Crime Watch 8

Special prosecutor requested in Lake Monroe case

MONROE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Attorneys for a man accused in an attack at Lake Monroe on July 4 have requested a special prosecutor for the case.

Attorneys representing Sean Purdy don’t want Monroe County Prosecutor Erika Oliphant to try the case.

Purdy, along with Jerry Cox, are charged with battery, criminal confinement and intimidation after an altercation with Vauhxx Booker. A Facebook post from Booker attracted national attention. He described it as “attempted lynching” and said he heard someone call for a noose.

Investigators with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources suggested charges for Booker and his friend Ian Watkins, as well as Purdy and Cox. DNR suggested charges of battery and trespassing against Booker.

Purdy and Cox were charged on July 17.

According to a court filing Wednesday, Purdy’s attorneys argue that Oliphant “engaged in selective prosecution by charging this defendant but not Mr. Booker and by giving Mr. Booker preferential treatment rather than empaneling a grand jury” and that “Booker stated publicly that he had supported the elected prosecutor in her campaign and was urging her to do the right thing.”

Later on Wednesday, Monroe County prosecuting attorney Erika Oliphant also requested a special prosecutor in the case. In the petition Oliphant conceded there was no conflict of interest in the case but she was requesting the special prosecutor “in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety.”

Purdy and Cox are currently set for a pretrial conference on Sept. 10.

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