Sister-in-law of murdered couple frustrated by delayed trials

More than a year after police say a convicted murderer killed his brother and sister-in-law, the case still hasn’t gone to trial.

Steven Clippenger is charged with fatally shooting Matt and Lisa Clippinger in their Mishawaka home last June – while their kids were also inside.

He previously served 20 years in prison for the 1990 murder of 66-year-old Robert Gibson.

The double murder case was supposed to go to trial in September, but was pushed back until January 2014 because a mitigation expert had to get involved.

“We were hoping it would be a little more open and shut,” said the couple’s sister-in-law, Chris Clippinger. “But, unfortunately, killers have rights, too.”

Chris says having the trial pushed back multiple times has been difficult on the entire family, but especially Matt and Lisa’s two children.

“It’s frustrating when you're trying to get closure in your life from such a traumatic event, especially for the kids,” she said. “I just can't even imagine how they felt about the whole thing.”

While the kids were inside at the time of the horrific crime, Chris says there are still many details they won’t know about the night of June 2, 2012 until the case goes to trial. While they know Matt and Lisa were both shot, the prosecution hasn’t told them where or what exactly happened.

“It’s very hard,” Chris said. “Especially when my husband’s like, ‘Why couldn’t they have saved him? They were just south of the hospital.’”

The family will be back in court in October for a record date. At that hearing, the mitigation expert could ask for more time before the case goes to trial.

Chris is hopeful that doesn’t happen and a judge will decide Steven’s fate shortly after the New Year so the family can finally get some closure.

But, even then, she says the murder of Matt and Lisa is a tragedy the family will never fully recover from.

“I think it would be easier to accept if it was just some random bad guy coming in to try and rob them,” she said. “But, to actually have your family member do this to another family member that you claim to love and cherish, it damages your psyche. It really does.”

Steven’s girlfriend, Jenifer Leveque, is accused of helping him commit the crime.

She faces charges of assisting a criminal and giving a handgun to a felon.

Her trial is scheduled for February 2014.

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