Indiana appeals vacated conviction in IU student’s killing

Indiana

John Myers II (Photo courtesy of CBS4)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that ordered the release of a man convicted in the 2000 killing of an Indiana University student.

Attorney General Curtis Hill’s office filed a notice of intent Wednesday to appeal the judge’s September ruling vacating John Myers II’s murder conviction.

The judge found that Myers’ trial attorney was so ineffective his Sixth Amendment rights were violated.

The now 43-year-old Myers was convicted in 2006 in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Jill Behrman and sentenced to 65 years. Behrman vanished in May 2000 after leaving her Bloomington home for a bike ride. Hunters found her remains in 2003.

Hill said in a statement Wednesday that “convicted murderers should stay in prison.”

“In this case, we’re talking about someone who shot to death a 19-year-old woman, robbing her of a bright future and separating her forever, as far as this earthly life is concerned, from friends and family who loved and cherished her,” said Hill.

He added: “This case, then, is not primarily about whether John Myers is guilty; rather, it is about whether his attorney did a competent job at the 2006 trial. We believe the attorney met the appropriate threshold of competence. There is a saying in the tradition of the law that criminal defendants are entitled to a fair trial but not a perfect one. John Myers’ trial was fair, and the jury was correct to find him guilty of this terrible crime, which shocked the conscience of an entire state.”

Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega tells The Herald-Times he expects it will be months before the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Court of Appeals rules on the matter.

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