HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. — The man awaiting trial for the shooting death of an Elwood Police department officer will spend the time before trial in state custody.
On Friday, a judge approved the state’s request to hold Carl Roy Webb Boards II at the Pendleton Correctional Facility until his trial. While no date for the trial has been set, Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings expects it won’t take place until mid-2024.
Boards faces charges in connection with the shooting death of Elwood police officer Noah Shahnavaz in the early morning hours of July 31. If found guilty of murdering Shahnavaz, he could be put to death.
The request to transfer Boards comes after the Madison County Sheriff says Boards faces a risk of serious bodily injury or death in county jail. In the motion to transfer, the sheriff says the Hamilton County Jail, which is currently housing Boards, cannot maintain the extra cost of housing Boards due to the notoriety of the case.
In particular, the jail is not wanting to provide the extra services, attention, or necessary supervision to guarantee Boards’ or facility staff’s safety.
In the defenses’ response, Boards’ lawyers reluctantly withdrew their objection after saying a corrections officer took the position that jail officials could interfere with access to legal materials.
During a hearing Friday, the Indiana Department of Corrections agreed to the transfer as neither Boards or Shahnavaz has any family working or incarcerated at the Pendleton Correctional Facility. However, they are facing a severe staffing shortage at the jail.
To contend with the defense’s request for more visits, the correctional facility is only doing video and phone visitation. However, they would allow in-person visits if a court order came down.
Noah’s parents, Matt and Laurie Shahnavaz, got to the Madison County Courthouse before the hearing started Friday morning.
”It’s really about seeking justice for Noah, making sure that we show up for him,” Matt said.
Also outside the courtroom were several Elwood Police officers and Elwood Police Chief Jason Brizendine. Matt and Laurie greeted them with handshakes and hugs.
”They’ve been there every step of the way for us and we want to be there every step of the way for them,” Laurie said.
Laurie and Matt said they always considered the Elwood Police Department family to their son, but they became family to them, as well, the day Noah was killed.
”We recently had the six-month mark and almost all of them were texting and calling,” Laurie said. “Making sure we’re okay, so we’re all family now.”
Matt, Laurie, the police chief and six officers were in the courtroom for the hearing.
A few minutes after the family and officers sat down, law enforcement brought Carl Boards II in. He was wearing yellow pants and a redshirt with “Inmate 681” written on the back.
Noah’s parents said it’s tough for them to see Boards and be in the same room as him.
“Even in the morning, when I woke up, my stomach was already not feeling great,” Matt said. “Sleeping was a challenge,” said Laurie.
With jury selection possibly set to start in July of 2024, according to Prosecutor Cummings, Matt and Laurie voiced their support for the work the prosecutor and team are doing.
”Obviously, we’d like to see justice sooner rather than later, but we trust the process,” Matt said. “We’ll follow the process, like Laurie said, we have 100% faith and trust with Madison County Prosecutor.”
With roughly 18 months till that point, the Shahnavaz family said they’re getting through that time by sharing Noah’s story.
”What happened to Noah isn’t the sum total of his life,” Laurie said. “He was a very good person, he did a lot of good for the community and we want to carry that forward so sharing that story and all the good things he did is really important to us.”
Laurie said they recently got a letter from the father of an officer in a nearby department. The writer said Noah and his son had gone to the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy together and Noah had made such a connection with the writer’s son he had introduced Noah to his whole family right after graduation. It’s letters like this that keep Matt and Laurie going.
”Weekly, it seems like maybe even more frequently than that, we hear from people who we didn’t even know existed that have a story to share about Noah,” Laurie said. “So it’s really helping us to get through this really unimaginable tragedy that we have.”
Boards will be transferred to the correctional facility effective Friday. Another hearing is set for May 12.
Eric Graves contributed to this report.