FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A northeast Indiana man who has been on Indiana's death row for 14 years for fatally shooting his brother and three other men has lost his latest appeal.
A federal judge in South Bend has denied Joseph Corcoran's death sentence appeal, finding that Corcoran's attorney failed to show that Indiana's decisions to uphold the death penalty in his case were contrary to decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Corcoran's attorneys told the Journal Gazette (http://bit.ly/13y6bfE ) they plan to appeal. The case has been pending in federal court since 2005.
"We think there are some issues still pending. We'll see where we're going to go from there," said Alan Freedman with the Midwest Center for Justice in Evanston, Ill.
Corcoran's case has been reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court twice, a federal court twice and the Indiana Supreme Court five times.
Corcoran, 37, was convicted in 1999 in the July 1997 shooting deaths of his 30-year-old brother, James Corcoran; Douglas A. Stillwell, 30; Robert Scott Turner, 32; and Timothy G. Bricker, 30. Turner was the fiance of Corcoran's sister.
His attorneys have said he was mentally ill. Corcoran told police that he shot the men with a semiautomatic rifle in the living room of the Fort Wayne home he shared with his brother and sister because he overheard them talking about him.
Since his incarceration, the Journal Gazette reports that Corcoran has bragged about fatally shooting his parents with a shotgun in Steuben County in 1992 — a crime for which he was charged but acquitted by a jury.
In last week's ruling, U.S. District Judge Jon DeGuilio found that the Indiana Supreme Court's decision to uphold Gull's order was not unreasonable and that Corcoran did not show that the trial court violated his federally secured rights, according to court documents.
If Corcoran appeals the latest ruling to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, officials said the Indiana Attorney General's office, which represents the state on appeals, will file a response.