GOSHEN — An Elkhart man convicted of attempted murder appeared in Elkhart Circuit Court on a petition for post-conviction relief.
Tyrus Coleman, 33, was brought to Elkhart Circuit Court Thursday, June 27, and the judge heard arguments from Coleman’s attorney, Maria Teresa Kuzmic.
In Thursday’s hearing Coleman argued he received ineffective assistance from his counsel in his 2009 trial in which he was convicted attempted murder.
If Coleman is granted post-conviction relief, the court would vacate Coleman’s conviction and could possibly have a new trial.
Coleman was first charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted murder in 2007 for the death of Jermaine Jackson and the shooting of Anthony Dye.
A trial jury found Coleman not guilty of murder, but failed to reach a verdict for the attempted murder charge in 2008.
A second jury trial in 2009 resulted in Coleman being found guilty of attempted murder. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Coleman appealed in March 2010 and the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in his favor by a split vote. But Coleman was not released from prison. The Indiana Attorney General asked the Indiana Supreme Court to take the case.
In May 2011, the Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeals ruling, saying Coleman’s second trial was proper.
On Thursday, two of the witnesses called by Coleman were the attorneys who worked as his counsel in his second trial.
The court heard testimony from John Kindley, who said that admittedly he did not believe he was fully prepared to represent Coleman at the time of the trial. Kindley said the 2009 trial was his first since he started practicing law.
Don Pitzer, prosecuting attorney in the case, asked Kindley about his credentials, arguing Kindley was an effective counsel at the time.
But the hearing was stopped at 4 p.m. and will be continued at a later date. Kindley will return to continue testimony, as will other witnesses who were not introduced because of time constraints.