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Logan Owsley, the son of Cary Owsley, speaks during a rally Nov. 20, 2013, outside the Bartholomew County Courthouse. The Republic file photo

A decision whether Logan Owsley can continue to be considered an heir in the Cary Owsley estate is in the hands of a Marion County Superior Court probate judge.

Attorneys representing Logan Owsley and those representing Bartholomew County spent about a half hour Tuesday presenting arguments in Indianapolis in the case, said Trent McCain, the attorney who represents Logan Owsley.

Probate Judge Steven R. Eicholtz took the matter under advisement and attorneys do not know when a ruling will be issued, McCain said.

The probate hearing is the latest court battle in ongoing litigation which began when Logan Owsley filed a federal lawsuit April 7, 2015, against eight current or former Bartholomew County officials over the investigation into his father Cary Owsley’s 2013 shooting death at his Zephyr Village home.

The lawsuit alleges obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice based on discrimination, failure to intervene, hindering access to courts and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The lawsuit stems from the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department investigation into Cary Owsley’s death. Cary Owsley was found dead from a gunshot wound April 7, 2013, which the county coroner ruled a suicide.

Named in the lawsuit are former Bartholomew County Sheriff Mark E. Gorbett, current and former deputies E. DeWayne Janes Sr., Dean A. Johnson, Christie L. Nunemaker, Brent E. Worman, William R. Kinman Jr. and Christopher M. Roberts, as well as Coroner Larry Fisher.

The suicide ruling was challenged by Cary Owsley’s sister, Cheryl Jackson, who said Bartholomew County officials botched the investigation and lost and mishandled much of the evidence that could prove Cary Owsley was murdered.

In Bartholomew County, Special Judge Richard Poynter ruled Feb. 10 in Bartholomew Circuit Court that the Cary Owsley estate should be closed and Logan Owsley could keep the federal lawsuit as abandoned property from the estate. This ruling allowed Logan Owsley to have standing in his federal lawsuit, his attorneys said.

When Logan Owsley’s attorneys reopened the Cary Owsley estate in Marion County, attorneys for the Bartholomew County defendants challenged that estate filing, requesting the estate proceedings be dismissed, leading to Tuesday’s hearing in probate court.

Attorneys for the county defendants filed a motion giving 14 amended defenses why the federal lawsuit should be dismissed, including alleging that Logan Owsley lacks proper standing to bring the claims set forth in his federal lawsuit.

In an earlier interview, McCain said if the Marion County judge dismisses Logan Owsley’s estate case in probate court, it could affect his standing in the federal lawsuit. There is case law, however, that provides a surviving heir can bring a federal lawsuit, not just an estate, McCain said earlier.

What's next

Attorneys for Logan Owsley and for eight Bartholomew County defendants in a civil federal lawsuit are awaiting a ruling in Marion County Superior probate court on whether Logan Owsley will retain his rights as heir in the Cary Owsley estate.

In the federal lawsuit, a telephone conference is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. Thursday about case status and readiness for an upcoming settlement conference, according to court records.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.