Man hires lawyers to defend murder charge

MARKLEVILLE — A March 13 hearing date previously set in the murder case against Joseph M. Hartley, 29, was reset by Madison Circuit Judge 4 David Happe.

Hartley is now expected to appear for the preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. March 20.

Hartley was charged Dec. 13 with murder in connection with the strangulation death of his high school friend, Uriah T. Wilson, 29, of Pendleton.

Hartley has been housed at the Hamilton County Detention Center since his arrest because Wilson was an employee of the Madison County Detention Center at the time of his death.

Hartley initially appointed public defender Alexander Newman; however, court records show Indianapolis attorney James Voyles filed his notice to represent Hartley Feb. 8, and Pendleton attorney Bryan Williams filed Feb. 27 as co-counsel.

Hartley is expected to argue self defense.

Hartley and his wife, Esther Voss, who had been living in Germany, were visiting his father in Markleville when Wilson went to the house to spend time with his friend. They were sitting around a campfire on the grounds behind a garage when Wilson pulled out his handgun and fired off a shot, according to police reports.

Voss said she was frightened by the gunfire and decided to go back to the house. Later, she told police, her husband came running from behind the garage shouting for them to call help. He said Wilson tried to kill him, according to reports later filed by Indiana State Police. Help was dispatched at 11:36 p.m.

The call for help initially reported a shooting; however, Madison County Coroner Marianne Dunnichay said an autopsy revealed that Wilson died as a result of strangulation.

Madison Circuit Courts have relocated their facilities to the Flagship buildings near I-69 at Pendleton Pike (State Road 67) exit during removal of asbestos materials from the courthouse on West Ninth Street in Anderson.