Court upholds murder conviction, sentenceAugust 24, 2021
By Herald Staff
JASPER — The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled a Dubois County woman convicted of murder and aggravated battery will serve her 55-year sentence. In the July 21, 2021, decision, the court found Sarah K. Andry’s sentence was appropriate and the evidence was sufficient to convict her.
Dubois County Prosecutor Anthony Quinn was not surprised by the appellate court’s ruling. “This was a solid, clear-cut case,” he said. “The evidence showed Andry played the pivotal role in Darin Atkin’s death and the sentence Judge Verkamp handed down at the conclusion of the bench trial was both fair and appropriate.”
Andry was convicted last September in the July 19, 2017, murder of Darin Atkins, one of two men she was seeing at the time.
Jason Atkins, the other man Andry was dating, was also involved in the murder. He entered a plea agreement for his involvement. He told the court Andry had hit Darin Atkins at least twice in the head with a bat.
The appellate court stated in its ruling its role is to neither re-weigh the evidence in a case nor judge the credibility of witnesses. Rather, the court considers only the evidence supporting the conviction and the reasonable inferences drawn from it.
Through her lawyers in her appeal, Andry also argued that Jason Atkin’s testimony was incredibly unreliable or dubious.
The court said the rule regarding incredible dubosity or unreliability is applied in extremely limited circumstances; “the testimony must be so convoluted and/or contrary to human experience that no reasonable person could believe it.”
The court wrote, “Indeed, Jason’s testimony aligned with the pathologist’s testimony that Darin was struck at least three times."
The Appeals court noted that circumstantial evidence in the case also supports Andry’s guilt and makes the incredible dubosity rule inapplicable.
Regarding the appropriateness of Andry’s sentence, the court said 55 years is the advisory sentence. Andry argued her sentence should be reduced to match Jason Atkins’. In exchange for his guilty plea and testifying against Andry, Jason Atkins received a 45-year sentence with 20 years suspended to supervised probation.
“Andry’s argument that her sentence should be the same as Jason’s is baseless,” wrote the court, noting there is no requirement of consistency in such cases.
The court noted Andry initiated the encounter with Darin Atkins, told Jason Atkins that Darin deserved the violent death, used Darin’s phone to cover up the death and spent time alone at the crime scene hours after the death before calling police.
“I’m relieved Ms. Andry's conviction and sentence was upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals,” Quinn said. “Darin Atkins’ family must live with his loss forever. I hope they can find peace that the woman behind his murder will serve the full prison sentence.”
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