DOC#: 13150 White Male
Clay County Circuit Court
Judge Ernest E. Yelton
Venued from Putnam County
Prosecutor: Delbert H. Brewer,
Fritz D. Modesitt
Defense: Woodrow S. Nasser
Date of Murder: October 26, 1981
Victim(s): Martha Payne W/F/24 (Acquaintance
Method of Murder: stabbing with
Summary: James D. Payne returned
to his home in Greencastle and found the body of his wife, Martha,
on the bedroom floor. She had been raped, anally sodomized, and
stabbed in the shoulder/back area, which caused her death. There
were also ligature marks on her neck, and burns on her ankles
indicating an attempt at electrocution.
Among other things, a jugful of coins was taken.
Minnick's car was observed in the area near the time of death. When
confronted, Minnick admitted being at the victim's home earlier in
the day, but only to ask if she needed work done.
A more incriminating statement made later, was
admitted at the first trial in violation of Edwards / Miranda, and
was the basis for reversal on appeal. A hair on an electrical wire
recovered from Minnick's car matched those of the victim. Minnick
was found in possession of coins and broken glass inside a shaving
kit. His girlfriend testified that Minnick told her that "Ace"
killed the woman, but that he had raped her.
Conviction: Murder, Rape,
Robbery; Directed Verdict of Not Guilty on CDC
Sentencing: June 10, 1982 (Death
Aggravating Circumstances: b (1)
Mitigating Circumstances: 18
years old at the time of the murder
Minnick v. State, 467 N.E.2d 754 (Ind.
September 7, 1984)
Conviction Reversed 5-0 DP Vacated 5-0
(Confession improperly admitted in violation of Edwards /
Givan Opinion; Debruler, Prentice, Pivarnik, Hunter concur.
Indiana v. Minnick, 105 S. Ct. 3512 (1985) (Cert. denied)
Trial was venued to Lawrence County and Minnick was
again convicted of Murder, Rape (A Felony), and Robbery (A Felony) and
sentenced to death by Lawrence Circuit Court Judge Linda Chezem on
10-16-85, despite a jury recommendation against death.
Minnick v. State, 544 N.E.2d 471 (Ind.
October 2, 1989)
Conviction Affirmed 5-0 DP Affirmed 3-2
Givan Opinion; Shepard, Pivarnik concur; Debruler, Dickson dissent.
Judge Overrides Jury Recommendation against DP
Petition filed; Judge Allen Sharp (stayed pending
outcome of PCR).
PCR Petition filed 06-03-92. PCR denied 06-13-95 by
Judge Richard D. McIntyre.
Minnick v. State, 698 N.E.2d 745 (Ind. 1998) (Appeal of PCR
denial by Judge Richard McIntyre)
Affirmed 4-1. Dickson Opinion; Shepard, Selby, Boehm concur. Sullivan
Minnick v. State, 705 N.E.2d 179 (Ind. 1999)
(Rehearing denied 4-1)
Minnick v. Indiana, 120 S.Ct. 501 (1999) (Cert. denied).
07-28-04 The Indiana Supreme Court remanded William
Minnick's case back to the Lawrence Circuit Court, authorizing the
filing of a successive post-conviction relief petition, to consider
arguments for resentencing in light of Saylor v. State. The post-conviction
court was directed to first determine competency.
12-01-04 Lawrence Circuit Court Judge Richard D.
McIntyre, Sr. granted PCR. (Judge originally sentenced Minnick to
death over the recommendation of the jury against imposition of death
penalty. Under Saylor v. State the death sentence was “inappropriate,”
since under current statute, Judge must sentence in accordance with
jury verdict. The parties agreed that Minnick was not competent at
this time. At resentencing, Minnick faces a maximum of 160 years
imprisonment, but it has been continued until such time as the trial
court finds him competent following treatment by the FSSA Division of
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed 09-08-99
in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana.
Granted as to death sentence 08-22-00 by U.S. District Court Judge
Minnick v. Anderson, 151 F.Supp.2d 1015 (N.D.
Ind. August 22, 2000).
(Granting Habeas Writ as to death sentence only, conditioned upon
resentencing to “imprisonment during his natural life without parole.”
- Imposition of death sentence in the face of a contrary jury
recommendation violated equal protection clause)
03-25-02, 03-26-02, 04-10-02 Sanity Hearing as
Ordered by 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
04-24-02 Guardian Ad Litem appointed for Minnick
07-01-02 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals relieves lawyers of
authority to represent Minnick
08-25-04 Petitioner’s Motion to Stay Proceedings granted (to pursue
AWAITING RESENTENCING IN THE LAWRENCE COUNTY