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Court excludes DNA, man set free for murder
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kfran Offline
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Court excludes DNA, man set free for murder

April 16, 2009
TELL CITY — Perry County Prosecutor Robert Collins announced that on April 15, 2009, a Perry County Grand Jury handed down indictments against two cousins for their involvement in the 1997 murder of Deborah Ann Mills-Cioe.

The grand jury indicted Thomas E. Lane, 36, of 7076 Alamo Road, Tell City, and his cousin Thomas D. Lane, 37, of 303 Washington Street, Gentryville, for murder, felony murder, and attempted rape.

Twelve years ago on March 3, 1997, Deborah Mills-Cioe’s body was found near Tobinsport on Highwater Road in Perry County. She was reported missing on Feb. 28, 1997. Deborah died from exsanguination (loss of blood) after receiving a deep cutting wound to the left side of her neck. Her death was ruled a homicide.

In 1997, Indiana State Police investigators were unable to establish enough probable cause to arrest anyone for Deborah’s murder. Leads and additional information on the crime grew cold in the years immediately following her death and a number of the original investigators retired. However, detectives and troopers at the Jasper Post continued to keep Deborah and her family in mind. Throughout the past 12 years, officers continued to explore aspects of Deborah’s murder through witness statements and evidence. In 2008, Indiana State Police investigators and crime lab personnel, utilizing federal grant money to work overtime to investigate “cold” cases, discovered significant leads in the case. The murder was assigned to Detective Chris Cecil, who began reviewing and following up on the leads.

Detective Cecil presented the case to Prosecutor Collins, who requested a grand jury convene to review the evidence. The grand jury convened on April 13. Shortly after the indictments were handed down on Wednesday, Indiana State Police arrested Thomas E. Lane and his cousin Thomas D. Lane without incident. The two cousins were transported to the Perry County Jail where they are being held without bond.

“We would like to thank the Indiana State Police for their on-going dedication in pursuing justice for Deborah. We have been praying for this day for over 12 years and we, as her family, can finally begin to seek closure," her family said in a statement released for the ISP.

Assisting agencies were the Tell City Police Department and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

http://washtimesherald.com/archive/x1155963640






It's the hint of arsenic that gives it that extra kick.
03-05-2011 10:14 PM
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kfran Offline
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RE: Court excludes DNA, man set free for murder

By Vince Luecke
Friday, November 5, 2010 at 11:23 am (Updated: November 8, 10:37 am)
TELL CITY – A Perry County man jailed for 19 months on a charge of murder was released Wednesday after a judge granted a defense motion to exclude DNA evidence from a trial that had been scheduled to start Monday.

However, Judge Lucy Goffinet’s decision to grant a request by special prosecutor Gary Schutte to dismiss the charge against Thomas E. Lane is now in limbo after an Indiana Appeals Court emergency ruling. The appeals court ruled last Monday that local action on the case was to stop, but that order was not relayed to the local circuit court until Thursday, the day after Lane was released.

It was unclear Friday whether the dismissal of the murder charge will be upheld or ruled null and void.

Goffinet ordered Lane released from the county jail after the hearing. He had been held since his arrest in April of last year. He was indicted by a grand jury for the 1997 death of Deborah Cioe. The 21-year-old Tell City woman’s body was found along Highwater Road several days after she disappeared.

At the time of Lane’s arrest, state police said new technology in DNA testing pointed to him as the killer. Also arrested was Lane’s cousin, Thomas D. Lane. He pleaded guilty in February to a charge of assisting a criminal.

Walter Hagedorn, who along with his father, Michael, represent Lane, made an oral request Wednesday that all DNA evidence be excluded from the trial. Wednesday’s hearing was to have addressed pre-trial motions and jury instructions. However, Lane’s defense team was critical of County Prosecutor Robert Collins for what the Hagedorns said were violations of court orders given to the state to share evidence.

Collins, who has not been handling the case since the appointment of a special prosecutor, denied being responsible for the delays and said Thursday the charge should not have been dismissed. He also said Lane should not have been released.

Walter Hagedorn, who presented his argument to Goffinet, said the prosecutor had failed to meet court deadlines and gave the defense team information they needed weeks late. Previously scheduled trial dates have been vacated because of the state’s refusal to share information in a timely fashion, Hagedorn said, and a state-police laboratory had not provided DNA information he said the defense’s own expert would need to check to make sure the state’s testing system was accurate.

“Our expert has been prevented from doing work because the information had not been provided,” he said. “Sitting here today, I have four days to trial and I have no evidence.”

Collins was taken off the case this summer by Goffinet to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest after Collins hired a woman who had worked for the Hagedorns at their Tell City office. That ruling was appealed and is now before the Indiana Court of Appeals. Schutte was appointed by Goffinet to represent the state.

