorneys he had ever seen, but that he wanted the sentence
review to proceed with no further efforts on his behalf.
Stroud and Harris stated to the Court that they also understood that
Judy did not want them to act in any way on his behalf, including the
filing of any brief concerning the Court's review of the death sentence.
This Court acknowledged Judy's dismissal of Harris and Stroud, and
advised them that they were released from any further obligation with
regard to the review process in his case.
We further find that Judy has made a knowing,
voluntary, and intelligent waiver of his right to appeal his four murder
convictions. In addition to all we see in the record, much of which
having been discussed above, we have observed Judy's appearance and
demeanor in this Court, his responsiveness to our questions, and his
ability to communicate with his lawyers. We find him to be fully
competent to make this waiver. See Gilmore v. Utah, supra. Accordingly,
this Court will not evaluate the murder convictions any further; we
shall, then, proceed to review the death sentence imposed by the trial
* * *
We further find, as explained above, that the trial
court in all respects properly followed the required procedures in
imposing the sentence of death. There was more than ample evidence in
the record to justify the trial court's determination beyond a
reasonable doubt that the aggravating circumstances set out in his
findings were present.
The facts in evidence before the court, together with
those presented in the presentence report, also completely substantiate
the court's finding that no mitigating circumstances existed which
outweighed the aggravating circumstances. Both of these conclusions, and
the specific findings to support them, were clearly enunciated in
writing by the trial court.
The facts evident in the record of this case, which
patently show the egregious and horrifying nature of these offenses and
the character of this offender, and the trial court's careful compliance
with the proper procedures, inescapably lead us to the conclusion that
the sentence of death recommended by the jury and imposed by the trial
court was not arbitrarily or capriciously arrived at, and, without any
doubt, is reasonable and appropriate.
Therefore, we affirm the trial court in its
imposition of the death penalty here. This cause is remanded to the
trial court for the purpose of setting a date for the death sentence to
be carried out. GIVAN, C. J., and HUNTER, J., concur. PRENTICE, J.,
concurs in result with separate opinion. DeBRULER, J., dissents with
Steven Timothy Judy