INDIANAPOLIS — A Richmond man lost his bid to overturn two child molesting convictions.
Randy L. Bussen, 31, is serving a 37-year sentence in the Miami Correctional Facility in Bunker Hill, according to Indiana Department of Correction records. His projected release date is July 22, 2050.
A Wayne County jury convicted Bussen on April 7 of two Level 1 felony counts of child molesting, and Judge Charles Todd Jr. issued the aggravated sentence that's seven years more than the standard for a Level 1 felony conviction. Four other charges against Bussen were later dismissed.
Bussen's appeal claimed that the court erred when admitting some testimony and that there was prosecutorial misconduct during closing remarks. The appeals court denied both of his claims.
The court found no error in the challenged testimony's admission, but its opinion said that even if there were error, the error would have been harmless because the convictions were supported by "substantial independent evidence of his guilt."
During trial, the child victim testified with detail about the instances that occurred when she was 3 and 4 years old, the opinion said. That testimony was also subject to cross-examination.
The challenged testimony was brief, general statements, so the appeals court was not persuaded that testimony contributed to the jury's verdicts.
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Likewise, the court did not find that Bussen's appeal showed any prosecutorial misconduct, much less rising to the level of fundamental error to overturn convictions. The appeal challenged comments during closing arguments, claiming they "vouched" for the credibility of witnesses.
The appeals court found the comments were supported by evidence from trial or were logical and reasonable conclusions based on analysis of testimony.
Bussen was arrested Nov. 5, 2018, on a warrant for six child molesting counts, three as Level 1 felonies and three as Level 4 felonies, that involved four girls and incidents ranging from 2015 to March 2018. The children described times when Bussen allegedly exposed himself to them, fondled them while they were sleeping and more, according to case records.
The charges were separated for trial by victim, and the counts for which Bussen was convicted occurred sometime in August or September 2015 and sometime between January and April 2016.
This article originally appeared on Richmond Palladium-Item: Appeals court upholds Richmond man's child molesting convictions