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Chuck Fleming Bound Over For Trial

 

Chuck Fleming Bound Over for Trial

 

By Terry Bailey

 

 

A preliminary hearing was conducted at the Mitchell County Courthouse on October 17-18. The reason for the hearing was to determine if probable cause exists to have Chuck Fleming stand trial in the first degree murder of his mother, Carol Fleming. A thorough examination and cross examination of 21 witnesses during a 12 hour period took place in the courtroom. She said her job was twofold. The prosecution must prove that there is probable cause that a crime was committed. Secondly, the prosecution must prove there is probable cause that Chuck Fleming committed the act.

 

During the two days of testimony she heard from city, county, and State KBI agents about how the evidenced was located, collected, and maintained. Judge Wright learned that Chuck did own a 12 gauge shotgun and the serial numbers matched the numbers of the forms filled out at purchase. She heard testimony from Harvey and Aaron Cox, neighbors directly across the street regarding movements of people at the Fleming house the night of the shooting. The judge learned from the coroner that night, Dr. Christine Marozas, about the nature and cause of death of Carol Fleming. Doug Daugherty, Mitchell County sheriff the night of the murder, established a time line for arrival of law enforcement officers at the scene and the duties performed by them and how information was gained through personal interviews.

 

Richard Harris, Carol’s boyfriend at the time, described the sequence of events of his date with Carol from five p.m. that afternoon through the evening until they went to bed at Carol’s house around 1:30 a.m. Harris said he awoke somewhere around 3:00 a.m. and discovered Carol’s dead body next to him. Throughout his testimony Harris repeatedly said he did not hear the discharge of a shotgun. Harris’s son David, who was fifteen years old at the time, was asleep on the couch in the front room, reported that the he did not hear the discharge of a shot gun.

 

William Pettijohn, KBI Special Agent for the Beloit area at that time, testified that he assumed overall responsibility for the investigation. All reports filtered up to him. He reviewed 75 reports. He said he conducted interviews involving the testimony of 50-60 people. Pettijohn reviewed the blood spatter forensic report. Pettijohn reported retrieving a 12 gauge shotgun from the back seat of Chuck Fleming’s vehicle. He reported that he did not notice the smell of gunpowder on the shotgun.

 

Danny Fleming and Steve Fleming, brother’s in law of Carol Fleming, testified. Both related their actions on the night of the murder. Neither knew of Chuck being a hunter nor did they know that he owned a shotgun.

 

Danny reported being at the Captain’s Quarters one evening when Chuck tapped him on the shoulder and said he needed to talk to him. Chuck asked Danny, “Why haven’t I gotten my money?” Fleming went on to say that Chuck then said, “I have friends whose dad’s have died and they are getting money. The money is mine. How can I get it?”

 

Chuck then said, “She is spending all the money. I won’t see any of it.”

 

Fleming reported observing that Chuck was “wound up” and excited at the time.

 

Steve Fleming testified that after the passing of his brother, Carol’s husband, he kept the books for Carol’s beauty salon, The Joint Effort. As part of his duties he would write the checks for the business. Carol would then sign them. He recalls the night of the murder when he first arrived at the law enforcement center he saw Rick Harris and asked him, “What happened?” Harris responded, “I don’t know. Somebody shot Carol.”

 

 

Judge Debra Wright recessed the proceedings to review the evidence and testimony and then rule whether or not there was probable cause for a trial. The purpose of the hearing is not to prove or disproved anyone’s guilt or innocence. The purpose is for the State to prove there is evidence indicating the accused may have committed a crime. If the Judge determines there is probable cause that a crime may have been committee by the accused, she will order the prisoner to stand trial for the crime. If she does not believe probable cause exists, the prisoner will not have to stand trial for that crime.

 

The hearing was recessed shortly after 1:00 p.m. Judge Clark sequestered herself in her chambers to review the evidence and the testimony. At 6:05 p.m. the hearing was called back into order.

 

Clark said, “After reviewing all the evidence and all the testimony it is my belief that there is reasonable belief that a felony has been committed. Furthermore, the evidence and testimony establishes probable cause that the defendant, Chuck Fleming, may have committed the act.”

 

Because of this she ruled that a trial would be in order for the purpose of determining guilt in the situation.

 

A short meeting will take place on November 6th at 9:30 a.m. for the purpose of establishing a date and time for the trial.

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