Joseph Corcoran was sentenced to death by the State of Indiana for the murder of a police officer. According to court documents Joseph Corcoran was upset after he heard people talking about him. Joseph Corcoran would murder shot his brother, his brother’s two friends and his sisters fiance. Joseph Corcoran would be convicted and sentenced to death.
Joseph Corcoran 2021 Information
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|Indiana State Prison
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Joseph Corcoran More News
The convicted killer has been on Indiana’s death row for nearly 20 years, in 1998 sentenced by Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull to death for a quadruple murder.
Armed with a shotgun, Corcoran killed his brother, James Corcoran, 30; his sister’s fiancé, Robert Scott Turner, 32; and two of his brother’s friends, Timothy G. Bricker, 30, and Douglas A. Stillwell, 30, in a home on Bayer Avenue in July 1997.
Since his incarceration, Corcoran has bragged about killing his parents, also with a shotgun in Steuben County in 1992 – a crime for which he was charged and acquitted.
To say his case has been heavily litigated is probably an understatement. It has been heard in Indiana’s Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Corcoran’s appeal has even been heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on multiple occasions. In 2010, his sentence of death was reinstated by the nation’s highest court, overturning a ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
It appears that that was the end.
In March, the Supreme Court denied Corcoran’s request to have his case reviewed by the court for a third time. The refusal to hear it again lets stand a 2015 ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that upheld lower federal court rulings that left the sentence of death in place.
He has no more appeals left in Indiana, either.
For the past decade or so, the courts have looked at whether Gull improperly considered factors against Corcoran in his sentencing, or whether she properly considered factors in his favor.
The state of Indiana can request the death penalty if a defendant is found to have committed murder with at least one aggravating circumstance, such as the age of the victim, multiple victims, while committing another crime or killing a law enforcement officer.
In Corcoran’s case, Gull found that one of the aggravating circumstances existed, specifically the multiple victims.
But when she sentenced Corcoran to death, she cited several factors against him – the innocence of the victims, the heinousness of the crime and the likelihood Corcoran would kill again.
She also cited factors to be considered in his favor, but gave them less weight than what she considered against him.
In 2000, Gull rewrote her sentencing order, carefully explaining what she considered and what she did not. The order reaffirmed the death penalty, and it has ultimately survived challenges in state and federal courts for the past 13 years.
In 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Jon DeGuilio upheld Gull’s order, after Corcoran’s attorneys filed a writ of habeas corpus asking for another review of the sentence.
DeGuilio denied their request but allowed them to appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, which they did in the fall of 2013. It was on Corcoran to show the appellate court that Gull’s sentence was unreasonable.
The 7th Circuit backed DeGuilio, and, as of an order issued in late March, the U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear it anymore.
For now, the 41-year-old Corcoran, who is a paranoid schizophrenic, sits in a cell in the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, one of 14 people in the Indiana Department of Correction under the sentence of death, according to the Indiana Department of Correction.
The last execution in the state was in 2009, with the death by lethal injection of Matthew Wrinkles who was convicted of the murder of his wife, brother-in-law and his brother-in-law’s wife in 1994.
A lawsuit is pending in LaPorte County Circuit Court on the use of Indiana’s three-drug protocol for executions. The lawsuit was filed in January by death-row inmate Roy Lee Ward against the Indiana Department of Corrections. There was a hearing held Friday on a motion by the State of Indiana to dismiss the lawsuit, but no ruling has been issued yet, according to court record.
No executions are scheduled, according to the Department of Correction.
And the Indiana Attorney General has not asked for a date for Corcoran’s execution, officials said.
Corcoran’s attorney, Alan Freedman, said there is but one likely option left: clemency.
That is probably a longshot option, based on recent behavior by past Indiana governors.
Democrat Gov. Joseph Kernan granted clemency twice. In 2004, Kernan commuted the sentence of Darnell Williams because his co-defendant received a sentence of life without parole.
Again in 2005, Kernan commuted a death sentence to life without parole, this time in the case of Michael Daniels. There were doubts about Michael Daniels’ personal responsibility for the crime, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, granted clemency to Arthur P. Baird II in 2005. The family of Baird’s victims believed he deserved a life sentence because of his mental illness.
No clemency has been granted in the past decade in the Hoosier State.