« Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 today (and 3 NFP) | Main | Courts - "“The 70-year-old that existed in the 1890s is not the 70-year-old of today" »

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Ind. Courts - St. Joe "Deputy prosecutor resigns over decision on slain girl's father"

Christian Sheckler reported late evening for the South Bend Tribune:

St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak said today a deputy prosecutor has resigned after failing to prosecute a man who was arrested but released without being charged three days before he killed his 6-year-old daughter.

Dvorak said Edward Mwaura, 33, should have been prosecuted May 30 after his estranged wife, 32-year-old Lucy Mundia, called police to complain that he had come to her apartment at 4252 Irish Hills Drive in violation of a protective order.

"This is my office, and these are my deputy prosecutors, and we should have filed a charge of violation of a protective order," Dvorak said. "We would have if we would have done more than a cursory review of the evidence."

Mwaura was arrested and booked into the county jail about 7:30 a.m. May 30, but he was released six hours later without being charged because the deputy prosecutor did not find the correct file in a protective order registry, Dvorak said.

Less than three days later, police responding to a violent domestic dispute forced their way into the same apartment, where an officer shot and killed Mwaura as he stabbed to death the estranged couple's daughter, 6-year-old Shirley Mundia, investigators said.

After Mwaura's arrest May 30, the deputy prosecutor, who has not been identified, reviewed a protective order registry using Mwaura's last name and found only a petition by Lucy Mundia that had been dismissed by a judge, the statement said. According to court records, Mundia filed for an order on Sept. 14, but a judge dismissed the petition Oct. 1 when neither Mundia nor Mwaura appeared at a scheduled hearing.

However, a separate request for a protective order was granted in December and was still active at the time of Mwaura's arrest. The deputy prosecutor did not find the valid order because of a misspelling of Mwaura's name, Dvorak said. But a search of Mundia's name would have located the valid order -- which was to remain active until June 1 -- he said.

Without a valid protective order, prosecutors could not charge Mwaura with the violation, Dvorak said.

"This DPA failed to exercise the thoroughness expected, particularly in crimes with women and children as victims of domestic abuse," Dvorak said. * * *

Because the deputy prosecutor resigned, the prosecutor's office was treating the person's departure as a confidential personnel matter and would not release any more details about the person, said Lora Bentley, a spokeswoman for the office.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 6, 2013 11:02 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts