Prosecutors: Alibi won’t hold up

GREENFIELD — The word of Spencer Spielman’s friends isn’t enough for an alibi, prosecutors said.

Days after the murder suspect filed a notice with the court stating he’ll have two friends testify he was with them on the night of a Greenfield woman’s slaying, prosecutors asked the judge to strike the notice from the official court record.

There isn’t enough evidence for the alibi to hold up in court, they say; additionally, the alibi notice was filed 116 days after the deadline set by the court — too late to be considered, prosecutors argue.

Spielman, 1556 Prairieview Lane, Greenfield, faces charges of murder and robbery in the death of 52-year-old Patricia Dresser. Police believe Spielman killed Dresser in her home last fall, likely using the sash of her bathrobe to strangle her, according to court documents.

Earlier this month, Spielman’s attorney, John Merlau of New Palestine, filed a notice with the court stating his 21-year-old client wasn’t in the home the night of the murder, and two friends will testify on his behalf if the case goes to trial in April as planned, according to court documents state.

Deputy prosecutor John Keiffner, who is leading the state’s case, responded this week, asking Judge Terry Snow not to consider the Spielman’s claim as evidence.

In the document, Keiffner called Spielman’s alibi incomplete and “statutorily insufficient,” saying it “fails to reveal exact information for each of the locations that the defendant is now claiming he was” when Dresser was killed.

Indiana law requires an alibi notice to “include specific information concerning the exact place where the defendant claims to have been on the date” an alleged crime occurred.

Police believe Dresser was killed at her home in the 1100 block of Morningside Drive in Greenfield between 5 p.m. Oct. 12 and 10 p.m. Oct. 13, Keiffner told the judge in his response.

While Spielman’s attorney said friends of the defendant can vouch for his whereabouts between 9 p.m. Oct. 12 and 7 a.m. Oct. 13, that doesn’t account for the entire timeframe laid out by investigators, Keiffner wrote.

Friends of Dresser’s found her dead in her home in the Cricket Reel subdivision in Greenfield late on Oct. 13, according to police.

The last time anyone spoke to her was around 9:30 p.m. Oct. 12; when phone calls from family members went gone unanswered throughout the day, Dresser’s friends became worried and went to check her home, records state.

An autopsy confirmed Dresser’s death was a homicide. Relatives immediately pointed to Spielman as a suspect in the slaying. They told detectives Dresser had previously expressed concerns about Spielman, whom she’d hired to do work around her home; she told friends she believed he burglarized the home a few days earlier, court documents state.

Spielman was arrested a few days later after police caught him driving Dresser’s stolen car, records state.

Though charging documents give few details about what happened in the moments leading up to Dresser’s death, police say Spielman admitted he killed Dresser when detectives questioned him about the crime, according to court document.

Spielman’s claim of an alibi was filed March 20 – a month before the case is set to go to trial, records show, and prosecutors were quick to call the notice untimely.

State statute requires alibi notices to be submitted by a deadline set by the judge. In keeping with those rules, Spielman’s notice should have been submitted by Nov. 23, prosecutors say.

“If the defendant truly had an alibi defense for this crime, (he) and his lawyer would know this information well before 116 days had passed,” prosecutors wrote.

Keiffner declined to comment further.

Online court records show Merlau plans to file a rebuttal in the coming days. He did not return a call for comment.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.