Murder trial of Joshua Risinger underway in Washington County

SALEM – The second murder trial for Joshua Risinger got underway this week in Washington Circuit Court. The jury is composed of Orange County residents and is being sequestered.

Joshua Risinger

The jury began hearing testimony on Tuesday morning.

Judge Larry Medlock is presiding.

Washington County Prosecutor Dustin Houchin is presenting the case for the state and Attorney Ethan Bartanen is defending Risinger.

 In December 2019, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the murder conviction of 31-year-old Joshua Risinger, who was found guilty of intentionally setting fire to his own trailer in order to kill 62-year-old Jeffrey Givan, in March 2017. Givan was disabled and unable to get out of the burning trailer.

Police say Risinger invited 62-year-old Givan, inside his Salem trailer and later lit his home on fire. Firefighters found Givan’s body in the burned home.

In January 2019, Risinger was found guilty but mentally ill and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

The Court of Appeals ruled Risinger had his Miranda rights violated after police continued to ask questions after Risinger told them multiple times over the course of the interviews he didn’t want to talk anymore. Nonetheless, Risinger continued to answer questions and talk with police. Video footage of those interviews were shown in court.

The Appeals Court ruled Risinger’s statement was “an unequivocal invocation of his right to remain silent pursuant to Miranda, and the detectives’ continuation of questioning thereafter was a failure to scrupulously honor that right,” according to the Dec. 9 decision.