IU student's convicted killer makes appeal

Jill Behrman went missing in 2000 after going on a bike ride in Monroe County.
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Attorneys and witnesses are reliving a crime that captivated central Indiana for six years.

A southern Indiana judge is hearing testimony in the case of John R. Myers II. He is seeking to appeal his conviction in the 2000 slaying of Indiana University student Jill Behrman.

The Morgan Superior Court judge began hearing Myers' petition for post-conviction relief on Tuesday morning. Myers is serving a 65-year-old sentence for the slaying of the 19-year-old student and Bloomington native.

Behrman vanished during a Bloomington bike ride in May 2000. Her remains were discovered in a remote Morgan County field near Paragon in 2003.

Three years after that, Myers was convicted largely on circumstantial evidence. He is appealing that conviction, claiming his attorney was ineffective and made mistakes during the trial.

In court documents, Myers' attorneys allege five pages of oversights, errors and failings committed by defense attorney Patrick Baker. Baker was later suspended for violations of professional conduct.

Jill Behrman's father Eric was among the first to testify Tuesday. He told the court, "I was doing everything I could as a father to find my daughter."

Prohibited from speaking outside court, the family asked Indiana State Police Trooper Sgt. Curt Durnil to speak for them.

"I think they, like everyone else, want justice," Durnil said.

In court, defense attorneys are trying to cast doubt on the police investigation, put new light on unused evidence and other possible suspects.

Uriah Clouse, who was initially suspected of involvement in the murder, testified he had nothing to do with her death. Clouse testified as part of Myers' petition for post-conviction relief that police harassed him and didn't believe his alibi indicating he wasn't involved in Behrman's death.

Two state public defenders allege Myers' trial attorney disregarded evidence indicating Clouse was in a vehicle that struck Behrman.

The defense is expected to take the rest of the week presenting their case. Prosecutors will argue why they don't believe a new trial is necessary.