Michele Daughtery

Michele Daughtery

Noblesville Man Charged In Wife's, Cat's Death

Officers Find Lonnie Daughtery's Wife, Cat Dead In Ky. Hotel Room

June 26, 2011

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WRTV-6) -- An Noblesville man was charged with murder and animal cruelty after his wife and cat were found dead in a Kentucky hotel room, police said.

Kentucky police said Lonnie Daughtery, 37, of Noblesville, Ind., was arrested at around 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Holiday Inn Express in Elizabethtown, Ky., which is about an hour southwest of Louisville.

Officers said they found the body of Michele Daughtery, 45, and a dead cat when the entered the hotel room.

Police said Lonnie Daughtery told them he was helping his wife commit suicide.

Elizabethtown Police Sgt. Tim Cleary said Lonnie Daughtery didn’t say why his wife wanted to commit suicide, but added he strangled her to aid in the attempt.

Police said Lonnie Daughtery was taken to Hardin Memorial Hospital with “superficial injuries.”


A Noblesville man is in jail accused of murdering his wife while the couple was in Kentucky.

Detectives charged Lonnie Daughtery with murder and cruelty to animals. Police said they found 47-year-old Michele Daughtery's body Saturday inside a room at the Holiday Inn Express in Elizabethtown, KY. Lonnie Daughtery was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. Detectives claim that is when Lonnie Daughtery told them he strangled his wife, helping her commit suicide. Detectives accuse him of killing their cat, which was also in the hotel room.

"I know Lonnie well enough to know he would do anything that Michele would've asked him," Dorothy Castle said. Dorothy Castle lives near the Daughtery's Noblesville home. Castle said she met the couple four years ago when they moved into the Lions Creek, a Morse Lake community.

Castle described the couple as the nicest people, impossible not to like. She said the couple lost their apartment around the time they found out Michele had cancer. She said the Daughtery's wanted to travel before Michele became too ill.

"I understood I guess that he did what he thought he had to do, but I was really upset because I just….I don't know how to explain to people the way this man loved this woman. He did it out of love. There was no in any way shape or form this man had any malicious {intent}. He loved her with everything he had and he gave up his life for her," Castle said.

Castle said she spoke to the couple on Friday. "Something must have happened to make this decision. I always knew she would make some decision, but i never thought it would happen like that," she said.

Lonnie Daughtery is at the Hardin County Detention Center in Kentucky where he faces a murder charge and cruelty to animals, 1st degree.

Roy L. Orman

Man, woman face murder charges as bodies are identified

Police: Gunshot wounds likely the cause of deaths

June 24, 2011

SALEM — The two bodies found on a property near Salem have been preliminarily identified, Indiana State Police said Friday.

Also Friday, Timothy R. Orman, 25, and Tammy M. Spengler, 23, who reside at different addresses in Palmyra, were charged with two counts of murder, two counts of aiding, inducing or causing murder and class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy for violating a protective order.

Although positive identifications have not been made due to the condition of the bodies, the victims have been tentatively identified as Orman’s father and uncle — Timothy M. Orman, 54, of 7600 Rosebud Road, and Roy L. Orman, 48, of 7598 Rosebud Road, an ISP press release says.

ISP also said Friday that the preliminary cause of death is gunshot wounds to both victims, although additional tests must be run to confirm the official cause. At least one neighbor reported hearing gunshots Sunday night.

The bodies were found in an outbuilding at 7600 Rosebud Road after the Washington County Sheriff’s Department received a phone call shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday reporting the location of two deceased people. The state police have not identified who placed the phone call.

Spengler was arrested for murder after the bodies were located. Orman was arrested earlier in the day Wednesday for criminal trespass after a vehicle became stuck on a property in the 6400 block of Phillip Schmidt Road in Floyds Knobs.

At about 11:30 a.m., two men called the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department reporting a suspicious man on their property. Orman told the men his vehicle got stuck. He was covered in mud and not wearing shoes. The witnesses said he was “not making sense.”

An officer arrived and said Orman was not able to stand still as he described how they got stuck in the mud. He said they got lost driving to Greenville and attempted to turn around on the property.

He said he left Spengler, who was driving, near the vehicle when he went to get help. Spengler had left the scene when police arrived. The men who owned the property said they wanted Orman to be arrested for criminal trespass. He was transported to the Floyd County Jail.

The vehicle, a 1978 blue and white flatbed pickup truck registered to Roy Orman, was found in a ditch about 75 to 100 yards from the roadway.

Police impounded the vehicle.

See post for dear brother Timothy M. Orman.

Timothy M. Orman

Salem Murder Victims Tentatively Identified

Man, Woman Arrested On Murder Charges

June 24, 2011

SALEM, IN (WAVE) - The two people suspected of killing two Salem, Indiana men made their initial appearance in a Washington County Circuit courtroom on Friday.

So far, officials have only been able to tentatively identify the victims as Timothy M. Orman, and Roy L. Orman, both of Salem. The Washington County Coroner's Office and the Kentucky Medical Examiner's Office continue to work on making positive identifications.

