WARSAW — Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed has granted the state’s motion to hold one trial for Thomas Woody, Kyle DeHart and Thomas G. Hursey. The decision was handed down Wednesday, March 2.
All three have two charges in common: murder. The trio have been charged with the murder of Tara Thornburg and Joshua Knisley on Feb. 19, 2015.
An anticipated seven-day jury trial is set to begin April 28, 29, May 2-6.
On Jan. 8 a hearing on the motion or a joinder of defendants was held, with attorneys for each defendant and the prosecutor’s office providing arguments regarding the motion. Briefs were filed in support of the motion on Feb. 2 by the prosecutor’s office. Hursey’s attorney, Anthony Garza, and DeHart’s attorney, Lawrence M. Hansen, both filed their memorandum of law in opposition to the state motion on Feb. 2. No filing was noted by Woody’s attorney, Scott Lennox.
Due to the absence of Reed, Senior Judge Duane Huffer, ruled in February any decision would not be made until the presiding judge had returned. Reed returned to the bench on Tuesday, March 1.
The order granting the motion states:
- Each defendant is accused of the murders of Joshua R. Knisley and Tara Lynn Thornburg on Feb. 19, 2015. Defendants DeHart and Hursey are charged with other crimes related to those murders. The facts alleged in the affidavits of probable cause support the state’s allegations that each defendant’s crimes were closely connected in respect to time, place and occasion.
- Indiana Code 35-34-1-9(b)(3) permits the state to join two or more defendants in the same information, even if conspiracy is not charged and not all of the defendants are charged in each count, if the information alleges the offenses charged: Were part of a common scheme or plan; were so closely connected in respect to time, place and occasion that it would be difficult to separate proof of one charge from proof of others.
- It is within the court’s discretion to determine whether one or more defendants’ cases should be joined for trial. If the defendants could have been properly joined at the charging phase, it is within the court’s discretion to consolidate the defendants’ trials. Because the offenses charged appear to be part of a common scheme or plan and appear to be so closely connected in respect to time, place and occasion that it would be difficult to separate proof of one charge from proof of the others, the court finds that these cases could have been properly joined at the initial charging phase and, therefore, it is appropriate to join these cases for purposes of trial at this time.
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