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June 3, 2011

Defendant’s cousin to face murder charges

Ryan Scheckles’ cousin refuses to testify, deal with prosecutors called off

JEFFERSONVILLE — Following a profanity-filled outburst at his cousin’s trial Friday, Robert “Harry” Sheckles, 26, will also be charged with two counts of murder, Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Bill Grimes said.

Ryan Maurice Sheckles, 24, is standing trial in Clark County Circuit Court this week for the murders of Larry “Pucka” Morrow, 38, and Shannon Howard, 30. The two were shot outside a home on the 200 block of Walnut Street on Aug. 25, 2009.

On the third day of trial, Robert Sheckles was subpoenaed to testify against his cousin. At his request, Robert Sheckles was joined in the courtroom by his attorney, Bradley Jacobs.

He took the stand wearing a prison jumpsuit since he is serving a 12-year sentence for dealing cocaine in Floyd County. Grimes told the jury that Robert Sheckles had entered into an agreement to plead guilty to class D felony assisting a criminal in exchange for testifying truthfully against Ryan Sheckles.

Grimes asked Robert Sheckles to explain why he was incarcerated, and he responded that he would not answer that question and would “plead the 5th” since his incarceration had nothing to do with the case.

Robert Sheckles then said he would not answer any more questions.

“I ain’t got nothing else to say,” he said as he stood up to leave the stand.

The judge ordered him to sit down and Grimes showed him where he had signed an agreement. Robert Sheckles then claimed “you all came down there and made me sign something.”

For a second time, Robert Sheckles stood up and started to leave the stand. He was stopped by several corrections officers and confronted by Grimes, who said they would withdraw the plea agreement and file two counts of murder against him by the end of the day.

“I don’t agree to s---. F--- all you,” Robert Sheckles said.

The incident created a commotion in the gallery prompting Judge Dan Moore to say he would clear the courtroom if there was another outburst.

Jacobs told the News and Tribune after the hearing that he knew there had been discussions about Robert Sheckles avoiding a murder charge in exchange for testifying, but he did not realize there was an official offer.

Jacobs said he thought Grimes was reacting emotionally when he said he would charge Robert Sheckles with murder.

“It wasn’t handled well,” Jacobs said. “If you ever have been in a fight with your spouse, you know things can get heated. I think it could have been handled better by everyone.”

Jacobs said he is “hoping” they will not actually file those charges. He said the evidence shows that Robert Sheckles “had very little to do with it.”

“He’s looking pretty good,” Jacobs said.

Grimes was asked about Jacobs’ comments, and he said, “Oh, he will be charged with two counts of murder.”

He said the charges would probably not be ready until Tuesday though.

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