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2014 Starting with One Murder Case After Another

In the last three months, five murder charges have been filed... and three of them are just since New Year's Eve. Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt says this latest round is the most he's seen since he's taken the office.
2014 is off to a record-setting start at the Vigo County Courthouse.

In the last three months, five murder charges have been filed... and three of them are just since New Year's Eve.

At one point in 2013, there were seven homicides pending in the Vigo County courts.

But Prosecutor Terry Modesitt says this latest round is the most he's seen since he's taken the office.

"Every time I see one of these cases, I think to myself, okay you killed someone else so you ruined their life. And now you're pretty much going to be in prison the rest of your life so you've ruined your own life, too. It just doesn't make sense," he said.

For Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt, it's literally one murder case after the other; from a deadly weekend shooting to a cold case 16 years in the making.

"We spend a considerable amount of time," said Modesitt. "It's very important to us. It doesn't matter how old the case is, we want to see it solved and we want to see closure for the family."
   
Modesitt says his 16-attorney staff is working on several other cold cases right now, but doesn't want to name which ones - and they're always ready in case new evidence comes to light.
   
"If you get a lead on somethings that's old, you gotta jump on it quickly before something happens to it again."

The prosecutor's office is active in cold case investigations long before they go to trial.  Modesitt and his chief deputy for example, work closely with police, even taking home video interviews so they're well-versed on the witness statements... another way to back-up law enforcement's efforts.

"They come to us and say this is that we're thinking, what do you guys think? And how do you think this will play at a trial, what else do you think we should do?," he explains.
   
And once charges are filed -- it's the justice that Modesitt's after, whether it's with a plea deal - saying that can take the risk out of a trial - or a sentence handed down by a jury.

"There's going to be arrests made and charges filed, and there's going to be people who have to answer and account for what they've done," said Modesitt.

Modesitt says one common thread in many of these murder cases is drugs and alcohol.

In Indiana, the sentence for a murder charge is 45 to 65 years.
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