INDIANAPOLIS — Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears sat down to discuss the issue of protective orders for domestic violence victims and why Malik Halfacre, who now faces four murder charges for his alleged role in a March 13 quadruple homicide, previously got a plea agreement for shooting a friend multiple times.
Halfacre is accused of committing the crime because he wanted a portion of his girlfriend's stimulus check. He had a history of domestic violence with his girlfriend, who survived the shooting and had a protective order against him since October.
Rafael Sanchez: "What is the power of the protective order? This survivor did all the things she could do. Did it fail her?"
Ryan Mears: "I don't know that it failed her. I think a lot of times, the protective order, is an important first step. Standing up and trying to break the cycle of violence and let authorities know, 'Hey, this is an issue and this problem and this relationship is not healthy." The one thing I would encourage people on protective orders, if you know someone is subject to protective order, it is incredibly important for everyone to know it's a crime for those individuals to talk to one another. It's a crime for the individuals to be in the same place.
"A lot of times when people hear "protective order," they are like, "I don't want to see it. I don't care." That doesn't get you out of a protective order. Do you have knowledge that it existed? Were you aware that it was there? Service can come in many forms — a judge telling you, it can come from the victim informing you, it can come from a law enforcement official."
Mears said his office will never get involved in victim-blaming, especially when leaving an abuser is complicated. He said the survivor plans to help prosecute Halfacre in the quadruple homicide case. She has yet to decide whether she will support the death penalty against him, Mears said.
In 2017, Halfacre was arrested on charges of shooting a man multiple times. Some argue he never should have received a plea deal in the case, but people refusing to cooperate derailed the case.
Halfacre received a 90-day sentence with probation, rather than serving one year.
Mears discussed if more could have been done to keep Halfacre behind bars and away from the woman he is accused of abusing.
Rafael Sanchez: "Mr. Halfacre did have a previous record which demonstrated some violence. Did the system work? Did it work in this case?"
Ryan Mears: "When we look at the facts, we have to play the hand we are dealt. In this case, the deputy prosecutor, she tracked down the victim and the witness. She hand serviced then, meaning she gave them subpoenas, 'I need you to come to court and I need you to tell me what happened.' When she met with them, they were not interested in participating in the process. She gave them a subpoena. They had service. This is where you need to be, the date and time that happened on more than occasion. It actually happened two or three times. Every single time they did not attend the court hearing as required by the judge. As a consequence, the judge excluded the testimony.
"We will take on challenges and we may not get conviction on the lead charge, but it doesn't mean it it wasn't the right decision to move forward with criminal prosecution."
Watch the videos in the player above for more of the interview.
Domestic violence resources
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, there are organizations in Central Indiana that can help:
- Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-332-7385
- Crisis and Suicide Intervention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); 1-800-787-3224
- National Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
- Coburn Place: (317) 923-5750 or text to (317) 864-0832
- Julian Center: (317) 920-9320
- Beacon of Hope Crisis Center: (317) 731-6140
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