911 calls missing in 2017 murder case in Anderson

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ANDERSON, Ind. – There is missing evidence in a murder trial in Anderson. Defense attorney Jeff Lockwood tried to get the 911 calls about a shooting last year and then he found out they don’t exist anymore.

Police arrested 30-year-old James Stewart in 2017 and charged him with murder. Investigators believe Stewart shot and killed 25-year-old Montez McCloud in the 1700 block of Jefferson Street.

Stewart's trial is supposed to start next month. Lockwood wanted to see if the 911 tapes would help his case but he said the Anderson Police Department told him they lost them.

"That just almost flabbergasted me that anybody would be that careless in a murder case," Lockwood said.

According to Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings, calls were kept for one year. Cummings claimed dispatch didn’t know that and the detective didn’t get them in time.

"We have a fairly new dispatch center and I think that is part of the confusion," he said.

Cummings was not too worried about the missing calls. He said there were a number of eye witnesses and video of the murder to support his case.

"People make mistakes and the truth is the city of Anderson has a lot of these serious crimes and not nearly enough detectives to work all of them," said Cummings.

The defense team still felt the mistake was inexcusable for a murder trial.

"We are going to have to find out and find out what we are going to do about it," Lockwood said.

Lockwood hopes the court will give them something that will correct this problem. As for other cases, Madison County 911 said due to an error in the system, 911 calls made from mid-2015 to mid-2018 were kept for only one year. The director said this setting was corrected earlier this year.

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