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February 22, 2013

Accused killer appears in court

Ronald Shewmaker man faces murder charge

JEFFERSONVILLE — A man accused of fatally gunning down a woman in front of her boyfriend’s Clarksville home early Monday morning appeared in a Clark County court Friday.

Ronald Shewmaker, 44, has been charged with murder in the death of 32-year-old Lisa McQuirt on the 600 block of Kenwood Avenue.

Shewmaker was accompanied by his attorney, Brian Butler, of Louisville, and the state was represented by Jeremy Mull and Linda Lamping, both with the Office of the Clark County Prosecutor. During the brief initial hearing in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1, presiding Judge Daniel Moore entered a not guilty plea on Shewmaker’s behalf.

Butler didn’t offer a bond recommendation, but requested the opportunity to enter a motion for bond modification at a later time.

Moore accepted the defense attorney’s request and said Shewmaker will remain, until that time, in the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex under no bond.

The initial hearing was delayed until Friday as Shewmaker had been transported to Clark Memorial Hospital for treatment after being booked in the jail Monday about 8:30 a.m., about 3 1/2 hours after the shooting. Shewmaker’s odd and combative behavior in the jail, according the Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden, resulted in the jail’s medical staff suggesting he be taken to Clark Memorial for observation. Shewmaker, who police arrested in Corydon, was taken to the hospital about 2 p.m. Monday and returned to the jail about 3 p.m. Thursday.

Rodden said Shewmaker’s behavior has been less erratic since his return to the facility

Following the hearing, Butler expressed his concern over Shewmaker’s mental state.

“Obviously, anytime somebody is charged with something this severe it is an enormous stresser, and, absolutely, it is an obvious concern as we go forward,” Butler said. “Ron [Shewmaker] seemed fine today, seemed able to understand what was going on, but the fact that he spent several days in the hospital is a serious concern to his family, as well as me, as we go forward.”

It remains unknown how Shewmaker’s apparent delicate mental state following his arrest and nearly 72-hour stay in the hospital could lead to an insanity defense, if his attorney decides to seek it.

Mull said he believes enough evidence exists for the state to prove Shewmaker guilty of the murder during a jury trial.

“We do have strong evidence in the case. There was a significant amount of physical evidence that was collected,” he said.

Mull also commented on the many people who will be affected by McQuirt’s violent death.

“This is a tragic situation,” he said. “This young lady had several children and was brutally gunned down.”

McQuirt left behind five children, ranging in age from 2 to 14.

Shewmaker is believed to have met McQuirt at Bottoms Up, a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, where she worked as an exotic dancer. The car outside her home was registered to both Shewmaker and McQuirt.

A pretrial conference has been scheduled for April 11.

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