GREENFIELD — The attorney representing an Indianapolis man accused of murder has asked a judge to release his client from jail, citing a state law that suggests he’s being wrongfully held before trial.
Damian Coleman, 40, of Indianapolis is accused of killing a McCordsville native whose body was later found along a rural county road, according to investigators. He has been held in the Hancock County Jail without bond for nine months, records show.
Now, Coleman’s attorney, Randy Sorrell of Fortville, has petitioned the court to release Coleman from jail, saying prosecutors have taken too long to bring the case to trial, and state law permits his freedom.
Indiana law states that no defendant shall be held in jail without a trial for more than six months from the time of the arrest or criminal charges being filed, though there are several exceptions to the rule.
Defendants can be held for longer than six months if the delay was a defendant’s request, due to a defendant’s actions or caused by an over-booked court docket, according to state law.
Coleman was arrested in March amid accusations he plotted with another man to rob and kill 55-year-old Shannon Kitchens of McCordsville during a drug deal, according to court documents.
Investigators said they believe Kitchens was shot on March 1 while trying to purchase cocaine from Coleman, according to police reports. Kitchens’ body was dumped along a rural road in McCordsville after he died and was found later that day.
Coleman faces two counts of murder; a Level 3 felony count of attempt to commit robbery while armed; a Level 3 felony count of conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in bodily injury; a Level 3 felony count of attempt to deal cocaine; and a Level 3 felony count of conspiracy to deal cocaine.
Sorrell, who declined a request from the Daily Reporter for comment, filed a motion recently that lays out a timeline of Coleman’s case and gives examples of each time the trial was rescheduled to a later date.
In the paperwork, Sorrell says the trial has been rescheduled three times, once due to an agreement by both sides of the case and twice after requests from prosecutors, according to court documents.
Coleman first appeared in court on March 18, at which time a trial date was set for Aug. 9, records show.
On June 27, the trial date was bumped to Oct. 11 after prosecutors and Coleman’s defense team agreed to move the date, records show.
But in early October, the trial date was rescheduled a second time to Dec. 13; and in early December, it was rescheduled a third time to Jan. 24, both due to requests by prosecutors, records show.
When the latest rescheduling occurred, “the defendant was not given a prior opportunity to voice an objection,” Sorrell claims in the motion.
He has asked Hancock Circuit Court Judge Richard Culver to allow for Coleman to be released until his trial date on Jan. 24.
Culver has not yet ruled on the motion, records show.
Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said he could not comment on the pending motion.