A judge's decision to dismiss criminal charges against a Long Beach man who fatally shot his wife could be challenged by the Indiana Attorney General's Office.
A charge of voluntary manslaughter was dismissed June 9 against John Larkin, who could have faced an up to 50 year prison sentence for the December of 2012 fatal shooting.
LaPorte County Prosecutor John Espar said the special prosecutor assigned to the criminal case will decide whether to approach the Indiana Attorney General's Office, which would make the final decision on any request for an appeal.
"My hope is that the case and the decision of the judge gets reviewed and duly considered for an appeal so that no one accused of a crime as serious as what John Larkin is facing sees the charge dismissed on a technicality," Espar said.
In his ruling, Patrick Blankenship, a judge from Pulaski County presiding over the case, ruled Larkin could not have received a fair trial due to several rights violations by the police during the investigation.
Police continued questioning Larkin about what transpired despite his request to have a lawyer present, according to the violations cited by the judge, who also ruled further conversations Larkin had with police and later his attorney were illegally recorded.
Blankenship also found that further violations occurred when copies of those illegally obtained and recorded talks were made and disseminated for use as evidence.
Evidence tampering by detectives from both Michigan City and Long Beach was also cited by the judge, who felt any testimony offered from those investigators at trial would be soiled.
Larkin's attorney, Michael Ettinger, said any chance of having the case reinstated on appeal was slim especially based on the judge's findings of police misconduct.
Stacey Larkin, 41, was shot twice in the chest in December of 2012 inside the couple's home in the 2900 block of Lothair Way.
Ettinger said his client is not denying he shot her, but claims she had a gun when he confronted her about difficulties she was having about substance abuse and the same gun went off during a struggle between the couple.
Espar said he made the request for a special prosecutor and judge at the recommendation of the Indiana Court of Appeals due to circumstances in the case that developed prior to him taking office to avoid any appearance of impropriety.