News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 20, 2013

High-profile trials receive more security

Ramped-up restrictions aimed at smoothing contentious cases

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Security measures in the Vigo County Courthouse will be increased next week as jury trials commence for two high-profile criminal cases.

In Vigo Superior Court 6, a man charged with murder after an Aug. 24, 2012, shooting just off the Indiana State University campus will go on trial, with jury selection starting Monday.

In Vigo Superior Court 5, a man charged in the May 2012, drunken driving death of a motorcyclist and the serious injury of another motorcyclist will go on trial starting Tuesday.

Chief Deputy Clark Cottom of the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department told the Tribune-Star that the heightened security in the courthouse is intended to guarantee the safety of the public, courthouse personnel and those involved in both of the trial proceedings.

On Monday, William Mallory, 22, of Indianapolis, will go on trial for murder in connection with an early morning shooting near the Ballyhoo Tavern at Ninth and Chestnut streets. Killed was Dustin Kelly, 24, of Terre Haute. Injured were Dante Pettus and Terrance Trotter, both 21.

Mallory was charged with felony murder, two counts of class-A felony attempted murder, two counts of class-B felony aggravated battery, and carrying a handgun without a license, a class-A misdemeanor. Mallory allegedly shot all three men with a Smith and Wesson 9 millimeter handgun. Trotter was shot in the hip, while Pettus in the torso.

During a court hearing following the arrest of Mallory, a fight erupted in the courtroom between family members of Mallory and the victims.

On Tuesday, Travis A. Ley, 36, will go on trial in Vigo Superior Court 5 with Judge Michael Rader presiding.

Ley was the driver of a 2003 Toyota Camry that collided with the two Suzuki motorcycles driven by 22-year-old Leyland A. Owens and 24-year-old Jacob T. Quinn, both of Terre Haute. Owens died of his injuries; Quinn was seriously injured. The accident occurred at the intersection of Hulman and 17th streets shortly before 11 p.m. on May 22, 2012.

Ley faces charges of class-B felony causing death when driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or more; class-C felony causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated; and class-D felony driving while intoxicated resulting in serious bodily injury.

As a preventive measure during the trials, the sheriff’s department has reallocated manpower and assigned additional deputies to enhance security throughout the courthouse. The enhancement of security includes an obvious presence of uniformed officers in and around the courthouse, dual layers of metal detectors, 100 percent ID screening, and requiring courthouse staff to wear county-issued employee identification in a conspicuous location.

Also, K9 units will perform random patrols throughout the building and grounds.

The sheriff’s department announced earlier this week that any person with an aggressive disposition will be immediately removed from the courthouse and adjoining campus. Persons causing a disturbance in violation of a state statute will be subject to arrest.

Visitors to the courthouse, as well as county employees should plan for enhanced security and expect slight delays entering the building. Citizens as well as county workers are encouraged to leave unnecessary handbags, purses and briefcases in their vehicles.

The county already has an ordinance banning civilians from entering the courthouse with weapons of any type, including firearms, mace, pocket knives, scissors and sharp objects.

The Terre Haute Police will increase security around City Hall and the city-owned parking lot which is shared by the public and city and county employees.

Cottom reports that there will be no reduction in road patrol because of the increased security as the Indiana State Police will be supplementing road patrol units for the week.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.