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Indiana Man Back From the Dead

July 10, 1989

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) _ Homer E. Williams caused quite a stir when he visited his attorneys’ office after they had sworn in court he was dead.

″I said, ’Feel me. I’m warm,‴ said Williams, who left town on a fishing trip in February and came home to find he’d been declared legally dead, with his will opened in probate court.

He said he also asked his attorneys if they’d have to shoot him, ″to keep from messing up their files. But they said they’d get it worked out.″

And so they did. Williams, 63, was declared legally alive Friday by Vanderburgh Superior Court Judge Robert Lensing.

Williams’ ″death,″ it turns out, was a case of mistaken identity.

During Williams’ trip to Alabama in February, a 93-year-old man with the same name and middle initial died in Evansville. According to court documents, someone at the law firm of Lacey, Terrell, Annakin, Heldt & Baugh noticed the obituary in The Evansville Courier and, as the law firm representing Williams, promptly filed his will for probate and had him declared dead.

Meanwhile, their client was fishing in Alabama and his wife was out of town in Illinois.

The firm sent the widow a letter of condolence, which Williams opened when he returned about 10 days later.

″I thought it was hilarious. My wife said I’d better go talk to the lawyers,″ he said.

Williams didn’t get around to it until May 18, then the law firm filed its papers and the court acted Friday by resealing the will and revoking the probate, calling Williams ″the alleged decedent.″

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