Denny change of plea hearing postponed

A change of plea hearing has been postponed for a local man accused of stabbing his roommate to death.

Daniel Joel Denny, 20, 1075 Robert Drive — B, is charged with murder for the June 1st stabbing death of one of his roommates, Eric Cavanaugh. Both the defendant and the victim were 19 at the time.

On Oct. 11, Denny was brought from jail to the courtroom of Bartholomew Circuit Judge Kelly Benjamin. But moments before his change of plea hearing was scheduled to begin, a staff member told the judge that Denny’s court-appointed lawyer, Chris Monroe, was ill and unable to attend.

Although the judge rescheduled the hearing to Monday morning, a court spokeswoman said the hearing was delayed again. It has not yet been rescheduled, the spokeswoman said.

While in the ambulance, the victim told officers he had no fight or argument with the defendant, according to court affidavits. Nevertheless, Cavanaugh said Denny began explaining to him “why he was going to hurt me” before the stabbing took place in their apartment, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Cavanaugh died a short time after arriving at Columbus Regional Hospital.

In July, Monroe gave formal notice that he “intends to interpose an insanity defense” on behalf of his client. Invoking an insanity defense means the defense has the responsibility to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant suffers from a mental disease or defect.

The defense also has to prove the psychological problem rendered the defendant unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of their conduct at the time of the offense, according to Indiana law.

At this time, a jury trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 9.