2 men face charges in Lake Monroe incident

Indianapolis Area Crime

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Monroe County prosecutors have issued warrants for two men involved in the July 4th incident at Lake Monroe.

According to prosecutors, Sean Purdy and Jerry Cox face felony charges in connection with the confrontation of two groups of people in Monroe County over the Fourth of July weekend.

After a review of the investigation by INDR Law Enforcement, Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Erika Oliphant said her office believes the charges are supported by probable cause and that admissible evidence will be sufficient to support conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.

Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Erika Oliphant requested warrants Friday for their arrest, alleging the following criminal offenses:

Sean M. Purdy is alleged to have committed Criminal Confinement, a Level 5 felony; Battery Resulting in Moderate Bodily Injury, a Level 6 felony; and Intimidation, a Level 6 felony.

Jerry Edward Cox II is alleged to have committed Aiding, Inducing or Causing Criminal Confinement, a Level 5 felony; Battery Resulting in Moderate Bodily Injury, a Level 6 felony; Intimidation, a Class A misdemeanor; Battery, a Class B misdemeanor; and Battery, a Class B misdemeanor.

“We have been watched by the eyes of the multitude and it is important that we send out a message loud and clear that this type of behavior can no longer be tolerated,” said Booker on Friday.

The alleged incident was on camera by several groups and a Facebook post about the confrontation has gone viral. Vauhxx Booker wrote in the Facebook post that the people in the video threatened him with a noose and said some other “choice slurs.”

A probable cause affadavit says Booker and his friends were camping on the Hoosier National Forest property. According to court documents, a member of his party told Booker he heard a group yelling “White Power”. That is when Booker decided to walk onto the property owned by family of Purdy’s girlfriend to let them know there were more people coming to his camping area and to not yell at them.

Purdy’s attorney claims this was the second time Purdy’s group came into contact with Booker. During a press conference on Monday, his attorney said Booker came onto private property and Purdy took Booker to the property line and felt the situation had been resolved.

According to an investigative report by DNR, Purdy said Booker was not friendly to him during that encounter and explained they did not like his hat. Purdy described his hat as a cowboy hat with a confederate flag on it.

Purdy claims Booker returned hours later and threatened them, claiming to be a County Commissioner. Purdy’s attorney said his client stepped in between his girlfriend and Booker after Booker got in the face of his girlfriend.

According to Purdy’s attorney, Booker punched Purdy multiple time before restraining him against a tree. They said Booker’s claim of being attacked and dragged to the tree is not true. Purdy’s attorney said his Mr. Booker was restrained and not beaten.

“During the time that Mr. Booker was being attacked by all three men that indeed he was trying to protect himself,” said Booker’s attorney, Katharine Liell.

Court records say someone camping with Booker told DNR Booker never raised his voice and he was not being confrontational. A probable cause affadavit also says another friend heard Purdy say “go get a noose”

Purdy has denied saying this.

Jerry Cox (left) and Sean Purdy (right)

In another video believed to be filmed by Booker, you can hear Jerry Cox use offensive language towards him. Court documents show Cox claims Booker punched him and then he punched Booker back.

The probable cause affadavit issued by an Indiana Conservation Officer says Booker did not make any accusation during his initial statement that he had been choked or that he heard the word rope, noose, or lynch. Court documents say a member of Booker’s group said he heard someone yell “grab a noose” and then Booker agreed he heard the same.

“Clearly in the trauma of the moment, Mr. Booker received a concussion when he was pinned against the tree and when he was immediately asked what was said, he does not recall whether he told them about rope or nurse,” said Liel.

On July 7 Booker’s attorney announced the the FBI had opened a hate crime investigation into the case.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources sent its investigation report to the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office Wednesday, indicating potential crimes committed by four people, including Booker. The Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office did not file charges against Booker on Friday.

Sean Purdy’s attorney also released a statement, saying they welcome a trial to expose “false and wrongful accusations.”

We are obviously disappointed with the first-term Monroe County prosecutor’s
evaluation of this case and her unfortunate decision to charge Sean Purdy while
choosing not to file criminal charges against his trespassing assailant. It appears
entire portions of an exhaustive law enforcement investigation (including
physical evidence and credible eyewitness testimony) were ignored in reaching
that decision. Legitimate and evidence-based charging recommendations by law
enforcement officers also went ignored. That is troubling.

Indiana law allows citizens to make arrests of people punching other people on
private property, and to use reasonable force in doing so. Indiana also has a
broad self-defense statute. Perhaps the accuser’s public pressure campaign
waged by his lawyer and publicist had more influence than we had hoped.

Fortunately, the facts of July 4, 2020 have been preserved and the truth exposed
to some extent. Sean must now carry his innocence into the courtroom and fight
for his exoneration. We would welcome a jury trial next week so the stigma of
false and wrongful accusations can be exposed and repudiated sooner rather
than later. A citizen jury won’t be clouded by politics

The Criminal Defense Team of Baldwin Perry and Kamish, P.C.

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