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Indiana U. Murder Trial Appealed To State Supreme Court

This story was written by Emily Gibbons, Indiana Daily Student

Lawyersfor the man convicted of murdering an Inidana University student in 2000 submitted a petition Wednesday to appeal the decision to the Indiana Supreme Court, claiming juror misconduct and constitutional violations.

John R. Myers II was sentenced to 65 years in prison in 2006 after being convicted of the murder of 19-year-old Jill Behrman.

The nationwide search that took place after Behrman failed to return from a morning bike ride came to an end on March 9, 2003, when her body was found in Morgan County. She had been missing for three years.

In the petition, Myers attorneys Patrick and Hugh Baker argue that the jury that convicted Myers was prejudiced by a barrage of pretrial publicity portraying Myers as a bad character. Myers had hoped the trial could be moved to another county to avoid the publicity. Therequest was denied.

Myers believes the denial for a change of venue laid the groundwork for an unfair trial throughout the entire proceedings, the petition states.

The Bakers also argue that jury misconduct compromised Myers right to a fair trial. The Bakers allege that some members of the jury were intoxicated in the evenings during the week of the trial, which the Bakers called abhorrent misconduct.

The state has 20 days to file a response brief, and Myers gets 10 days after that to file a reply, said Kathryn Dolan, Indiana Supreme Court public information officer in an e-mail. The case should be fully briefed within the next month.

The Supreme Court will then decide whether to grant transfer and accept jurisdiction over the appeal or deny transfer, she said.

Myers attorneys filed an appeal Sept. 21, 2007, but the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld his conviction in May.

The transfer and retrial being requested by the Bakers will be decided by the Indiana Supreme Court. Myers lawyers were not available for comment by press time.

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