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Tuesday, April 23
The Indiana Daily Student

Man convicted of killing Jill Behrman appeals

Attorney accuses jurors of ‘misbehavior’

MARTINSVILLE – An attorney for the man convicted of killing Indiana University student Jill Behrman has filed an appeal arguing that jurors misbehaved and that pretrial publicity tainted the trial.\nThe 75-page brief in support of the appeal also questions whether the judge should have allowed damaging testimony from defendant John Myers II’s grandmother and a\nformer girlfriend. It also questions a forensic pathologist’s opinion that Behrman had been raped, even though there was no evidence of sexual assault.\nAttorney Patrick Baker filed for an appeal with the Indiana Court of Appeals on Sept. 21.\nThe appeal takes Morgan Superior Court Judge Christopher Burnham to task for not granting a change of venue from a community that Baker argued was bent on revenge after Behrman’s disappearance and slaying gripped south central Indiana.\n“From the day that John Myers was arrested for a crime which he did not commit, a public outcry for his conviction has steadily influenced an attitude of unfairness and bias against him,” the appeal said.\nMyers, 31, of Ellettsville, was convicted last year of killing Behrman. The 19-year-old IU freshman had vanished during a morning bike ride in Bloomington in May 2000, and her fate remained a mystery until her remains were found in a remote Morgan County field in April 2003.\nBaker, in his brief, argued the public was influenced “by the media hysteria, which memorialized Ms. Behrman, while demonizing and displaying Mr. Myers as an evil person.” He said the trial should have been moved to a county far from Morgan County.\nMyers’ former girlfriend testified at the trial that he took her to the spot where Behrman’s body was later found. The grandmother testified Myers told her he had done a very bad thing that could send him to jail for life.\nThe jurors’ conduct during the trial included racing in women’s high-heel shoes down a hotel hallway and having alcoholic drinks nightly at dinner.\n“Is this the type of conduct expected from grown adults involved in such an important case, deciding a man’s liberty?” Baker asked.\nThe state has 30 days to respond to Baker’s petition. Then, members of the Indiana Court of Appeals will consider the case and issue a ruling. If they agree with Baker, Myers’ conviction could be set aside and a new trial ordered. If the appeals court denies Baker’s petition, he can seek a reversal from the Indiana Supreme Court.\nMyers is serving a 65-year sentence.

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