May 5, 2021

Top Court Spurns Appeal In Ball State Student's 1994 Killing

The U.S. Supreme Court - FILE: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

The U.S. Supreme Court

FILE: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has rebuffed a central Indiana man's appeal of his life sentence for fatally shooting a Ball State University student in 1994 during an attempted robbery.

The court issued an order Monday declining to hear Larry Wayne Newton Jr.'s appeal of a Delaware County judge's 2016 decision denying his bid for post-conviction relief, The Star Press reported.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision finally closes the book on this horrendous saga,” Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman said Tuesday in a statement.

Newton was 17 in September 1994 when the Muncie resident fatally shot Christopher Coyle — a 19-year-old Ball State University student from Pendleton — during an attempted off-campus robbery.

Newton pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, as had been specified in his plea agreement.

In 2016, Delaware Circuit Court Judge Linda Ralu Wolf denied Newton’s bid for post-conviction relief, ruling that he had been an “eager and willing participant” in Coyle's killing.

The Indiana Supreme Court declined in December 2017 to review an Indiana Court of Appeals ruling that upheld Wolf’s ruling.

In his latest appeal efforts, Newton's public defender maintained that his life sentence was unconstitutional because Newton was not yet 18 when Coyle was killed.

Newton, now 44, is incarcerated at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.

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