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Man seeks counts dropped in parents’ deaths

– A man who told investigators he killed his father and helped his ailing mother commit suicide wants prosecutors to drop all charges against him since the Indiana Supreme Court ruled his confession inadmissible.

Brian Hartman, through a defense lawyer, filed a motion this week in Randolph County Court to dismiss the murder and assisting suicide charges against him, the Star Press of Muncie reported.

Hartman confessed hours after police in February 2010 found his 53-year-old father’s body inside a container in the garage of the family’s rural home about 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis, according to court records. The man had been dead about two weeks.

Hartman told investigators that he and his parents had “made a plan” in which he would fatally shoot his father, also named Brian Hartman, while he was sleeping, then provide his 52-year-old mother with enough medication to take her own life.

Relatives said Cheri Hartman had been diagnosed three years earlier with brain cancer. An autopsy was not conducted because it was assumed the death was a result of her illness, and her remains were cremated at the direction of her son, court records said.

But the state Supreme Court ruled early in June that Hartman’s incriminating statements to Randolph County sheriff’s investigators couldn’t be used. The court said the confession was inadmissible because it came after he had been jailed for two days on an unrelated arrest without seeing a lawyer, even though he had asked for an attorney and had refused to speak to investigators.

A few weeks later, Randolph County Prosecutor David Daly filed a motion for a second count of murder against Hartman in his mother’s death. Daly said he believed he could “prove the defendant knowingly killed Cheri Ann Hartman, and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, desires to proceed on a murder charge.”

Hartman’s attorney, Mark Cox of Richmond, responded this week by asking a judge to dismiss all the charges, saying the assisted suicide count and the new murder charge are based on the same allegations.

“They have been the same alleged facts for three years, four months and three days, or 1,222 days,” he wrote.

If convicted, Hartman could face up to 65 years in prison.

His trial is set to start on Sept. 6.