Zionsville man's murderer loses appeal

Police lead Damione Wilcoxson, wearing orange jail garb and a bullet-proof vest, from the Boone County Courthouse in February 2019 after his bench trial in the 2016 murder of 82-year-old John Clements of Zionsville.

The Indiana Court of Appeals this week upheld the murder conviction the man who gunned down 82-year-old John Clements as Clements went outside to get his mail at his Zionsville home in 2016.

Boone Superior Court Judge Matthew Kincaid in April sentenced Damoine Wilcoxson, 23, of Indianapolis, to 65 years in prison for the murder of Clements, who was the caretaker of his disabled wife.

Wilcoxson’s attorney, Deborah K. Smith of Thorntown, argued that the court abused its discretion when admitting evidence of Wilcoxson’s prior bad acts and when sentencing him. Smith was appointed as pauper counsel after Wilcoxson’s original attorney, William Hawkins of Indianapolis, withdrew after the trial.

Three of Clements’ neighbors heard shots and saw a white car drive away, and police found four 223-cal shell casings in Cements’ driveway, according to testimony.

Someone also “shot up” the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Northwest and North district buildings on Oct. 4 and Oct. 13, 2018, and police found 46 of the same caliber shell casings outside of the two buildings, according to the ICA decision rendered Wednesday.

Wilcoxson shot at the SWAT team that raided his apartment Oct. 31, 2018, but eventually surrendered. Police found in his apartment a rifle that forensic analysis revealed was used in Clements’ murder, the IMPD building shootings and in firing at the SWAT team, according to the decision.

The state, before the Boone County trial, revealed its intent to submit evidence related to the IMPD shootings, and the trial court ruled the evidence was “relevant on the question of the identity of the perpetrator of the crime.”

The ICA ruled that Wilcoxson did not properly object to the challenged evidence during trial and therefore waived the issue of whether the court abused its discretion in admitting the challenged evidence.

Wilcoxson also argued in his appeal that his Boone County sentence should not run consecutively to, or after, his Marion County sentence in the IMPD building cases, but that the sentences should run concurrently, or at the same time.

Kincaid said, in part, in his sentencing decision that running the sentences concurrently “would stand for the proposition that if one undertakes a terroristic spree of murdering and attempting to murder people several times over a few weeks that such a miscreant stands to be punished only once. That is unacceptable …” The Marion and Boone county sentences served back-to-back total 103 years.

Wilcoxson, the father of two young children, also claimed the judge did not properly weigh aggravating and mitigating circumstances when handing down the maximum sentence allowed.

Kincaid gave minimal weight to Wilcoxson’s young age, 21 at the time, as a mitigating factor, but found aggravating factors, including: Wilcoxson’s prior attempted murder conviction, Clements’ advanced age and the fact that he was the primary caregiver for his disabled wife, Wilcoxson’s “character for hatred and violence” including his espoused hatred of white people, and the “facts and circumstances” of Clements’ murder, which the court described as terroristic.

“… The aggravators, especially the unimaginable impact of Clements’ senseless murder on his disabled wife, clearly warrant the imposition of consecutive sentences. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it sentenced Wilcoxson,” the ruling concluded.

The ICA in September rejected Wilcoxson’s appeal on his Marion County attempted murder conviction that arose from his shooting at the police buildings.

At one of the locations, two IMPD officers were visible through a window doing paperwork. Multiple bullets struck the building, and one went through the window and passed within inches of one of the officers. A jury convicted Wilcoxson of criminal recklessness and two counts of attempted murder. He was sentenced to 37 years with the Indiana Department of Correction in that case.

Maria Flora writes for The Lebanon Reporter. Email her at maria.flora@reporter.net.

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