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Tuesday, June 25
The Indiana Daily Student

crime & courts

Behrman's killer to remain in jail

A post-conviction relief filed by John Myers II, convicted of killing Jill Behrman in 2000, has been denied by Morgan Superior Court Judge G. Thomas Gray.

Jill Behrman left her Bloomington house sometime after 9:30 a.m. May 31, 2000, and wasn’t heard from again.

Her remains were found on March 9, 2003, in a wooded area in Morgan County.
Myers was sentenced to 65 years in prison on Dec. 1, 2006, for the murder of Jill Behrman.

On Feb. 2, 2009, Myers filed his first petition alleging he did not receive a fair trial.
A second amended petition was filed Feb. 22, 2013.

The court conducted this new hearing April 23-26 and May 21-23, 2013. The State Public Defender represented Myers at all hearings.

Thirty-nine witnesses testified at the hearings, and 154 exhibits were admitted.
Because this is a post-conviction case, the burden of proof laid with Myers.
He cited many different reasons for filing the petition, namely that his main attorney, Patrick Baker, did not adequately defend him.

Myers also alleges Baker did not pursue the case of Wendy Owings, Alisha Sowders and Uriah Clouse, who were all said to have been involved with the murder, but this was later proved false.

Myers believes these cases should have still been pursued because they provided an alternate theory of Jill Behrman’s murder.

His petition surrounded three main arguments: ineffective assistance of counsel, ineffective assistance of appellate counsel and prosecutorial misconduct.

Gray decided Myers did not meet his burden of proof Nov. 18 and denied his petition, according to the post-conviction relief.

According to the post-conviction relief, “the petitioner has not shown that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the trial would have been different. There is no error that rises to the standard set by Strickland v. Washington, id, for reversal of the jury verdict.

The court ruling was upheld and Gray said Baker presented a fair trial for Myers.
Jill’s mother, Marilyn Behrman, said her initial reaction to the denial of Myers’ petition and the conviction being upheld was relief.

“That’s a good feeling,” she said.

Marilyn Behrman said many of her family members and friends got in touch with her to share their excitement about the denial.

Although she said she assumed the hearing would end this way, she said it’s still a relief it’s finished for now.

“It’s also a relief to know someone who is known to be dangerous to other people is not out there,” she said. “Just the fact that he’s off the streets makes me feel better.”

— Sydney Murray

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