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Attempted murder conviction overturned for man accused of shooting at Bargersville cop in 2020

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Posted at 1:02 PM, Oct 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-26 14:49:35-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A judge for the Court of Appeals of Indiana has overturned a conviction of attempted murder and for a man accused of shooting at a Bargersville police officer more than two years ago.

The court found that there was disputed evidence as to Andrew P. McQuinn's intent in firing the gun on that February 2020 encounter and that the trial court instructed the jury that the direction of the gunfire could be "'substantial evidence' of McQuinn's intent to kill."

It continues, "This instruction invaded the province of the jury to determine the weight of the evidence and undermined McQuinn's defense that he did not have the specific intent required for attempted murder."

The court also reversed McQuinn's conviction of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon after finding that McQuinn didn't waive his right to a jury trial before he "purportedly" pleaded guilty to the charge.

The court remanded a new trial on those two charges.

However, the court affirmed his remaining convictions of domestic battery, theft of a firearm and carrying a handgun without a license.

The encounter happened on Feb. 9 when officers were called to Clary Crossing Apartments for a report of a domestic dispute. It was there, according to court documents, a "highly-intoxicated" McQuinn smacked his girlfriend, grabbed her throat and threw her against a table before stealing her handgun and said he was "going to have a 'shootout' with the cops."

After officers arrived, McQuinn fired six shots. A responding officer heard the shots and retreated, and in the meantime, McQuinn put his hands up and laid down on the ground.

Police later found the gun and six shell casings in the area where McQuinn had been standing but did not find fired bullets or bullet holes in the officer's vehicle, according to the document.

"Police also found no evidence of bullet strikes in the general area where (the officer's) vehicle was located when McQuinn fired the gun," the document states.

After his conviction of attempted murder, McQuinn filed an appeal, arguing the trial court "erred in instructing the jury on that charge."

The findings state, "Because we are not completely confident the jury would have found McQuinn guilty had it been properly instructed, we must conclude that the challenged instruction prejudiced McQuinn's substantial rights. We therefore reverse his conviction for attempted murder and remand for a new trial on that charge."

As for the unlawful possession charge, the appellate court agreed with McQuinn's argument that the trial court made a mistake in accepting his guilty plea since he never waived his right to a jury trial.

A new trial date for McQuinn has not been scheduled.