ON DEATH ROW SINCE 11-21-03
DOC: #881037 White Male
Dearborn County Circuit Court
Judge James D. Humphrey
Venued from Morgan County
Cause #: 15C01-0101-CF-54
Prosecutor: Steven P. Sonnega, Terry E.
Defense: William Vanderpol, Jr., Douglas
Date of Murder: June 14, 2001 (Shooting);
July 10, 2001 (Death of Officer Starnes)
Victim: Daniel Starnes W / M / 46 (Morgan
County Warrant Officer and Reserve - No relationship to Pruitt)
Method of Murder: Shooting with .45
Summary: Having information that
Pruitt had been involved in a burglary a few days earlier in
Bloomington and may have stolen guns in the vehicle,
Morgan County Deputy Dan Starnes pulled Pruitt
over on a rural county road. Pruitt had a scanner in his car, and it
is believed that he overheard Deputy Starnes say that he was going
to search the vehicle.
Pruitt then got out and pulled a .45 caliber
handgun. A gun battle ensued, with Deputy Starnes suffering five
gunshot wounds to his chest and abdomen. He died from these injuries
almost a month later on July 10, 2001.
Pruitt was shot seven times, but recovered.
Pruitt also shot at the 19 year old son of Deputy Starnes, Ryan, who
was in the vehicle as part of a summer internship program.
Pruitt had prior felony convictions of Robbery (C
Felony) in 1981, and Forgery (C Felony) in 1988, which served as a
basis for the Habitual Offender adjudication.
Conviction: Murder, Attempted
Murder (A Felony), Possession of Firearm by Serious Violent Felon (B
Felony), Receiving Stolen Property (D Felony) (4 Counts), Resisting
Law Enforcement (D Felony), Habitual Offender.
Sentencing: November 21, 2003 (Death
Sentence, 50 years, 20 years, 3 years, 3 years, 3 years, 3 years, 3
years, 30 years, consecutive for a total of 115 years imprisonment)
b (6) Victim was law enforcement officer
Mental Retardation, IQ of 60,
Mental Illness, Repeated head injuries,
Medical malpractice caused death of Deputy Starnes.