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Officials remain tight-lipped about judges’ shooting

June 26, 2019
Jacobs Jacobs
Adams Adams

Since Clark Circuit Judges Andrew Adams and Bradley Jacobs returned to their southern Indiana homes in mid-May to recuperate from being shot, few updates on their conditions and announcements regarding the prosecution of their case have been provided.

Jacobs has sent a couple of texts, thanking people for their support and telling them he is recovering, according to Pastor Nancy Woodworth-Hill. Also, people in the community have been sending cards and get-well wishes, but they are still confused about the lack of information regarding the shooting and the aftermath.

“Part of the wonderment is what happened and why has there been no progress on the case,” the pastor of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Jeffersonville said.

Many others are bewildered, too, as the two-month anniversary of the shooting incident approaches.

Adams and Jacobs had traveled to Indianapolis for the Spring Judicial Conference when they were shot early in the morning of May 1 outside a downtown White Castle restaurant. Adams allegedly was shot in the stomach and Jacobs suffered to gunshots to the chest.

By mid-May, the judges were both home from the hospital. The Indiana Supreme Court referred an inquiry about the judges’ recovery and when they were expected to return to the bench to Jeffersonville attorney Larry Wilder. Wilder, who has been serving as a spokesman for the families, did not respond to an email before IL deadline.

Woodworth-Hill remembers the three early morning phone calls she received before 8 a.m. May 1. Members of the Clark County CARES (Community Addiction Resources, Education & Support) program were calling to relay the news that Adams and Jacobs had been shot.

“They were absolutely distraught,” she recalled.

Adams and Jacobs had been active in the community and supported the CARES program, which is a local grassroots effort to combat the opioid epidemic, Woodworth-Hill said. The pair are well-liked, with Adams often getting ribbed because he likes to wear bow ties. Jacobs, who has been active with the group longer, was always ready to help the program make connections with other addiction treatment initiatives.

In April, Jacobs had helped organize a field trip for the CARES group to Huntington, West Virginia, to collaborate with local professionals and see the innovations they are implementing to address the opioid problems in their community. Adams had returned from the excursion with ideas for some new programming in his court that would better serve the people struggling with addiction.

“The guys as we know them are solid, caring people, so we’re a little bit flummoxed about what happened,” Woodworth-Hill said.

Indianapolis residents Brandon Kaiser and Alfredo Vazquez were arrested May 5 for their alleged roles in the shootings. According to the Marion County Jail’s website, Kaiser, 41, was preliminarily charged with aggravated battery, carrying a handgun without a license, attempted murder and battery. Vazquez, 23, was preliminarily charged with assisting a criminal.

However, the pair were eventually released after the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office declined to press charges.

Contacted recently, Prosecutor Terry Curry declined to provide any additional details. “As we’ve said before, when we declined to file the charges, is that we felt it was appropriate to complete some additional investigation, and when we’ve done that, we’ll be prepared to address that,” he said.

When asked if he could comment as to whether a grand jury has been empaneled to hear the evidence, Curry replied, “Nope. I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”

After receiving the trio of phone calls on the morning of May 1, Woodworth-Hill hastily organized a prayer vigil for the evening at her church. Among the estimated 150 people who attended the standing-room-only event were people who had appeared as defendants before Adams and Jacobs.

“You can be home alone, you can keep vigil home alone,” the pastor said. “But to gather together, we become more than just a set of individuals — we become a community holding people that we dearly care for in our hearts.”•

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