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Attorney General to appeal court's decision to release man convicted of killing IU student

John Myers.JPG
Posted at 1:07 PM, Oct 11, 2019

MORGAN COUNTY — The Indiana Attorney General's Office is appealing a federal court's decision to release a man convicted of killing an IU student back in 2000.

In the ruling handed down on September 30 by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, the court ruled that John Myers received "ineffective assistance of counsel at trial in violation of his Sixth Amendment rights."

Myers was convicted in the murder of Jill Behrman, 19, in Morgan County in October, 2006, following a 12-day jury trial. He was sentenced to 65 years in prison.

READ | Court orders man convicted in IU student's 2000 murder to be released from prison

The ruling means Myers must be released from prison unless the Morgan County Prosecutor's Office decides to retry him within 120 days.

Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega says his office received a call Thursday saying they planned to appeal the Federal District Court's decision to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"This puts our decision on hold, and if that appeal is successful, John Myers' murder conviction will stand," Sonnega said.

Behrman disappeared in May 2000 after leaving her Bloomington home to go for a bike ride. Her remains were found three years later.

Jill Behrman.JPG

The ruling to release Myers states that his attorney at the time made false statements to the jury during opening arguments, which that attorney later admitted to in a disciplinary hearing. The ruling also claims that Myers' attorney failed to object to "two significant categories of evidence that should not have been presented to the jury."

"In the end, these serious errors all but destroyed the defense that trial counsel presented to the jury and tainted the entire trial," the ruling read.

RTV6 has reached out to the Attorney General's Office for a statement Friday afternoon but has not yet received a response.