Judge urges death penalty decision in southern Indiana case

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A judge has told a county prosecutor he wants to know by Feb. 20 whether he'll seek the death penalty against the man charged with killing four people in a southern Indiana home.

Bartholomew County Judge Stephen Heimann didn't set a hard deadline for that decision. But the judge said in Tuesday's ruling that unless the death penalty ruled out for 56-year-old Samuel Sallee, he'll have to appoint new defense attorneys certified for such cases.

Sallee's current attorneys have sought a prompt decision so his trial can begin in June for the May 2013 deaths in Waynesville, a small community outside Columbus.

Defense lawyer David Nowak tells The Republic that seeking the death penalty makes little sense since Sallee would never leave prison if convicted.

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