Trial date set for Hagan

Hagan

A trial date has been set for the man accused of slaying a Warrick County woman.

Isaiah Hagan, 22, of Evansville appeared in a hearing on Monday where Warrick County Circuit Court Judge Greg Granger set his trial date for Oct. 17. The date was set in order to comply with a law requiring pertaining those held in custody prior to a trial to have a trial within six months from their arrest, or be released.

Hagan is accused of killing Halee Rathgeber, a 20-year-old Newburgh native and University of Southern Indiana student. Her body was found at the Alcoa Soccer Complex on April 24. The complex is in a rural part of Warrick County.

Hagan's attorney Mark Phillips said the date poses serious issues in the case. He said there has still yet to be a decision on several issues in the case and setting the trial date so early may keep Hagan from a fair trial.

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Last month, Granger heard arguments on a motion to suppress made by Phillips in reference to violations that were made in reading Hagan his Miranda rights. Detective Paul Kruse was called for questioning on whether Miranda rights were properly communicated to Hagan.

Phillips asserted that while some rights were read, the rights were not communicated in a timely manner each time Hagan was brought in for questioning. While both the Prosecutor's Office and Phillips's office have made statements following that hearing, a decision has not been made on whether Hagan's statements will be able to be used in the trial against him.

At the same hearing, Granger issued a subpoena to the Warrick County Sheriff's Office ordering information be turned over to the Prosecutor's Office and to Phillips's office in reference to investigations related to Hagan's case. However, an attorney for the sheriff's office filed a motion to block that order stating that all information regarding Hagan had already been released, but any other information referenced was part of a separate ongoing investigation which would be improper to release.

In addition, Phillips said that his office is still receiving evidence pertaining to the case. With information still coming into his office, most of which contradicts previous information provided from the sheriff and prosecutor's offices, he said there is no way to ensure that information will come in in a timely manner prior to the trial.

However, because Hagan's defense didn't want to waive the rule forcing the trial to happen within six months or allowing Hagan to be released, Granger said the court would have to set the date. The date will pose problems for the court as well due to rules on timeliness of evidence and a jury pool.

Phillips and Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Levi Burkett agreed that any information that may be discovered in the case within 30 days of the trial wouldn't be able to be used in the trial.

"It's hard to set a trial date when you can't confirm you're ready for trial," Phillips said.

Phillips also noted that the court hasn't begun the jury process.

"I can't imagine the court is ready to call in 200 people," he said.

In the hearing, Phillips noted to the court the potential issues with putting together a jury before an Oct. 17 trial. He told the court that if a proper timeline would be followed, the jury questionnaires would have to be complete by the end of this week.

"I will see how soon we can get those out," Granger said.

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