Schutte opposed the motion to exclude DNA evidence, saying more time was needed for the state-police laboratory do the work. He said the delays should not be seen as bad faith by the state and suggested the defense requests for additional testing weren’t foreseen by the state or the lab.

“The ISP state laboratory is undermanned and overworked. They simply need more time to complete a request of this size,” Schutte said.

Hagedorn disagreed, saying the state had more than enough time to get the testing done, especially considering Lane could have demanded a speedy trial. Citing what he said were prosecution delays in handing over autopsy photos and interviews with potential witnesses, he said the court has the ability to exclude evidence when serious violations of the information-sharing rules ordered upon both sides occur.

Goffinet disagreed more time was the answer, saying a defendant is presumed innocent but had been in custody since his arrest. Her view was that the state-police lab should have been able to do the work before trial.

“I have a hard time thinking the ISP would not anticipate the request,” she said.

After Goffinet ruled DNA evidence would be excluded from any trial, Schutte asked the court to dismiss the charge against Lane without prejudice, a legal term that would allow the state to refile the charge at some point in the future.

Without DNA evidence to present to jurors, Schutte predicted the state would not be able to meet its burden of proving Lane guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. “This case was resurrected due to developments in DNA. Apart from that evidence, I find it unlikely that the state could meet its burden of proof,” he told the judge.

Hagedorn asked the court to dismiss the charge with prejudice, preventing the state from filing the same charge.

Goffinet granted Schutte’s motion and ordered Lane freed from jail. She also issued two apologies, one to the relatives of Cioe, and the other to Lane.

“To the victims in this case, I am sorry. To Mr. Lane, for the time you spent in jail, I am sorry,” she said.

Thomas D. Lane is serving a six-year sentence. With Department of Correction credits for good behavior, he could be freed in April 2012.

Collins Says State Met Its Obligations


Collins responded that the state had met its obligations and was not responsible for Lane being released or the charge against him dismissed.

“The Perry County prosecutor’s office was not represented at the Nov. 3, hearing because a special prosecutor had been appointed June 29. Contrary to the claims made by defendant’s counsel, Walter Hagedorn, in his Nov. 3 oral motion to the court, the Perry County prosecutor’s office did not repeatedly violate orders of the court to provide discovery of DNA evidence or fail to meet deadlines nor were the previous trials continued because the Perry County prosecutor’s office refused to share information in a timely fashion,” Collins wrote in a statement.

Collins offered a timeline of motions and filings in the case.

On April 20, 2009, the court assigned the first trial for Sept. 21, 2009. On April 28, 2009, counsel for defendant filed a motion for speedy trial, which Lane withdrew. On Sept. 4, 2009, the defense filed a motion to continue the Sept. 21, 2009, trial, which the court granted. The court reset the trial for March 1, 2010. Collins said Lane waived his Criminal Rule 4 right to be brought to trial within six months.

On Feb. 1, Lane filed a motion to continue the March 1, 2010, trial, which the court granted. The court reset the trial for Aug. 2, 2010.

Schutte requested to continue the trial because of his recent appointment to the case. The court granted the request and reset the trial for Nov. 8.
“None of these continuances were caused by the Perry County prosecutor’s office nor were they caused because the Perry County prosecutor’s office refused to share information in a timely fashion,” Collins wrote.

On Sept. 4, 2009, counsel for the defendant filed a motion to set discovery deadlines, which Collins said the court denied Dec. 17 of the same year.

“The Perry County prosecutor’s office did not fail to meet deadlines, especially a deadline to produce DNA evidence for the trial set for Nov. 8. On Jan. 21, 2010, counsel for defendant filed a motion to retain DNA expert, which the court granted. On April 30, 2010, the court suppressed the original DNA evidence and in June ordered new DNA testing. On June 29, the court appointed a special prosecutor to the case.

On Sept. 21, the Indiana attorney general filed an interlocutory appeal on the appointment of the special prosecutor. On Oct. 5, the defendant filed a motion for discovery of DNA evidence. On Oct. 22, the Indiana Court of Appeals accepted jurisdiction of the interlocutory appeal. Judge Lucy Goffinet said the court did not order a stay upon accepting jurisdiction. On Oct. 26 Schutte filed a motion to stay the proceedings in the Perry Circuit Court, which the court denied.

