US Supreme Court won't hear South Bend murder appeal




  • In US
  • 2022-10-04 16:42:21Z
  • By South Bend Tribune
Tyre Bradbury is led into the courtroom in March 2016 for his trial in the murder of 2-year-old John Swoveland Jr.
Tyre Bradbury is led into the courtroom in March 2016 for his trial in the murder of 2-year-old John Swoveland Jr.  

Convicted of murder in 2016 for providing a gun to a man who shot and killed a South Bend toddler with a stray bullet, Tyre Bradbury will not get a chance to argue his case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court on Monday declined to take up Bradbury's appeal to the gang-related shooting, meaning Bradbury will continue to serve a 60-year sentence in the 2014 death of 2-year-old John Swoveland Jr. Swoveland was playing on Campeau Street when he was hit by a bullet fired almost 1,200 feet away, near Coquillard Park.

Bradbury was 15 in April 2014, when he allegedly instigated and brought a gun to a fight with rival gang members at the park on the city's northeast side. When a 19-year-old man opened fire, one of the bullets hit and killed John while he played nearly four football fields away.

Appeals court reverses Tyre Bradbury's conviction

Following his original court case, Bradbury has filed appeals arguing his trial lawyers, Charles and Brendan Lahey, were ineffective and took away his right to a fair trial. In late 2020, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned his conviction in a 2-1 decision, finding Bradbury's attorneys erred in two key ways that unconsitutionally hurt his case.

First, the attorneys allowed the jury to hear that the shooter, Robert Griffin, had already been convicted of murder. Two of the appellate judges agreed that made it easier for prosecutors to prove Bradbury, as an accomplice, also intended to commit a murder or knew he was doing so. Bradbury has maintained he never intended for a shooting to occur.

Second, the trial lawyers failed to ask the judge to tell jurors they could find Bradbury guilty of reckless homicide, a lesser crime, instead of murder. If convicted of the lesser offense, Bradbury would have received a maximum of 16 years in prison as opposed to the 60 he is currently serving.

Indiana Supreme Court reverses decision

The Indiana Supreme Court, however, upheld Bradbury's conviction in another split vote in 2021, with the majority of justices holding his attorneys' decisions were part of a legitimate "all or nothing" strategy to show Bradbury was in no way responsible for the killing.

Though the state courts eventually upheld Bradbury's conviction, he did win a separate appeal that knocked 30 years off his sentence. St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Hurley initially sentenced Bradbury to 90 years in prison due to a criminal gang enhancement that doubled his 45-year term for murder.

The U.S. Supreme Court, which began its new term Monday, is expected to hear cases involving affirmative action and voting rights legislation in the upcoming session.

This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: US Supreme Court will not hear South Bend murder case

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