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Steuben prosecutor leaving; deputy steps up

Steuben County will get a new prosecutor a bit sooner than expected.

Michael Hess, the current prosecutor who did not run for re-election, announced his retirement Monday effective at the end of next month so that he can pursue an assistant professor job at Trine University.

Jeremy Musser, the county’s chief deputy prosecutor, will assume all the responsibilities of the prosecutor beginning Aug. 1.

Musser is also running for the prosecutor’s office, having won the Republican primary and is currently unopposed in the November election.

“He has tremendous trial skills,” Hess said of Musser. “He’s been involved in the process from the very beginning, and he’s proven to be an excellent trial attorney. I feel very comfortable with him.”

Hess won the prosecutor’s seat in the 2010 election.

Hess said he planned to retire upon the end of his term – set to culminate Jan. 1 – but Trine wanted him to start his new job in the school of criminal justice during the fall semester.

“I just saw it online and decided to apply,” Hess said of the position.

“I have taught over there as an adjunct professor, and knew it was something I wanted to do.”

Musser graduated from Hamilton High School in Steuben County and earned a bachelor of science in criminal justice from IPFW.

He graduated with a law degree from Regent University, according to his official Facebook page.

Musser will serve as prosecuting attorney until the position is confirmed by a caucus of the Steuben Republican Party, according to a statement from Hess’s office.

While his retirement was inevitable, Hess said he will miss aspects of the job, but most of all he’ll miss the arena where his skills were put to the test and on display.

“I’m going to miss the courtroom,” he said. “It’s one of those things where it’s different every single day. I’m going to miss that.”