The jury trial for an Indianapolis man accused of attempter murder in Henry County was supposed to start Monday.
Christopher Williams trial has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 1 in Henry Circuit Court 2.
Williams and Jonathan O’Connor, another Indianapolis man, were arrested in December 2018 after a severely-beaten woman was found near Grant City Road in Knightstown.
Williams is facing Level 1 felony attempted murder, Level 3 felonies criminal confinement and aggravated battery, Level 5 felony intimidation, Level 6 felony sexual battery, Class A misdemeanor theft and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief.
He has been in the Henry County Jail since 2018.
Williams’ initial jury trial began in November 2021. During opening statements, his attorney Mark Nicholson objected to the prosecuting attorney showing a photo of the alleged victim to the jury. Nicholson moved for a mistrial and Judge Kit Crane granted the mistrial.
Williams appeared back in court Feb. 23, with Nicholson arguing several motions, including a claiming “prosecutorial misconduct” on the part of attorney Richard Culver.
“There a proper way to lay the foundation of evidence. And that ain’t it,” Nicholson argued, moving for a mistrial.
Judge Crane denied the motion to dismiss the case because he didn’t believe Culver had messed up the procedure in November, but had not broken the law.
“I didn’t see anything intention on Mr. Culver’s part that day,” Crane said. “It appeared to me a mistake on his part.”
Crane told Nicholson the photo was not new evidence, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise when Culver showed it to the jury. The judge said he did not know of any trial rule forbidding an attorney of showing the jury something they are confident will later be officially entered into evidence.
Nicholson also objected to Culver filing additional charges against Williams after the mistrial. He called the move “prosecutorial vindictiveness.”
Nicholson argued the charges of intimidation, sexual battery, theft and criminal mischief would not have been filed if he had not moved for a mistrial on behalf of Williams.
Culver told the court he did not show the photo to force a mistrial. He said he chose to show the photo during opening statements in order to show intent in the crime.
“When I showed the photo... anyone could see... that’s intent to kill,” Culver told Judge Crane. “It looks like a dead body.”
Culver argued that Nicholson and the other defense attorneys already knew the state might add sexual assault charges against Williams.
“I don’t see prosecutorial vindictiveness,” Crane said, allowing the additional charges against Williams.
Crane also denied Nicholson’s motion to stop certain social media posts from being admissible in this case. However, Williams’ defense team still has the right to object to the evidence during trial.
Crane told the attorneys he trusts “that we tread carefully when we’re here at trial.”
Nicholson asked the court for a continuance, stating a DNA expert would not be ready to testify on Williams’ behalf until the end of March.
Crane granted the motion to reschedule the March 7 trial until 9 a.m. Aug. 1. Williams’ pre-trial conference is 11:30 a.m. June 23.
Jonathon O’Connor is facing a charge of Level 3 felony criminal confinement.
O’Connor’s jury trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. May 16 in Henry Circuit Court 2.