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Defendant Accuses Indiana Prosecutors Of Eavesdropping On Discussion With Attorneys

CHICAGO (STMW) -- A North Shore native charged with his wife's voluntary manslaughter in Indiana has filed a federal lawsuit against authorities there.

John B. Larkin, 49, was criminally charged after his wife, Stacey Larkin, was shot to death in December 2012 at the couple's home in Long Beach, Ind. She died of multiple gunshot wounds, officials said.

Earlier this year, Larkin accused police and prosecutors of eavesdropping on a constitutionally protected discussion between Larkin and his former lawyers. A judge later shot down Larkin's request to throw out the charge pending against him because of the recording.

But in his new lawsuit, Larkin alleges LaPorte County's elected prosecutor, Robert Szilagyi, was among those who listened to it.

Larkin's complaint, filed Wednesday by Chicago-based attorney Gregory Kulis, accuses police and prosecutors of false arrest and due process violations. It names Long Beach, Michigan City, LaPorte County and its prosecutor's office as defendants, along with Szilagyi, a deputy prosecutor and four police officers.

Szilagyi did not immediately return a call seeking comment, nor did representatives of Long Beach or Michigan City. Shaw Friedman, an attorney for LaPorte County, said the county "has no control, direction or authority" over the prosecutor's office.

In the lawsuit, Larkin said his wife attacked him and was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when she was shot. He said there was no probable cause for his arrest, and he said an officer continued to question him even after he invoked his right to an attorney.

Larkin also pointed to the alleged eavesdropping as a violation of his right to a fair trial.

Two days after his wife's death, Larkin agreed to a recorded interview with police at the LaPorte County jail, records show. At one point, the authorities took a break and left Larkin in the room with his two defense attorneys, shutting the door behind them. But unknown to Larkin and his lawyers, the recording continued. A prosecutor later listened to the recording, records show.

But a judge ruled that recording did not give law enforcement an unfair advantage.

Similar allegations were leveled at LaPorte County prosecutors in a separate murder case earlier this year.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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