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Court rejects Meyers’ claims his trial counsel was ineffective

May 28, 2015

John R. Myers II, the man convicted of killing Indiana University student Jill Behrman in 2000, was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his father-son trial counsel team was ineffective during his murder trial.

Behrman, an accomplished cyclist, went for a ride on the morning of May 31, 2000. She never returned and her bike was found near Myers’ Monroe County home that day. Behrman’s remains were discovered in March 2003 in a wooded area in Morgan County where Myers had previously hunted. Myers was indicted for her killing in April 2006 and convicted that year and sentenced to 65 years. His convictions were upheld on direct appeal to the Court of Appeals and Indiana Supreme Court.

He then filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which was denied in 2013. He appealed that denial in John R. Myers II v. State of Indiana, 55A05-1312-PC-608.

Myers raised 11 claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel relating to Hugh and Patrick Baker, including that Patrick Baker was ineffective for telling the jury in opening statements the defense would present evidence regarding an alternative suspect. But counsel never presented evidence to support the claims. Patrick Baker was professionally disciplined in 2011 for, among other things, stating that a bloodhound had alerted at another man’s home when the attorney knew the statements were false.

Myers also argued that his counsel was ineffective for not impeaching the testimony of his grandmother or ex-girlfriend or failing to undermine the state’s theory that Behrman had ridden her bicycle north toward Myers’ home that morning instead of a route south of Bloomington.

The Indiana Court of Appeals declined to find ineffective assistance of counsel relating to any of Myers’ claims.

He also alleged his due process rights were violated because the state did not disclose all exculpatory evidence to the defense, but he is unable to identify any specific evidence that the state may have suppressed. The judges also rejected his claim that he is entitled to reversal because of prosecutorial misconduct as he fell “far short” of establishing the complained-of-testimony and evidence were false or the state knew as much, Judge Ezra Friedlander wrote. In addition, he didn’t raise these claims at trial or on direct appeal.

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