Attorney General Curtis issued the following statement on his decision to appeal a federal court’s order to release the man convicted of the 2000 murder of Indiana University freshman Jill Behrman:
“Convicted murderers should stay in prison.
“In this case, we’re talking about someone who shot to death a 19-year-old woman, robbing her of a bright future and separating her forever, as far as this earthly life is concerned, from friends and family who loved and cherished her.
“We’re talking about someone sentenced to 65 years, whose conviction was upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
“Now, 13 years after the initial conviction, a federal district court has decided that John Robert Myers II should be released from prison on the grounds that he received inadequate service from his own legal counsel.
“This case, then, is not primarily about whether John Myers is guilty; rather, it is about whether his attorney did a competent job at the 2006 trial. We believe the attorney met the appropriate threshold of competence.
“There is a saying in the tradition of the law that criminal defendants are entitled to a fair trial but not a perfect one. John Myers’ trial was fair, and the jury was correct to find him guilty of this terrible crime, which shocked the conscience of an entire state.
“While we respect the federal judge’s order, we believe that it is wrong as a matter of law and should not be the final word in this important case. Federal law allows for an appellate court to take a fresh look at this case, and we look forward to proving on appeal that John Myers’ conviction is sound.”