Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Lawsuit: Teens' Rights Violated ; in Case of Homeless Man's Death

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Lawsuit: Teens' Rights Violated ; in Case of Homeless Man's Death

Article excerpt

A federal lawsuit accuses police in Evansville and Kentucky with violating the rights of three teenagers charged with murder in connection with the death of a homeless man here in 2012. The body of Marcus Golike, who had a history of mental illness, was found June 17, 2012, in the Ohio River here. He had been released from an Indiana prison only two weeks earlier.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, charges that police wrongfully arrested William Hurt, Deadra Hurt, Andrea Hurt and Harley Wade, who lived with the Hurts at the time, and charged them with murder.

However, the lawsuit says police coerced false confessions from William Hurt and Deadra Hurt which led to William Hurt being maliciously prosecuted for Golike's death - which the lawsuit posits was suicide by jumping from one of the U.S. 41 bridges over the Ohio River.

Golike had been the foster brother of the teens' mother, Debbie Hurt, and the three teenagers looked up to Golike like an uncle, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is seeking unnamed compensatory and punitive damages on their behalf.

William Hurt refused a plea deal and a jury acquitted him of murder after a weeklong trial in February 2013. During the trial, legal expert Stephen Drizin testified that he believed police coerced a false confession from the teen during hours alone in a small room without an adult or attorney present.

The Vanderburgh County Prosecutors Office had previously dropped charges against Deadra Hurt and Harley Wade after a judge ruled that police had coerced her confession.

William Hurt was 18 years old, Deadra Hurt, 19, and Andrea Hurt, 16, at the time of their arrests.

The Chicago-based law firm Loevy & Loevy filed the lawsuit June 27 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana on behalf of William, Deadra, Andrea and Debbie Hurt. It was transferred to the federal court's Southern District in Evansville on July 1.

The lawsuit names as defendants both the city and the Evansville Police Department, as well as individual detectives Jeff Vantlin, Jack Spencer, William Arbaugh and Jason Paggett, and their supervisors, sergeants Larry Nelson and Richard Blanton and Lieutenant Dan DeYoung. …

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