Man convicted of murdering IU coed argues attorney was incompetent

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The man convicted of killing Indiana University coed Jill Behrman in 2000 arrived in a Morgan County courtroom in shackles Tuesday morning to hear his attorneys argue that his original trial lawyer was incompetent.

Behrman 4

Jill Behrman

John Myers is serving a 65 year sentence for killing Behrman, who left home on a bicycle ride on May 31, 2000. Several years later her remains were found in a rural Morgan County area. Behrman suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

Myers was represented at trial by attorney Pat Baker.

His current lawyers argue that Baker improperly solicited Myers inside the Morgan County Jail, misled jurors during the trial and mistakenly told his indigent defendant that he would have to pay for an appeal.

The Indiana Supreme Court suspended Baker’s law license for six months in 2011.

During morning testimony, Eric Behrman said, “I was doing everything I could do as a father to find my daughter,” during the early days of the investigation.

Retired Bloomington Police Detective Marty Deckard took the stand, answering questions about an informant, Wendy Ownings, who claimed at various points to have been present during Behrman’s murder.

Owings’ story was later discredited after investigators drained Monroe County’s Salt Creek where she claimed evidence was disposed.

Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega told Fox 59 News that the defense will attempt to re-try the case and ask questions and flesh out alternative theories that Baker ignored during the original trial.

If Myers’ attorneys convince Judge G. Thomas Gray that their client was misrepresented during trial, they can then petition the Indiana Court of Appeals to order a re-trial or overturn the jury’s verdict.

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