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Judge looks for 'realistic' trial date

Court waits for DNA evidence in murder case

April 30, 2014 | 10:39 AM

Two men accused of the murder of a Greenville couple were in Harrison Superior Court Friday afternoon for status update hearings.

Kevin (Drew) Schuler and Austin Scott, who are accused in last year's stabbing and beating deaths of Asenath (Senie) Arnold and Gary Henderson, were joined by their attorneys in separate hearings, with both capping with the announcement that there would be an inspection of the crime scene by the defense attorneys and the State on May 16.

The first hearing, for Schuler, lasted 38 minutes and included both his mother, Toni, and the head nurse at the Harrison County Jail, Michael Gregory, taking to the stand.

Schuler, sporting a narrow beard and a thicker head of hair than when he was last seen publicly, mouthed "I love you" to his family as he was escorted into the courtroom at 10:21 a.m.

Superior Judge Roger D. Davis told Schuler's attorney, Eric Weitzel, that he was hoping the hearing would be a chance to work toward setting a realistic trial date.

After Harrison County Prosecutor J. Otto Schalk said that the Indiana State Police Crime Lab was going to have DNA results within the month, Weitzel told the court that he believed it was "appalling" that the case began last August and four months into 2014 the DNA results are not yet available.

Davis said the area of testing was ISP's responsibility and asked if Weitzel had any other motions.

Weitzel said Schuler had been prescribed the anti-depressant drug Paxil prior to his incarceration and that the Harrison County Jail was not providing that medication to him.

Gregory, who has been employed at the jail since January 2012, said the jail's doctor evaluated Schuler and said he did not believe Schuler was in need of taking Paxil.

Weitzel said Schuler needed his medication so he could coherently and clearly think through what was happening in the case.

Weitzel asked Gregory if the doctor knew that Schuler was bi-polar, and Gregory said he didn't know, adding only that, in addition to meeting with Schuler, the doctor reviewed Schuler's medical file and the medication was not warranted.

Gregory said he asked for Schuler's medical records from Wellstone and was under the assumption the facility sent everything they had. Gregory also said that, when Schuler first came to the jail, he took ibuprofen which would cause the defendant's stomach to hurt. Gregory said that Schuler was no longer allowed to take ibuprofen because he was purchasing the pain relief medicine and hoarding it.

"(It was) to the point he could potentially injure himself," Gregory said. "He's not allowed to have them anymore."

Schuler's mother then took the stand and was asked about her son's medication.

She said he'd been treated at Wellstone two or three times and didn't remember which physician made the determination that her son was bi-polar and that he should be placed on Paxil.

Drew Schuler had received a 30-day supply of Paxil, which was to be taken during the day, and Seroquel, which was to be taken at night. She said she made sure her son took the medication each day, standing with him as he took it.

Toni Schuler went on to say that her son had a follow-up visit scheduled with a psychiatrist, and still had a few pills left in the bottle, when her son was arrested.

Davis asked Gregory if he could check with Wellstone to make sure the jail's doctor had received all of Schuler's medical files from Wellstone and review whether or not the defendant needed the medication.

Shortly after Schuler's hearing ended, Scott's began.

Scott, looking thinner and also growing a beard, was led into the courtroom, where two nearby female family members said something out loud to him, then he puckered a kiss to his family.

Davis went over several similar items in the eight-minute hearing in regard to wanting to get a firm date for a trial and other deadlines set. He also notified Scott's counsel, Amie Newlon and Christopher Sturgeon, of the May 16 date to review the crime scene.

As Scott was led out of court, as has been done at every hearing, one of his female family members shouted to him, "I love you, Austin."

Twitter: @_alanstewart

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