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Judge blasts release of video in Marion County deputy’s death

Judge scolds prosecution over release of Deputy Durm video

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The judge hearing the case of the murder of a Marion County Sheriff’s deputy criticized the department for releasing video of the deadly attack.

Judge Mark Smith made the comments during a Friday morning hearing for Orlando Mitchell.

Mitchell faces one count of murder for the death of Deputy John Durm, and prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

In the hearing, Judge Smith blasted the Marion County Sheriff’s decision to release the surveillance video August 30 showing the attack on Deputy Durm.

“I’m a patient guy, but I can tell you going forward that my patience and tolerance for that type of thing, the tone and tenor of this type of hearing will not be consistent with what it is today if this happens again,” Judge Smith said.

“The thing that frustrated me the most was the state specifically asked for a discovery protective order against defense counsel and all their witnesses for doing the exact same thing that your witness did,” Judge Smith said in comments directed to the Marion County Prosecutor’s office.

He said the video release could affect scheduling in the case as well as jury selection and juror decisions.

The deputy prosecutor told the judge he only learned of the decision a few hours before the video was released.

“There was conversation with the sheriff’s department about what was released,” a deputy prosecutor told Judge Smith. “There were concessions made but we weren’t satisfied with the end product. Ideally we would have preferred no video be released either.”

Judge Smith issued an order to block the release, but it came just after Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal played the 14-minute video for the media during a news conference.

The video shows Mitchell attack Deputy Durm from behind as he exited a sheriff’s transport van.

Mitchell appears to use the waist chain from his shackles to choke and kill Durm on July 10.

The video also shows Mitchell appear to take a transport van and drive through security gates at the Criminal Justice Complex.

Prosecutors also indicated they expect to try Mitchell for Durm’s death after the trial for murder charges in the death of Crystal Walton.

Investigators believe Mitchell shot Walton outside a daycare in September 2022 as she dropped their son off for the day.

Mitchell is being held in a state prison awaiting trials.