Murder

Justices vacate murder convictions for 3 of ‘Elkhart 4’

September 18, 2015
Dave Stafford
Three members of the “Elkhart 4” convicted of murder in a controversial, highly publicized case in northern Indiana had their murder convictions vacated Friday by the Indiana Supreme Court.
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California man charged with murder in Indiana cold case

September 16, 2015
 Associated Press
Central Indiana authorities say a murder warrant in a 2002 cold case has been issued against a man currently jailed in California.
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TV’s ‘Shift’ suspect got shaft, but rights weren’t violated

August 26, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man who was wrongly arrested and charged with murder by Indianapolis police, whose investigation was being documented for the reality TV series “The Shift,” lost his appeal in a civil rights lawsuit against police.
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TV’s ‘Shift’ suspect got shaft, but rights weren’t violated

August 18, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man who was wrongly arrested and charged with murder by Indianapolis police whose investigation was being documented for the reality TV series “The Shift” lost his appeal in a civil rights lawsuit against police.
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7th Circuit divided over appeal from death row inmate

August 13, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A split 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an inmate on Indiana’s death row a chance for a new trial, finding the exclusion of a witness’s videotaped interview which could have possibly exonerated him was inadmissible as hearsay.
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Victim’s statements were dying declaration, COA rules

July 31, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected the argument that the victim, who was shot multiple times and eventually did die, could not have made a dying declaration because paramedics repeatedly told him he would live.
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Convicted wife killer gets 47 years for 2nd wife's death

July 30, 2015
 Associated Press
A LaPorte man convicted of killing a former wife in 1979 has been sentenced to 47 years for killing another wife.
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COA affirms conviction, sentence in pizza deliveryman’s slaying

July 23, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday upheld the 65-year sentence and convictions a jury rendered against an Indianapolis man who robbed, shot and killed a pizza deliveryman at a southside apartment complex.
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Judge’s failure to address killers’ upbringings requires resentencing

July 21, 2015
Dave Stafford
Two men sentenced to life in prison for the 2000 murder of a 73-year-old nearly deaf Hammond gun store owner must be resentenced, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Judge considers life sentence in Indianapolis explosion case

July 15, 2015
 Associated Press
An Indianapolis man will spend decades in prison after his conviction for a house explosion scheme that killed two neighbors, and prosecutors urged a judge Wednesday to make him eligible for life without parole at next month's sentencing.
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Jury hears closing statements on man accused in home blast

July 13, 2015
 Associated Press
Jurors have heard closing statements from the state and defense in the trial of a man accused of planning a 2012 home explosion that gutted an Indianapolis subdivision and killed a neighboring couple.
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Defense calls 1 witness in Indianapolis home explosion trial

July 10, 2015
 Associated Press
More than 160 witnesses testified for the prosecution in the month-long trial of a man accused of planning a home explosion that gutted an Indianapolis subdivision in 2012, killing two neighbors.
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Judge gives 35-year term in South Bend toddler's killing

July 9, 2015
 Associated Press
A northern Indiana judge has sentenced a 20-year-old man to 35 years in prison in the 2014 shooting death of a South Bend toddler.
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ATF agent found no bomb evidence at house explosion

July 8, 2015
 Associated Press
An agent for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told jurors he found no evidence of a destructive device or bomb at a 2012 explosion that devastated an Indianapolis neighborhood, killing two.
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Key Indianapolis home blast witness tells of failed tries

July 2, 2015
 Associated Press
An Indianapolis woman whose house exploded, killing two people, testified Wednesday during her former boyfriend's trial in South Bend that he was determined to burn the home down for insurance money and became angry when the first two attempts failed.
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Kristine Bunch’s malicious prosecution suit stayed

July 1, 2015
Dave Stafford
A woman whose murder conviction was overturned after she spent 17 years in prison may proceed with a malicious prosecution lawsuit against fire officials she claims framed her, a federal judge ruled Monday.
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Judge won't rule on venue change until jury selection

June 30, 2015
 Associated Press
A judge says she'll wait until jury selection to decide whether to move the trial of a Bloomington man charged with murder in the fatal beating of an Indiana University student.
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In case of conflicting evidence, high court defers to jury verdict

June 29, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A Pike County man challenging the jury’s finding that he was not insane or mentally ill did not meet what the Indiana Supreme Court acknowledged was a “heavy burden” to overturn the guilty verdict.
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Judges deny sentence modifications, but for different reasons

June 25, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A panel on the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Thursday that neither of two men who petitioned in late 2013 to have their 1997 sentences modified are entitled to a modification, but the judges' reasoning for the denials differed.
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Judge rejects mistrial in Indianapolis house explosion case

June 25, 2015
 Associated Press
An Indiana judge has denied a mistrial in the case of a man accused of rigging a deadly Indianapolis house explosion. The defendant's attorneys raised concerns about miscalculations by a witness.
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Woman who allegedly plotted to kill Indiana attorney captured in Montana

June 25, 2015
 Associated Press
Authorities have captured a Florida woman wanted on charges alleging she plotted to kill a suburban Indianapolis divorce attorney seeking money from her boyfriend.
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Indianapolis house blast trial delayed for mistrial motion

June 24, 2015
 Associated Press
A northern Indiana judge has put the trial of a man accused of rigging a deadly 2012 Indianapolis house explosion on hold so attorneys can prepare arguments on whether he should grant a mistrial because of a miscalculation of a witness who has yet to testify.
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Judge considering change of venue for man charged with killing IU student

June 18, 2015
 Associated Press
A judge is considering whether to move the trial of a man charged with fatally beating an Indiana University student.
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Justices reverse life sentence based on error by judge

June 17, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld a Gary man’s convictions related to the death of a woman he met at a bar, but it reversed the sentence of life without possibility of parole because the trial court’s sentencing order lacked a personal statement from the judge that the sentence is the appropriate one for the defendant.
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COA: Accomplice liability instruction is harmless error

June 10, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although the trial court erred in instructing the jury during a man's murder and attempted murder trial regarding accomplice liability as it applied to attempted murder, the error was harmless, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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  1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  2. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  3. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  4. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

  5. This year, Notre Dame actually enrolled an equal amount of male and female students.

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