Daycare shooting suspect turns himself in 

click to enlarge Christopher Justice - COURTESY OF IMPD
  • Christopher Justice
  • Courtesy of IMPD
On Tuesday morning we reported that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department needed help finding a man suspected of shooting his estranged wife in the parking lot of a Westside KinderCare.

The suspect, Christopher Justice, turned himself in to authorities Wednesday in Lexington, Ky. The victim, 31-year-old Shirley Justice, remains hospitalized in critical condition with 13 bullets in her body, according to a Thursday morning report by WTHR. Their 6-year-old daughter, who had just been dropped off, was not harmed in the shooting.

Channel 13 also posted statements issued by the families of both the victim and the accused.

Reporters said that although Shirley had reported domestic violence and filed protective orders in the past, a P.O. was not in place at the time of the shooting.

The unfolding story is also drawing attention to the family court system. The Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday announced the appointment of Special Judge David Shaheed to the Justice's divorce case after Marion County Superior Court Judge Patrick L. McCarty failed to make a timely ruling in the matter. The case's chronological summary shows that it has been open since 2008.

Officially known as Trial Rule 53 and unofficially (and not to everyone's delight) "the lazy judge rule," this legal procedure allows petitions for change of venue if officials determine a judge fails to execute his or her duty to set a hearing or rule on a motion within 30 days of its filing. The also requires the judge who delayed ruling to submit to the U.S. Supreme Court a report stating the reasons for the delay.

The courts withdrew jurisdiction 40 times under Trial Rule 53 in 2012, the last year of complete record, according to Kathryn Dolan, public information officer for the Indiana Supreme Court.

Trial Rule 53 was also at issue in NUVO's Dec. 4 "Fractured Families" cover story. The divorce, custody, domestic violence and stalking issues, floated through several different courtrooms as the core problems continued to fester unresolved - and evidence that a cycle of violence and abuse was underway stood all but ignored by the justice system.

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