TERRE HAUTE —
A second mistrial was declared this morning for a Riley man accused of the 1979 slaying of 20-year-old Kathy Jo Baker.
Richard L. Boswell Jr., 55, was released today from the Vigo County Jail, where he had been held since his October 2010 arrest on charges of murder and attempted murder.
Boswell was arrested after an Indiana State Police investigation into the cold case murder of Baker linked Boswell to the killing through DNA evidence, which was recovered on a shirt that Baker was wearing the day she died.
Closing arguments were under way shortly after 9 a.m., as the weeklong trial was coming to a conclusion in Vigo Superior Court 6, when trial deputy Dan McGlone said the same three words — “killed another woman” — that resulted in the first mistrial.
Defense attorney Luther Garcia immediately objected and asked Judge Michael Lewis to review McGlone’s statement. In presenting their case against Boswell, the prosecution is not allowed to go into his criminal history because it could prejudice the jury against him. Boswell has a 1991 conviction for criminal confinement and criminal deviate conduct. He was released from prison in June 2006.
After reviewing a recording of the statement made by McGlone, Judge Lewis ordered a mistrial and the release of Boswell.
McGlone told the Tribune-Star that the phrase “killed another woman” unintentionally slipped out. It was said as McGlone recounted testimony from Jodie. R. Bennett, an offender at the Indiana State Prison, whose statement of those words in court resulted in the first mistrial in February.
Bennett, who is serving two 50-year sentences for a double homicide, had told the first jury that he associated with Boswell while Boswell was incarcerated on the 1991 conviction. Bennett testified that Boswell had mentioned he had committed a crime against a woman and her child but had never been arrested for it. While giving testimony in the earlier trial, Bennett stated that Boswell had said he “killed another woman,” which could imply to the jury that Boswell was in prison for murder.
Bennett testified again during the second trial, but was under orders from the prosecution not to use the same phrase during this testimony. He succeeded.
Revisit www.tribstar.com for updates and see Saturday’s Tribune-Star for a full report on what occurred in court.