GREENFIELD — As one of the county’s top law enforcement officials, the prosecutor is tasked with bringing charges against those accused of a crime, then organizing the evidence, building a case and suggesting an appropriate sentence.
And three local men say they’re the best candidate for that job.
The Republican race for prosecutor pits incumbent Brent Eaton against Greenfield defense attorney Bob Elsea and Madison County deputy prosecutor Grey Chandler, who lives in McCordsville.
No Democrats have filed for the primary.
Eaton, Elsea and Chandler all have different plans for how to structure their deputy prosecutors’ workloads to ensure the office runs as efficiently as possible.
And though their tactics vary, they have one important aspect in common: each candidate has enlisted a different but well-known local attorney to serve as their second in command.
Eaton, who is seeking his second term as prosecutor, is a Hancock County native and graduate of Wabash College and Indiana University’s law school.
He took over the office four years ago and quickly introduced two deputies to specialize in sex crimes and drug crimes. These cases can be sensitive, and having one attorney handling all of them gives victims and police a single point person for any questions and concerns, he said, adding he’ll keep this structure if re-elected.
Eaton plans to keep his current chief deputy prosecutor, Marie Castetter. Castetter has taken the lead on some of the most high-profile cases of the last four years, leading trials and landing convictions against defendants accused of major felonies, including rape and murder.
Elsea, who worked as chief deputy prosecutor from 1968 to 2002, said he’ll seek a more collaborate approach to running the office, if elected. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the attorneys who join his team will help determine who handles what cases, he said. And he promises to carry a caseload of his own.
Elsea has enlisted Richard Culver, recently retired Hancock Circuit Court judge, as his chief deputy prosecutor. Culver served on the bench for nearly three decades before stepping down to take a job as a deputy prosecutor in Henry County. He’s pledged to return to Hancock County if his longtime friend, Elsea, is elected.
Chandler, a career prosecutor with more than 13 years’ experience in counties across Central Indiana, said he believes the elected prosecutor should oversee the county’s most serious cases, and deputies should be assigned to specific courtrooms, where they can divvy up the workload. This ensures everyone is crossed-trained on case types, and no one get burned out, he said.
Tami Napier, who served as the chief deputy prosecutor for Eaton’s predecessor, Michael Griffin, and is now working as a deputy prosecutor in Marshall County, has agreed to sign on as Chandler’s chief deputy.
She’s previously worked as a prosecutor in Indianapolis, where she worked with the sex crimes and homicide units.
Find out where they stand: