TIPTON COUNTY, Ind. — A Sharpsville man was released from jail Friday prior to his jury trial in 2023, accusing him of the murder of Noe Contreras, 19, in December of 2020.
The shooting happened just after 2 a.m. on December 9, 2020 in the 4200 block of North State Road 19. Police arrived and found a man suffering from gunshot wounds. He was later pronounced dead on the scene.
The victim was identified as 19-year-old Noe Alexander Contreras.
Police spoke to several people at the residence at the time of the shooting, and later arrested Joseph Temple on a preliminary murder charge and he was taken to the Tipton County Jail.
Friday, September 23, 2022, Temple was released from Tipton County Jail without restrictions. His pre-trial date is set for January 13, 2023 and jury trial set for January 31, 2023.
The court entry for the Order Granting Motion for Continuance states as follows:
“The jury trial in this cause is continued and this matter is now set for Final Pre-Trial Conference on 1/13/2023 at 10:00 a.m. and Jury trial on 1/31/2023 at 9:00 a.m. It is further Ordered that the Defendant be released from the Tipton County Jail, as the 10/4/2022 Jury Trial being continued was on the Defendant’s Motion for Speedy Trial. Notice ordered.”
FOX59 reached out to the prosecutor’s office for further comment and explanation and this is what they said:
“Plea negotiations several months ago between defense counsel and the State resulted in an agreement in principle that the case would be disposed of by plea. The victims family was in favor of the agreed resolution. As recently as three and a half weeks before the scheduled trial date on Oct. 4, nothing had changed. Then, on Sept 16, at the FPTC, I was informed by defense counsel that the Defendant would not be entering into the plea, necessitating the State moving to continue the Oct 4 jury trial. The Oct 4 trial setting was a “speedy setting”, made by the defense pursuant to CR4,requiring the Defendant to be tried within 70 days of the date of the motion. Under CR 4, a continuation of the speedy trial requires that the Def be released from custody pending trial. That doesn’t mean his case is dismissed. The jury trial has been rescheduled on 1-31-23. It just means that pending that trial, the Defendant will not be incarcerated, as he has been for the last 22 months. Trying a case of this magnitude is a massive undertaking, especially for a small office, requiring intense planning and preparation in the several weeks leading up to the trial. It was impossible, given the timing of learning there would be no plea, to be adequately prepared to try the case on Oct 4. I’ve spent dozens and dozens of hours working on this case, but when you believe a case is going to be disposed of by plea, in a small office you have no choice but to turn almost all of your time and attention to the dozens and dozens of other open cases you are always prosecuting at any given moment.“