DENIED: Floyd County judge will not let convicted killer change his name
Jeramy Lloyd Heavrin wants to become Jayson Lee Archer -- but a Floyd County judge isn't letting the name change happen.
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- A Floyd County court has denied a convicted murderer's request for a name change.
Jeramy Lloyd Heavrin is a convicted murderer who was released from jail in November of 2016.
According to a news release from Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson, a judge found that a request made by Heavrin to have his name changed to Jayson Lee Archer, "was an attempt to hide his conviction and mislead the public as to his criminal history."
As a result, that judge denied Heavrin's request on Thursday.
In January 1995, Heavrin was found guilty of killing 23-year-old Jennifer Rose Johnson. Investigators said he asked Johnson out on a date, and when she refused, he strangled her. As a result, he was sentenced to 60 years in prison. He was released on Nov. 11, 2016.
Last month, when Heavrin made his case for the name change before a judge, Cecil Johnson, the victim's father, was there to argue against it.
"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of her," he said. "She was a good person. He got to stalking her, got to following her, because of her looks."
But Heavrin argued that those standing in the way of his request were motivated by discrimination.
"When you do your time, you expect to be able to move on with your life when you get out," Heavrin said. "That's what the whole premise of the DOC was established for. At the end of the day, it's their mission statement. Are they going to honor it?"
Heavrin told the judge the system wasn't working for him. He was fired as manager of a Jeffersonville Pizza Hut because he said disgruntled former employees googled him and found out about his conviction.
The only way to move forward, he told a judge, was to leave his name behind. But the Johnson family thought there were other motives.
"The only reason he's wanting to change his name is so he can hide and deceive people and hide from his past," Cecil Johnson said.
"Whether the judge grants, or whether he doesn't, it's not going to help my daughter," Cecil Johnson added. "But it might help your daughter or somebody else's daughter down the road."
According to the news release, the judge's decision on Thursday was based in part on the judge's belief that the public has a right to know that Heavrin is a convicted murderer.
"The judge, in his order, noted that though Heavrin [sic] argued in the hearing that his desire to change his name was because of hardship and discrimination, the judge noted that Heavrin's attempt to put a spin on his situation was an attempt to conceal a material fact, which is intentional fraud," the news release states.
"The judge further noted that, after observing Heavrin during the hearing, he did not find Heavrin to be credible."
Now Johnson's family is hoping to permanently change Indiana law to ensure similar situations don't happen to other families.
Representative Ed Clere is backing them. Clere told WDRB, when Heavrin committed the crime, law didn't require him to register as a violent offender, which gave him the chance to apply for a different name.
The law has changed since the 90s, so had the crime happened today, a new name wouldn't have been an option.
Clere plans to make his case for the change in Indiana law during the next legislative session.
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