(UNDATED) – Attorney General Curtis Hill is appealing a recent ruling that ordered the released of John Myers II, who was convicted of killing IU student Jill Behrman.
Behrman disappeared during a bike ride in 2000, and her remains were found in 2003.
The appeal was filed in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, October 30th.
Myers was convicted of killing 19-year-old Behrman in 2006 and sentenced to the maximum sentence 65 years in prison. He is serving that sentence at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.
Behrman disappeared in May 2000 while on a bicycle ride near Bloomington. Hunters found her remains in 2003 in Morgan County, north of Bloomington. She died of a shotgun wound to the back of her head.
Myer tried to challenge the conviction, but it was upheld by both the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court.
In his petition to the court, Myers argued that his counsel was ineffective, that the state presented false evidence and that the state withheld evidence that could have cleared him.
On September 30th, U.S. District Court Judge James R. Sweeney of the Southern District of Indiana said the legal counsel for Myers was ineffective, and he ordered Myers’ release from prison. The Attorney General’s office had 120 days to file the appeal and request a new trial.
“After reviewing the record and the parties’ briefs in detail, the Court concludes that Mr. Myers received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial in violation of his Sixth Amendment rights Most notably, Mr. Myers’s counsel made false statements to the jury during opening arguments, which counsel admitted to the Indiana Supreme Court in a subsequent attorney disciplinary proceeding.”
“Most notably, Mr. Myers’s counsel made false statements to the jury during opening arguments, which counsel admitted to the Indiana Supreme Court in a subsequent attorney disciplinary proceeding. He also failed to object to two significant categories of evidence that should not have been presented to the jury. In the end, these serious errors all but destroyed the defense that trial counsel presented to the jury and tainted the entire trial.”
Patrick Baker was the lead attorney on Myers’ case.
The 147-page ruling conceded – “A new trial will likely come only at considerable cost—to the State, yes, but, more importantly, to the victim’s family and community still wounded by their tragic loss. Such costs do not enter into the constitutional analysis; and yet, the Court cannot help but express its empathy for those who must bear them for the sake of our Constitution and its protections.”