On Oct. 27, the Indiana attorney general filed an emergency motion for stay of proceedings with the Indiana Court of Appeals because the Perry Circuit Court still had the trial set for Nov. 8, Collins wrote. On Oct. 29, Lane’s defense filed a response to the attorney general’s emergency stay. On Nov. 1, the Indiana Court of Appeals granted the stay, which Collins said should have halted all proceedings and vacated the Nov. 8, trial and other proceedings until further order of the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Judge Lucy Goffinet said the order to stay proceedings was made Monday but was not e-mailed to the court until Thursday. Offices were closed Tuesday for Election Day. The News has seen a copy of the e-mail which was sent just after noon Thursday. Goffinet said all parties in the case had checked to see if any stay had been issued just before Wednesday’s hearing. She said there was none.

She issued a notice Wednesday to the appeals court about the dismissal and a second Thursday after receiving the notice of the stay.

The decision on what happens now in the case rests with the appeals court. Because it had already issued a stay, the court could void Goffinet’s dismissal of the murder charge. It could also continue its plans to hear the interloculatory appeal over whether Collins should have been removed from the case or ask that both sides present arguments on how to proceed.

Attempts to contact Lane through family members were not successful.

http://www.perrycountynews.com/content/u...missed-now






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03-05-2011 10:16 PM
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kfran Offline
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RE: Court excludes DNA, man set free for murder

By VINCE LUECKE, Editor

TELL CITY – A man once charged with murder will remain free after the Indiana Court of Appeals granted a motion to dismiss an appeal filed in his case, which was itself dismissed in November.

The court of appeals granted the dismissal in the case against Thomas E. Lane, who was freed in November after the state requested the charge of murder filed against him be dropped. Lane had been jailed for 18 months in the 1997 death of Deborah Cioe.

The appeal centered on two issues, a ruling by Judge Lucy Goffinet to remove then Prosecutor Robert Collins from the case to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. During a pretrial hearing, Lane’s attorneys, Michael and Walter Hagedorn, argued that Collins’ employment of a woman who used to work in Hagedorn’s office threatened Lane’s defense as the case headed to trial.

Gary Schutte of Vanderburgh County was appointed a special prosecutor in the case. At the same time, the state attorney general’s office sought to have the court of appeals review Goffinet’s decision.

While that process was under way, Goffinet ruled that DNA evidence be excluded from the trial due to delays in having items of evidence tested. The Hagedorns argued the state’s delay in meeting deadlines kept them from conducting their own tests.

Schutte said the delays were due to a backlog of cases in an Indiana State Police laboratory. When Goffinet ordered DNA evidence excluded, Schutte requested the charge be dismissed. Goffinet granted the motion and ordered Lane freed.

The appellate court’s dismissal also affirms the court’s pretrial ruling on evidence.

The dismissal was granted with prejudice, a legal term meaning those aspects of the case are now permanently closed.

Lane was indicted in April 2009 by a grand jury for causing Cioe death.

The 21-year-old Tell City woman’s body was found along Highwater Road several days after she disappeared.

Goffinet’s dismissal kept open the possibility that charges could be refiled against Lane. Unbeknownst to the circuit court and attorneys, the Court of Appeals had ordered a stay in proceedings until judges could review the motions before it.

But news of that ruling never reached the local court or attorneys until after the hearing in which the murder charge was dismissed.

http://www.perrycountynews.com/content/a...-dismissal






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03-05-2011 10:17 PM
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kfran Offline
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RE: Court excludes DNA, man set free for murder

As Paul Harvey once said, "If you want to get away w/murder, go to Perry County."

So sad.






It's the hint of arsenic that gives it that extra kick.
03-05-2011 10:22 PM
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Lady Cop Away
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RE: Court excludes DNA, man set free for murder

photos of victim and the accused cousins in this 2009 case.


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.jpg  thomasdlane_t160.JPG (Size: 5.47 KB / Downloads: 30)






03-05-2011 10:24 PM
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kfran Offline
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RE: Court excludes DNA, man set free for murder

"Goffinet’s dismissal kept open the possibility that charges could be refiled against Lane. Unbeknownst to the circuit court and attorneys, the Court of Appeals had ordered a stay in proceedings until judges could review the motions before it.

But news of that ruling never reached the local court or attorneys until after the hearing in which the murder charge was dismissed."

I think it's sad that there was so much lag in communication between courts & attorneys which helped one of the murderers get out of jail. The older cousin is still in prison as far as I know.






It's the hint of arsenic that gives it that extra kick.
03-05-2011 10:45 PM
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Lilbitt4479
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RE: Court excludes DNA, man set free for murder

Hello, my name is Miranda and I wanted to share with you all. Deborah Cioes is my sister, I wanna thank the whole tell city pd, and investigaters, DNA labs all that took the time and careness of finding whom did this to her and standing for her.....We appreciate all of the hard work & determination!!! ????





02-09-2017 10:51 PM
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