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The Carthage Press
  • Hearing held on Winans murder conviction appeal

  • Darren Winans says his attorneys failed him and the life sentence he is serving for murdering Bob and Ellen Sheldon in 2008 should be overturned.
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  • Darren Winans says his attorneys failed him and the life sentence he is serving for murdering Bob and Ellen Sheldon in 2008 should be overturned.
    A hearing was held for Winans on Wednesday in which his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Karl Hinkebein, and Norman Rouse, attorney for Jasper County, argued the merits of Winans' claim that he was misled about the amount of time he would serve if he pleaded guilty, that a Jasper County jail psychologist violated doctor-patient confidentiality and that the state didn't have probable cause to charge him with second-degree murder.
    Winans also claimed that the trial judge, Jasper County Circuit Court Judge Gayle Crane had made prejudicial statements prior to the trial.
    Rouse said Winans was not present at the hearing because of security concerns and the cost of transporting him from a state prison in Cameron.
    Rouse said on Wednesday that Jasper County Circuit Court Judge David Dally is waiting to hear Winans' deposition, which will be taken in the next 30 days, before he rules on whether or not to vacate the sentence.
    Winans, 24, filed a motion in Jasper County Circuit Court in November 2011 seeking to “vacate, set aside or correct” the sentence in the Oct. 11, 2008 murder of Bob and Ellen Sheldon in their home just west of Carthage.
    Matthew Laurin and Winans were captured after a nine-month manhunt. Laurin, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison in July 2010. He committed suicide in the Jasper County Jail two days after sentencing.
    Winans pleaded guilty in February to two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and three counts of burglary for the murder of the Sheldons.
    Bob and Ellen Sheldon were long-time Jasper County residents who ran the Old Cabin Shop, a hunting supply store, on their property just west of Carthage.
    On May 4, 2011, Winans was sentenced to two life terms on the murder charges, and 77 years on the other charges.
    Judge Crane ordered the sentences be served consecutively, or one after the other.
    Rouse said Winans's motion is relatively common in cases such as this.
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