INDIANAPOLIS — Once found guilty of attempted murder, one man has had his conviction overturned.
The Court of Appeals of Indiana has overruled Andrew McQuinn’s guilty conviction for an attempted murder of a Bargerstown Police Officer. The court ruled that there was disputed evidence of McQuinn’s intentions when firing the gun.
In addition, the Court of Appeals reversed his conviction on unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, due to McQuinn not personally waiving his right to a jury before he was said to have pled guilty.
The attempted murder charge comes from a domestic violence incident in 2020, when McQuinn fired a gun at police officers.
Court Documents say that while drunk, McQuinn smacked his girlfriend in the face, grabbed her throat, and threw her at a table. Once he knew police were called, McQuinn stole her gun and said he would have a “shootout with the cops.”
A Bargerstown Police officer arrived to the apartment complex’s parking lot and saw McQuinn fired six shots. That officer backed up from the scene and McQuinn put up his hands and laid on the ground to be arrested.
Investigating the scene, a gun and six shell casings were found but no bullets or bullet holes in the police officer’s vehicle or anywhere near it.
In jail, two corrections officers said to have heard McQuinn say, “[W]e shoot at police around here. Attempted murder, level one,” and “[I] tried to kill a cop tonight, because that’s what we do.”
McQuinn testified that he instead shot the gun in the air “to escape everything” since he was overwhelmed. He said those previous statements were him saying nonsense because he was drunk.
In a 2021 trial, “the trial court instructed the jury that the direction of the gunfire could be ‘substantial evidence’ of McQuinn’s intent to kill.” The Court of Appeals disputed that instruction, saying that in this specific case, the instruction given to the jury may had swayed them and undermined McQuinn’s defense that he did not intent to commit murder.
“This instruction duly emphasized the direction in which McQuinn fired the gun and encouraged the jury to give it considerable weight — all at the expense of conflicting evidence. Because the instruction invaded the province of the jury, it was improper.”
The Court of Appeals of Indiana agreed with McQuinn’s remaining convictions (domestic battery, theft of a firearm, and carrying a handgun without a license) and remanded for a new trial on the changed convictions.