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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Murder charges filed in 1985 case

Monday, July 19, 2004

Murder charges were filed this morning in the Clay County Court system involving the 1985 homicide of Jack Farris. Brian Lewis Martin, 41, an inmate in the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle, Ind., was charged with one count of murder and one count of voluntary manslaughter.

Farris was found dead in his home on SR 340 in Clay County on June 18, 1985. An autopsy determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head. The Clay County Sheriff's Department and the Indiana State Police investigated but no charges resulted at that time.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the case was enhanced in the fall of 2003, when the Indiana State Police laboratory revealed results from DNA testing on the case.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Andy Lohrman had started to re-investigate the case and determined that cigarette butts had been collected at the scene. He decided to submit them for DNA testing since that procedure was unavailable to the original investigators 19 years ago.

Det. Troy Stanton and Lohrman also found and studied photographs that were taken from the crime scene. They observed pornographic posters of men in the photographs that were within the Farris home at the time of his murder, indicating that Farris may have possibly engaged in homosexual acts.

During a recent interview, Martin informed Stanton that he had engaged in homosexual activities. Martin stated that he would go with men and that he would prostitute himself from the street corner. He also stated that he would visit establishments such as Charlie's Hideaway and other places that homosexual men might be. Martin told Stanton that he could not remember if he had met and/or had a sexual relationship with Farris.

DNA results showed Martin to be a match to the DNA on the cigarettes found in Farris's home. The probable cause affidavit showed that Martin was living in Terre Haute when the murder took place and Farris's vehicle and wallet were discovered within blocks of Martin's home just after Farris's death.

Martin was convicted of murder and burglary in Vigo County on or about July 17, 1986 for the murder of Molly Pearl Donie, 69. She was electrocuted in the bathtub of her residence by Martin on May 21, 1985. He is serving this sentence in the Indiana Department of Corrections.

A person convicted of murder (Felony) could serve 45-60 years in prison and receive a maximum fine of $10,000. Voluntary manslaughter, a Class C Felony, could serve 20-50 years in prison and receive a maximum fine of $10,000.

Clay County Prosecuting Attorney David Thomas stated he is unable to comment on the case due to Indiana law, but stated he has found that additional valuable evidence is often received after the charging stage. He encourages citizens to provide relevant information they may have to the detective. People who knew Jack Farris or have information about the case are encouraged to contact Det. Stanton at 1-800-742-0717.

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