INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The conspiracy trial of the reputed leader of a murderous drug gang and his crew promises to be a logistical and procedural headache for the Marion Superior judge overseeing the case and the most complex hearing since the Richmond Hill trials.
Richard Grundy faces multiple counts of conspiracy to commit murder for what investigators claim is his role in leading a crew that brutally enforced discipline among its allies and executed its enemies.
Grundy and eleven members of his alleged organization will stand trial in Judge Mark Stoner’s courtroom, in theory, or a courtroom outside of Marion County presided over by the jurist.
During two pre-trail hearings Wednesday, Judge Stoner contemplated what it will be like to oversee nearly a dozen defendants with as many attorneys, at least three prosecutors, 18 jurors, staff and assistants, sheriff’s deputies, reporters and members of the public including friends and relatives of the accused.
The judge is considering major alterations to his courtroom and procedures including the use of risers to seat the defendants, closed circuit video feeds so that assistants and media can view the proceedings from another location, the utilization of the gallery for defendants and staff and the limitation of the seats made available to the public.
Judge Stoner told attorneys to be ready to begin a seven-week trial no later than late spring of next year.
“I really have no idea what you guys are going to do with (11) cross (examinations),” the judge told attorneys. “We may have to go out of the county.”
Judge Stoner said he will engage in talks with courts in Boone, Hamilton and Johnson counties to consider moving the trial to one of those locations.
Trials for IMPD Officer David Bisard and Richmond Hill co-conspirator Bob Leonard were moved to Fort Wayne while Mark Leonard, another Richmond Hill defendant, was tried in South Bend.
Those cases were moved due to the prevalence of pre-trial publicity, a factor that has not been raised by the defense teams of Grundy and his alleged co-conspirators.
Judge Stoner said that once a trial date is set for early next year, there will be no more continuances as his staff will need five weeks to send questionnaires to more than one hundred prospective jurors.
Several of the defendants remain behind bars awaiting trial, or serving time for other convictions, as prosecutors have seen their cases against Grundy steadily crumble.
Several murder counts against the gang leader have been dismissed due to unreliable witnesses and defense attorneys argue that jailhouse phone calls investigators have relied upon to build their cases are hearsay evidence and should not be inadmissible or do not implicate the defendants or the callers have been misidentified.
“The jury will hold you guys to doing it in an efficient manner,” Judge Stoner warned prosecutors about their anticipated trial management.
The judge has yet to preside over any evidentiary hearings and the first deposition of the lead investigator is not scheduled until September 30th.
The first arrests of the Grundy Crew occurred in late January of 2015 following a police pursuit and shots fired in a northside neighborhood.
In October of last year Prosecutor Terry Curry unveiled the conspiracy counts that ensnared several Grundy associates and relatives.
An uncharged associate, Mack Taylor, was found shot to death in an eastside alley last week as the result of what may have been a failed drug house robbery.