Murder trial pushed back to May

The jury trial for a Loogootee teen charged with murdering a couple who lived near him has been pushed back to the end of May.
At a court hearing on Tuesday, Judge Michael McHaney set the new trial date for Clifford Baker, a 16-year-old who is charged with fatally shooting Mike Mahon and Deb Tish in their home last August. The trial is now set to begin on May 31.
Last Friday, McHaney denied a motion by Baker’s attorneys to suppress statements made by the teen several hours after he allegedly murdered the couple.
Baker’s defense team, which is led by Taylorville attorney Monroe McWard, argued at a February hearing that statements made by Baker during a videotaped interview at Fayette County Hospital should be suppressed, questioning whether the teen and his family understood that they could have a lawyer present during questioning.
During the videotaped interview, which was shown during the February hearing, Baker admitted that he had shot Mahon and Tish, and also that he hit another neighbor while holding a knife.
In his written ruling, McHaney said, “None of the statements made by the defendant, which he now seeks to suppress, were made at a police station or ‘place of detention,’ as defined (in state statutes). Accordingly, the defendant’s motion to suppress statements is denied.”
McHaney did grant a defense motion requesting funds for an adolescent psychiatrist, capping the amount for that expert witness at $10,000.
The judge added that should the fees or costs for that expert exceed $10,000, the defense attorneys would have to file a written motion for additional monies, and a hearing would be held on that motion.
Another pretrial hearing has been set for April 21, at which time McHaney would rule on any pending motions.
At this time, the defense motions include one contesting the constitutionality of the state statute that allows the transfer of cases such as this from juvenile court to adult court without a hearing.
Another defense motion asks that Baker’s trial be moved to another county, but McWard conceded last month that the motion would likely not be argued during the jury selection process.

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