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Putnam jury convicts Indy man in bank robbery case

Saturday, January 12, 2013

MARTINSVILLLE -- A Putnam County jury, in its fourth day Thursday of traveling to and from Morgan County, found an Indianapolis man guilty of the armed robbery of a Morgantown bank.

It took the Putnam County jury about two hours -- including time for its lunch break -- to reach the verdict against 50-year-old Joseph Everroad, Keith Rhoades of the Martinsville Reporter-Times reported.

The jury also found the defendant guilty of theft in the June 4 incident at First Merchants Bank in Morgantown.

Morgan Superior Court Judge G. Thomas Gray, who presided over jury selection in Greencastle last week, set sentencing for 4 p.m. Feb. 12.

The armed robbery charge is a Class B felony that can carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The theft charge, a Class D felony, can carry a sentence of up to three years in prison.

During closing arguments Thursday, Morgan County Deputy Prosecutor Harold Blake said five people identified Everroad as the man who robbed the bank.

Everroad had previously served time for a 1988 murder conviction in Shelby County and was released on probation in 2010.

During his testimony Wednesday, Everroad blamed his niece and a cousin for the robbery, saying the person in the bank surveillance photo was his cousin. He also claimed his niece had taken his car that day.

The prosecutor maintained Everroad alone was the person who robbed the bank. He urged the jury to hold him responsible and find Everroad guilty of armed robbery and theft.

Defense attorney Bill Van Der Pol argued the identifications were flawed and that two people had testified Everroad was not the person in the picture.

Thirteen Putnam jurors (including one alternate) were selected in Putnam Superior Court on Jan. 4, and since last Monday have been traveling to Martinsville each morning and returning home each evening via Morgan County Jail vans.

The judge explained that court officials deemed it simpler to transport jurors daily from Putnam County to Martinsville than to hold the trial in Greencastle and bring over the large number of witnesses called in the case.

"This case got some local publicity," Judge Gray said, "so the attorneys got together and agreed that a change of venue was appropriate."

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