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John Myers Hearing Finishes; Decision Possible By Year’s End

Both sides say they think the lawyering done in John Myers' second trial was better than the first one, and the judge says he has an idea how he'll rule.

morgan county courthouse

Photo: Stan Jastrzebski/WFIU News

The Morgan County Courthouse saw the last of seven days of testimony in John Myers' post-conviction relief hearing Thursday.

What was to be a four-day hearing on the fate of John Myers conviction in the murder of IU student Jill Behrman ended its seventh day Thursday, but with much deliberation to follow.  Much of the day was procedural – making sure each piece of evidence was properly catalogued so judge Thomas Gray knew what he can and can’t consider – even though the judge ended the day telling the court he already has an idea how he’ll rule.

When court was adjourned, the Myers family shared an emotional goodbye, with the defendant’s mother Jodie breaking into tears in the courtroom as her son was to be led away.  Jodie Myers says she thinks her son’s lawyers presented enough evidence to convince the judge to order a second trial.

“I believe they got in everything they needed to get in,” she says.

But she also says an apology which came from her son’s former lawyer Patrick Baker after he left the witness stand Tuesday didn’t go far enough.

“As a man he has a moral and responsible obligation to own up to that. And I believe that his apology should have come on the stand under record and not as a grandiose gesture afterwards.”

Prosecutors Bob Cline and Steve Sonnega took just four minutes to dispense with their business Thursday, and didn’t call any witnesses.  Cline says that’s because they already felt the judge would side with them.

“Well, we wouldn’t have closed without presenting any evidence if we thought it was otherwise,” Cline says.

By law, Judge Gray has 90 days to issue a verdict once he has all the necessary materials in front of him.  Lawyers must get him their briefs by Sept. 1 and will have a conference about a month-and-a-half later.  Cline says a ruling could be issued by the end of the calendar year.

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.

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