INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Court of Appeals sided with a Long Beach man this week in regards to his claims that he can not receive a fair trial in the 2012 shooting of his wife.
The state now has 30 days to decide whether to challenge the decision before the Indiana Supreme Court.
The appeals court on Wednesday voted 2 to 1 in favor of claims by John Larkin, who was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the 2012 fatal shooting of his wife, Stacey, 41, inside their Long Beach home.
Larkin never denied shooting her, but claimed she had a gun when he confronted her about her substance abuse and that the gun went off during a struggle.
In 2016, the case was dismissed by Patrick Blankenship, a special judge from Pulaski County, who agreed with Larkin that his rights had been violated during the investigation and that would prevent him from having a fair trial.
Among the violations cited by the special judge were that conversations between Larkin and his attorney had been recorded and processed for use as evidence and that police, early in the investigation, continued to question him despite turning down his request for legal counsel.
Blankenship also cited evidence tampering by detectives from Michigan City and Long Beach and felt any testimony offered from those investigators would be soiled.
The appellate judges cited mistakes, including conflicts of interest.
"Although the trial court did not enter specific findings as to whether the misconduct was done deliberately or in bad faith or whether substantial prejudice resulted, it is clear to us the several acts of misconduct were done, at the very least, in bad faith and such acts severely prejudiced Larkin to the extent he could not receive a fair trial," the appellate court stated.