EVANSVILLE – A southwest Indiana teenager has been acquitted of murder and robbery charges in the death of a homeless man whose body was found in the Ohio River.
A Vanderburgh Circuit Court jury, however, failed to reach a verdict Monday on an obstruction of justice charge against William Hurt in the June 2012 killing of Marcus Golike.
The Evansville Courier & Press reported that prosecutors must now decide whether to dismiss that charge or retry the 18-year-old Hurt on the obstruction charge.
Messages seeking comment left Tuesday with the county prosecutors office were not returned.
Golike, 54, a homeless man and friend of Hurts family who had recently been released from prison, was beaten, strangled and his body dumped in the Ohio River, according to police. His body was found by campers along the river in Kentucky on June 17.
Jurors heard more than three days of testimony in Hurts trial. Late Monday afternoon, they viewed his lengthy videotaped interview with police during which Hurt confessed to Golikes killing after hours of questioning. It was the second time jurors had listened to the more than three-hour recording. During Hurts trial, police testified that they found no evidence to prove Hurts confession.
But Mike Perry, chief trial deputy of the Vanderburgh County Prosecutors Office, contended Hurts confession was true but that some elements of his story were intentionally false to mislead investigators.
Were not dealing with someone of limited intelligence here. This is a smart kid, Perry said.
He said Hurt was able to correctly tell officers what pocket Golikes baseball hat was found in and that it was rolled up – details he said were known only to police.
Hurts defense attorney, Conor ODaniel, argued that police coerced Hurt into making a false confession and said officers tainted his answers by relaying information to him through their questions.
ODaniel also said that officers threatened Hurt, who is adopted and had been a foster child, with prison and breaking up his family. The attorney said officers told Hurt he could leave the police station if he told them what they wanted to hear.
The reality is they couldnt find anything because it didnt happen, ODaniel said on Monday.