Indiana Death Row



DOB: 11-18-66 DOC: #993801 White Male

Johnson County Superior Court
Judge Cynthia S. Emkes

Prosecutor: Lance D. Hamner, Bradley D. Cooper, Tina L. Mann

Defense: Jeffrey A. Baldwin, Peter D. Nugent

Date of Murder: September 27, 1997

Victim(s): Kelly Eckart W/F 18 (no relationship)

Method of Murder: Ligature Strangulation with shoestring and overalls strap

Summary: Kelly Eckart was an 18 year old freshman attending Franklin College, working her way through school with a part-time job at Walmart. On September 27, 1997 she left work, met briefly with her boyfriend and drove towards her home in Shelby County. That was the last time she was seen alive. The next morning, her car was found abandoned in a rural area, with its lights on and keys in the ignition. Four days later, the partially nude body of Kelly Eckart was found in a ravine in Brown County. She had been strangled with her own shoe string and a strap cut from the suspenders of her overalls. She had also been shot once in the forehead. Semen was discovered on the victim which was later matched through DNA analysis as having been contributed by Overstreet. The defendantís brother first contacted the police and admitted that the defendant called him on the 27th, he had met him at a hotel, drove his van, and transported him and a girl to a remote wooded area where he dropped them off. The Defendant returned later and moved the body to Brown County. Fibers found on the victimís body matched those from the defendantís van, which he had spent several hours cleaning before the victimís body was found. An eyewitness identified the defendant near the dump site on the day the body was recovered.

Trial: Information/PC for Murder filed (11-10-97); Amended Information for DP filed (04-15-98, 04-11-00); Voir Dire in Clark County (04-24-00, 04-25-00, 04-26-00, 04-27-00); Jury Trial in Johnson County (05-01-00, 05-02-00, 05-03-00, 05-04-00, 05-05-00, 05-08-00, 05-09-00, 05-10-00, 05-11-00, 05-12-00); Deliberations 10 hours, 43 minutes; Verdict (05-13-00); DP Trial (05-15-00, 05-16-00, 05-17-00, 05-18-00); Deliberations 2 hours, 15 minutes; Verdict (05-18-00); Court Sentencing (06-20-00, 07-31-00).

Conviction: Murder, Rape (B Felony), Confinement (B Felony)

Sentencing: July 31, 2000 (Death Sentence, 20 years, 20 years, consecutive)

Aggravating Circumstances: b(1) Rape

Mitigating Circumstances:
Deprived and abusive childhood;
Schizotypal Personality Disorder / Psychological deterioration;
Hallucination as a child, including ďdemonsĒ;
Mother failed to seek mental help for him;
3 months in Marines before discharge for mental illness;
He loves his children and nieces who idolize him;
Has only a misdemeanor criminal history;
Model prisoner since his incarceration.

Direct Appeal:
Overstreet v. State, 783 N.E.2d 1140 (Ind. February 24, 2003).
Conviction Affirmed 5-0; DP Affirmed 5-0
Sullivan Opinion; Shepard, Dickson, Boehm, Rucker concur.
Overstreet v. Indiana, 124 S.Ct. 1145 (2004) (Cert. denied).

06-12-03 PCR Petition filed.
12-03-04 PCR denied by Johnson County Superior Court Judge Cynthia S. Emkes.


As of July 1, 2006

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