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The IndyStar reports that Stephanie Murry, 25, and Sandra Hurn, 38, have been charged with making false claims in order to collect a total of $22,500 from the Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund and the Indiana Tort Claim Fund. Seven people were killed and dozens injured when 80 mile per hour winds toppled over the scaffolding and stage rigging at the state fair, just minutes before country duo Sugarland were set to perform.
Hurn went to the hospital just a few hours after the accident, claiming she was injured at the show. She returned the following afternoon, combining those medical records with other documents that prosecutors claim she falsified, in order to further prove her "injuries." She even stole an 11-year-old's patient identification code, which hospital officials later discovered. Hurn was initially given a $7,500 check from the remembrance fund.
But here's where she really went wrong: According to court documents, when Hurn was questioned by detectives, she said Sugarland performed "a couple of songs" before the stage collapsed. In fact, the country stars never performed in Indianapolis that night, as their tour manager decided to hold the band backstage until the storm passed.
Murry's claim was denied, as her apparently self-inflicted injuries didn't meet qualifications. Hurn blames Murry for stealing emergency room forms and for hatching the scheme from the start. She quoted her friend as saying, "Whoo, I'm gone (sic) play like I was there. I went there anyway -- to the hospital. You oughta seen me. I fell out on the floor and I performed. I went in there, so I definitely got the medical records to prove it."
Hurn faces felony charges of forgery, perjury, theft and attempted theft. She could spend a maximum of 36 years in prison if convicted. Murry faces 14 years in jail, for her felony charges of forgery, perjury and attempted theft. Both women will go to trial Feb. 27.
"It is particularly troubling that individuals would attempt to illegally profit upon a tragedy such as the State Fair stage collapse," Marion County prosecutor Terry Curry tells the IndyStar. "We have zero tolerance for those who wish to gain at the misfortune of others ... I do not understand the mentality of someone who would look at the circumstances of that night and see the potential for financial profit from this kind of scheme. Most of us would look at those circumstances and feel sympathy and a desire to help assist the real victims in any way we could."