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Aliahna Lemmon Case: Lawyers Appointed To Defend Accused Murderer Michael Plumadore

First Posted: 01/10/12 03:14 PM ET Updated: 01/10/12 03:14 PM ET

Michael Plumadore
Michael Plumadore is charged with murder, abuse of a corpse, and moving the body after a violent death.

Two experienced Indiana public defenders have been named to represent the man accused of murdering and dismembering 9-year-old Aliahna Lemmon just a few days before Christmas.

Meanwhile, new evidence revealed that Plumadore was accused in 2010 of stalking a teenaged girl in Iowa.

Anthony Churchward and Mark Thoma bring over 40 combined years of legal experience to Michael Plumadore's case. Plumadore, who stated in a police affidavit that he repeatedly hit the young girl with a brick before chopping her up with a hack saw, pleaded not guilty during an initial hearing last Wednesday.

Churchward and Thoma have both dealt with high-profile murder cases in the past. Churchward, in particular, is known for his role on the defense team of Ronrico Hatch and Simon Rios, the last two individuals to face death-penalty trials in Allen County.

Prosecutors haven't decided yet if they'll seek the death penalty.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette editorial board contends that the appointment of two experienced attorneys is a wise move and one the public should support, despite the added cost to taxpayers.

"If Plumadore is convicted of murder, his case will go up on appeal," the newspaper explains. "Having two good attorneys takes away the argument of ineffective counsel and, indeed, greatly reduces the likelihood of any errors occurring in the trial that would be grounds for a new trial."

In a statement obtained by The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Chief Public Defender Randall J. Hammond said:

"The Allen County Public Defender’s Office has every confidence that Mr. Churchward and Mr. Thoma will undertake their obligation to represent Mr. Plumadore professionally, ethically and diligently within the bounds of the law."

It's been learned that the Lemmon-family friend was accused of an earlier criminal incident in which he allegedly stalked and sexually harassed a 13-year-old Iowa girl, the Des Moines Register reports. The girl's mother petitioned for a restraining order, but the judge turned down the request and no criminal charges were filed, according to the newspaper.

Plumadore is charged with murder, abuse of a corpse, and moving the body after a violent death. He is due in court on Jan. 18.

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Filed by Steven Hoffer  |