Victim's Family, Friends Fill Courtroom for Murder Suspect's Arraignment

With his arms and legs in shackles, the man accused of killing a young Warrick County woman late last month made his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutors have filed four charges against Isaiah Hagan, 22, including murder and murder during the commission of a robbery in connection with the death of Halee Rathgeber, 20, near the Alcoa Soccer Fields in late April.

Hagan faces charges of murder, murder during the commission of a robbery (felony murder), robbery causing serious bodily injury and obstruction of justice charges. The murder charges carry a possible sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison. At this point, prosecutors have not notified the court that they intend to seek capital punishment.

Prosecutors have alleged that Hagan robbed Rathgeber of her phone, wallet, keys and cash. The obstruction of justice charge stems from Hagan's alleged altering or damaging of the phone. 

Details surrounding Hagan's alleged involvement in Rathgeber's death remain sealed by court order, according to Warrick County Prosecutor Mike Perry. This is being done while investigators continue to gather information and evidence, Perry said.

Dozens of Rathgeber's friends and family members filled the gallery.

"I think you're going to find people that are invested in this case because of the nature of the crime. This young lady touched a lot of people," Perry said. "I was impressed the other day that her restaurant that she worked at actually closed down to allow the employees to attend her memorial service, which I thought was the classiest thing I've ever seen. There's a lot of emotion in a case like this."

Rathgeber worked as a server at Texas Roadhouse on Evansville's east side. Restaurant management paid for her funeral services. They are also working on establishing a scholarship in Halee's name at USI, where the young woman was studying to become a nurse.

While the details surrounding Hagan's alleged involvement remain sealed by court order, Perry said his arrest was the result of cooperation between numerous different law enforcement agencies.

"The Warrick County Sheriff's Department, Indiana State Police, FBI, DEA, ATF," Perry said. "It was crazy the amount of cooperation that we had. I'm certainly proud to be a member of this team."

Hagan, who was working at a local home improvement store prior to his arrest, was determined to be indigent and was appointed a public defender. His appointed public defender, Jonathan Young, was not in attendance at Tuesday's hearing.

Hagan will make his next court appearance June 5.


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