Judge seeks $100,000 for defense in Mauckport murders
Harrison Superior Court Judge Roger Davis is making a case before the Harrison County Council for $100,000 in riverboat revenue to cover the costs of public defenders in two murder and attempted murder cases expected to go to trial in June.
Expenses to date come to $30,000 for public defenders in the trial preparations for two men accused of shooting to death Hobert Pittman 59, and his mother-in-law Myrtle Satterfield, 80, at Mauckport in June 2004. The costs of trial preparations will be added to the public defender fees, which must be paid either from riverboat accounts or the county general fund.
Davis said he would prefer the expense to be paid from riverboat revenue rather than by property taxpayers.
Pittman’s son, Hobert (Albert) Pittman, 25, Corydon, and John Naylor, 22, Frankton, were arrested in Daytona several days after the murders and the attempted murder of Pittman’s stepmother, Linda.
Linda was severely wounded by gunfire as she attempted to flee her secluded residence in the van she had driven home from Satterfield’s farm in Crawford County. She, her husband and mother had gone to the farm earlier to do some work. Her husband had gotten home before she and her mother, who was in a wheelchair. She was killed by gunfire. The body of Linda’s husband was found on the ground outside his residence.
Harrison County Prosecutor Dennis Byrd is seeking life without the possibility of parole.
Davis said trial has been delayed in the two cases several times. Some DNA evidence that had not been processed in time for the last trial dates in January have now been sent to the FBI for analysis, Davis said.
The defense wants those results back as does the prosecution before trial, Davis said. ‘The defendants think there might be something exculpatory there,’ Davis said. ‘We can’t force them to trial, but if they say, ‘we want to go to trial,’ then we have to … but they’re not saying that yet.’
The prosecution is being particularly cautious to make sure the cases don’t get reversed on appeal, the judge said.
Council chair Gary Davis asked the judge if some public defender funds might be reimbursed by the state in cases which carry a possible life sentences, as does Pittman and Naylor, and whether he thinks the $100,000 would be enough to cover the expenses.
‘In all likelihood, no, and, no,’ Davis said, matter-of-factly.
The judge added he would, however, check to see if the state might reimburse some of the costs, but that’s doubtful.
Gary Davis said the request will be advertised from riverboat revenue and acted upon at the council’s business meeting Feb. 13.