Court of Appeals Upholds 110-Year Sentence for Ernest Wireman

Ernest Wireman

The Court of Appeals has rejected Ernest Wireman’s cumulative error claim following a nine-day trial in June of 2010 in Starke Circuit Court. Wireman was accused of brutally murdering his wife, Mary, before burning down the trailer with her inside and shooting her son, Jeremy, who survived the attack. Wireman pleaded insanity to the charges against him, but was found guilty but mentally ill of Murder, Attempted Murder as a Class A felony, and Arson as a Class B felony and ordered to serve 110 years in the Department of Corrections.

Wireman appealed the decision, claiming that the State’s psychiatrist, Dr. Gregory Hale, should not have been allowed to render his opinion of Wireman’s mental state because he lacked knowledge of Indiana’s standard for determining sanity. Further, he claimed that the jury’s verdict of guilty but mentally ill was not supported by sufficient evidence, and said that the errors in the trial violated his right to a fair trial. Finally, Wireman claimed that the trial court did not appropriately consider his mental illness in determining his sentence.

The Court of Appeals ruled that although Wireman’s mental illness played a part in his decision to murder his wife and attempt to kill his stepson, the evidence presented at trial showed that Wireman knew what he was doing was legally wrong, and concluded that his 110-year sentence is appropriate.