Convicted Murderer Denied New Trial Amid Claims of Prosecutorial Misconduct

MUNCIE, Ind. — A convicted murderer in Delaware Circuit Court has been denied a petition for a new trial after claiming prosecutorial misconduct. Marcus Hanyard, 29, was found guilty in February 2018 of murder, conspiracy to commit burglary, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

On Feb. 9, 2017, Hanyard broke into the home of a well-known drug dealer in Muncie and fatally shot Zack Farmer in the head, chest, and legs. According to court documents, Hanyard had discussed robbing the dealer, Isaiah Davis, with Matt Fisher and three others. Fisher, who purchased drugs from Davis, provided information on the location of the drugs and the number of people in the home.

The day before the murder, Davis contacted Fisher to arrange a drug purchase. When Fisher informed Hanyard of the quantities of marijuana and Xanax Davis possessed, Hanyard suggested they rob him. Farmer and another person were present at Davis’ home when Hanyard broke in.

Hanyard later confided in Fisher about being involved in a shootout at Davis’ home and showed a graze wound on his leg as evidence. Police and other witnesses confirmed seeing the wound after the murder, and Hanyard’s cellphone records placed him near Davis’ home at the time of the shooting.

Following his trial, Hanyard was sentenced to 61 years in federal prison. He appealed his convictions, arguing that the state had not presented sufficient evidence against him. However, the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected his appeal in January 2019.

On May 13, 2022, Hanyard filed a petition for post-conviction relief, claiming ineffective counsel and denial of the right to counsel during his trial. He also cited a number of errors and newly discovered evidence that he believed should lead to his convictions being overturned.

A court hearing was held on Aug. 16, 2023, where all of Hanyard’s claims were denied. The judge ruled that Hanyard had failed to raise concerns about prosecutorial misconduct, counsel, evidence, and claims of error during his direct appeal.

Hanyard is currently incarcerated in the Indiana Department of Correction, with a tentative release date of Feb. 7, 2066.