John Myers Hearing Now To Last Beyond The End Of The Week

John Myers is appealing his 2006 conviction of killing Indiana University student Jill Behrman.

morgan county courthouse

Photo: Stan Jastrzebski/WFIU News

John Myers' post-conviction hearing is being held at the Morgan County Courthouse.

5:00 p.m. UPDATE

What was supposed to be the next-to-last day of the post-conviction hearing for the man found guilty of killing IU student Jill Behrman turned out to be just a middle round of sparring Thursday.

In a high-pitched, slightly scratchy voice which required him to frequently sip from a water bottle, attorney Patrick Baker – a member of Myers’ original defense team — seemed almost to enjoy a five-hour back-and-forth with defense lawyer Anne Burgess.

In answer to dozens of questions about Myers’ murder trial and the events which led up to it, Baker answered “I don’t recall”.  When pressed about whether he had enough time to prepare, Baker variously said he now believes he didn’t have adequate prep time and that he put too *much* time into the case.

Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega says any incongruities in Baker’s statements may be attributable to him trying to explain why the trial went the way it did.

“It isn’t just Patrick Baker the lone ranger,” Sonnega says.  “This is a defense team of very experienced attorneys and I hope that is a factor at the end of the day – that you look at the whole picture.”

But it was Baker who spent most of the day on the stand Thursday, his hands clasped and his lips pursed – offering responses which were as specific as he could make them, even if he needed Burgess to repeat questions.

Burgess sought to show Baker didn’t do enough to introduce evidence of Myers denying he killed Behrman or evidence a trio of others once considered suspects may have been responsible.  Deputy prosecutor Bob Cline chalked it up to a calculated series of moves on Baker’s part, asking him at one point “If it’s completely irrelevant, you’ve got to disregard it, right?”

But the day ended before the defense could finish its questioning of Baker.  And since a previous agreement was in place stating he is unable to testify Friday due to personal concerns, the hearing will continue beyond the end of the week.

NOON UPDATE

The lawyers who formerly represented John Myers  appeared in court Wednesday at a hearing seeking the vacation of Myers’ conviction for killing Indiana University student Jill Behrman.

The lawyers are at the center of the case being heard in a Morgan County court.

The morning was dominated by testimony from one of Myers’ former lawyers Patrick Baker, but it started with Judge Thomas Gray calling a television reporter to the stand.

WISH-TV’s Jay Hermacinski testified about his cameraman finding a note on the windshield of the station’s van Wednesday, mentioning others who may have committed the crime of which Myers was convicted seven years ago.

The note was entered into evidence this morning, and the woman who wrote it was barred from the court.

Bakers spent more than two hours on the stand, enduring questions about his suspended law license, whether he wavered in his decision to represent Myers when it became clear he would lose money on the case. He was also questioned on how he became involved in the first place, which was by a phone call that originated from Scholars Inn restaurant in Bloomington just days before Myers was first arraigned.

Baker eventually tried the case alongside his father Hugh Baker, who is expected to be the afternoon’s key witness.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

View all posts by this author »

  • JH

    It is unfortunate that when a case does not go a defendant’s way, he places the blame on the very people who tried to help him rather than accepting responsibility for the actions that got him arrested in the first place. I’ve seen Patrick and Hugh Baker at work- I worked for them as a law student. Both of these men are highly competent and hardworking and they do put their hearts into their work. The fact that someone was convicted for this crime does not mean that his attorney was ineffective; it means the system worked the way it was designed to work.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook