The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 1:00 am

Verdict upheld in stabbing of cousin

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Fort Wayne man who badly injured his cousin in a stabbing nearly three years ago.

Willie Vertison, 45, was convicted last year of aggravated battery and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He appealed, questioning whether prosecutors presented sufficient evidence.

At issue in Vertison's appeal was whether prosecutors had to prove intent as part of their case.

Appeals court judges sided with the trial court in a decision filed Tuesday, writing “the state was required to prove only that Vertison knowingly or intentionally inflicted injury upon (the victim) and not that Vertison knew he would create a substantial risk of death.”

“We conclude the evidence is sufficient to sustain Vertison's conviction for aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony,” the decision authored by Judge Margret Robb says. Judges Robert Altice and Cale Bradford concurred.

Vertison stabbed Videl Peaches 12 times April 16, 2017. The men were drinking, argued and fought after Vertison accused Peaches and others of stealing his cellphone, according to court documents.

Peaches was taken to Lutheran Hospital, where a trauma surgeon later told investigators the man's heart stopped six times. 

“During his stay (in the hospital), Videl underwent 15 to 20 procedures and surgeries and actively died six times but ultimately survived,” court documents said. 

Vertison is being held at the Correctional Industrial Facility in Pendleton. His earliest release date is April 8, 2029, Indiana Department of Correction records show.

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