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County assists victim’s mother attend hearings

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The county will use up to $3,400 in money seized in drug investigations so that the mother of a murder victim will be able to attend the hearings of a convicted killer.

The money will allow Connie Sutton, the mother of murdered Franklin College student Kelly Eckart, to pay for a hotel room and travel expenses so she can attend hearings on whether Michael Dean Overstreet can be executed. Overstreet was convicted of abducting, raping and killing Eckart and then dumping her body near Camp Atterbury in 1997.

The hearing, which will determine whether Overstreet is mentally competent to be executed, was originally supposed to be in Franklin, but Judge Cynthia Emkes was excused from the case due to health reasons. The Indiana Supreme Court reassigned the case to a judge in South Bend.

Overstreet’s hearing currently is scheduled for September.

Sutton has attended every hearing in Overstreet’s murder case and appeals, but she lives alone and can’t afford to make the trip, Prosecutor Brad Cooper said. The money is coming from forfeiture funds, which are seized in drug cases.

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