The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that the 51 guns seized from Robert Redington, a man suspected of mental illness and apparently obsessed with missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer, would not be returned to him. The 2-1 decision is expected to be contested with a request for Supreme Court review.
On Aug. 4, 2012, Redington was found by Bloomington police on the third floor of a parking garage with a laser range finder trained on Kilroy’s, a bar across the street where Spierer was seen on June 3, 2011, the night she disappeared after partying with friends. Authorities found two loaded handguns in Redington’s pockets as well as a loaded shotgun in the trunk of his car. He had a license to carry the handguns, and all the other weapons bore legal licensing.
But upon questioning, police became concerned with Redington’s mental state. He told officers “that he owned a rifle that ‘he had sighted in at that distance of 66 yards’ and that ‘he could shoot accurately at that distance.’” Redington went on to say that he had met Spierer before her disappearance, and that “he thought that she would come back and he would see her either through spirit or her physical body.” He said he had a premonition about Spierer’s disappearance before it happened. According to court records, Redington also claimed that he saw “spirits and dark entities” and that “he had guns on him and it made [him] feel ... courageous.”
After the interview, authorities took Redington to an Indiana University medical facility to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, where he was held for three days and diagnosed with a moderate personality disorder. Until that point, Redington had no history of mental illness or violence tendencies. A subsequent search of his home revealed that he had 48 more firearms in his possession. The weapons were seized, but he was not arrested.
The Court of Appeals decision found that, under Indiana law, Redington presents a danger, and as such, Bloomington authorities have the right to retain possession of his weapons.
Guy Relford, the attorney representing Redington, said he expects Redington to request a review by the Indiana Supreme Court.
“I respect the court’s opinion, but I respectfully disagree with the majority,” Relford said. “The law has an appropriate purpose, which is to keep guns out of the hands of people who are dangerous. But I do not believe the evidence showed Mr. Redington was or is dangerous.”
Deputy Attorney General Brian Reitz, who represented the state in the appellate case, disagreed with Relford saying that Redington’s behavior along with his large stockpile of weapons constituted a possible threat.
“There’s no reason the state has to wait until there’s actually been violence or until something actually happens before it can act,” he said.