26-year-old Timothy R. Orman and 24-year-old Tammy M. Spengler are accused of murdering the two men. Timothy M. is Timothy R.'s father and Roy is his uncle.

According to the probable cause affidavit Spengler called 9-1-1 Wednesday to turn herself in. She said the bodies of the two men were in an outbuilding on W. Rosebud Road and had been there for about two weeks.

"I guess after they had had the building open the buzzards started," said neighbor Meredith Baker. "They had gotten the smell...and that was it. I had to get out of here for awhile."

The preliminary cause of death for both victims is gunshot wounds. Additional tests are being done to determine the official cause of death.

"I always thought that Timmy could be dangerous," said Baker. "I though that boy was a problem."

Baker said she remembers hearing a gunshot from their house about two weeks before police discovered their bodies, but it's not unusual to hear gunshots in that neighborhood and Roy hunted.

The time of death for both victims has still not been determined.

See post for dear brother Roy L. Orman.

Jacqueline Baxter

Restraining Order Filed Day Woman Died

June 22, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Indianapolis Metropolitan Police homicide detectives have identified the woman found dead in her home Tuesday as 54-year-old Jacqueline Baxter.

Officers got the call around 10 a.m. Tuesday and rushed to the 9700 block of East 86th Street where they found Baxter’s body. Officers are calling the incident a death investigation.

However, court documents obtained by 24-Hour News 8 show that Baxter said she was in an abusive relationship with her husband Michael Sparks. A restraining order against Sparks was filed on the same day police found Baxter’s body.

In the court document, Baxter says her husband abused her and said, “If I don't live here, you don't either. To death do us part.” She also said she thought her husband was using drugs.

Police say Sparks is not yet a person of interest in the case and has not been arrested.

Officers are waiting on the results of an autopsy before they know exactly how Baxter died.


Jacqueline passed away in June 2011. Jacqueline was last known to be living in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Visitation: Saturday, July 2, 2011 10:00 am - 12:00 Noon Trinity C.M.E. Church.Service: Saturday, July 2, 2011 12:00 Noon Trinity C.M.E. Church Interment: Floral Park Cemetery.

(We are still watching for any further word on autopsy results, etc, and will post anything when it is publicized.  It has been frustrating not seeing anything yet, but we assume this is to keep details of the case quiet as authorities work on it.)

Dawn Marie Fital

Dawn Marie Fital

Body of Missing Michigan Woman Found in a Suitcase in Indiana

By Marlena Baldacci, CNN
June 17, 2011 6:43 a.m. EDT

(CNN) -- An extradition hearing will be held Friday for the boyfriend of a Michigan woman whose body was pulled from a swamp in Indiana, authorities said.

Divers found the body of Dawn Marie Fital, 45, stuffed in a suitcase Thursday.  Her legs, arms and head were bound with duct tape, said Rob Arnold, a spokesman for the Lake County police.  The 45-year-old had been missing since Monday.

Her boyfriend, Greg Noack, 44, was taken into police custody in Merrillville, Indiana, near where her body was discovered.  Michigan prosecutors have charged the suspect, who is being held in Indiana, with murder.  He will appear for an extradition hearing at the Lake County magistrate court jail Friday morning.

Police believe he killed Fital in Michigan, then drove across state lines, where he dumped her body in Indiana.  There is no word on when Fital's body will be returned to Michigan.  An autopsy has been scheduled for Saturday.


PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJBK) - Dawn Marie Fital, 45, became famous as a pool playing sharpshooter. An autopsy report released this weekend reveals she was suffocated. Police say her boyfriend, Greg Noack, 44, murdered her, stuffed her body in a suitcase, and dumped it in a pond 200 miles away in Indiana. Noack was arraigned on murder charges in Ypsilanti Saturday. He's the one who told police in Merrillville, Indiana that Fital was missing.

Visitation for Dawn Fital will be held Monday from 4-8pm and Tuesday from 2-8pm at the Ochalek-Stark Funeral Home, 218 East Main St., Milan. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 11am at the same location.

Randall P. Poore

New Castle Man Charged in Dad's Death

June 16, 2011

NEW CASTLE, Ind. (WISH) - A New Castle man has been charged in his father’s death.

New Castle police said Randall P. Poore, 69, was found dead Thursday in his Indiana Avenue residence. His son, Johnny Ray Poore, 41, New Castle, was arrested and charged with murder.

The father was found with a chest wound, but the Henry County coroner has scheduled an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

The son is being held in Henry County Jail awaiting a preliminary hearing, set for Friday.


A New Castle man told authorities he stabbed his father in the chest with a kitchen knife after an argument prompted by the son leaving behind a wet floor after taking a shower.

Johnny Ray Poore, 41, was formally charged Friday with murder in the Thursday death of his father, 69-year-old Raymond Poore.

The younger Poore was arrested Thursday afternoon after a member of their extended family reported finding the victim deceased in a chair, with a visible chest wound.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the woman said when she entered the Indiana Avenue apartment shared by the father and son, Johnny Poore told her, "I think Dad is dead in the chair."

Johnny Poore told authorities the stabbing took place after his father threatened to call police during the argument over the wet floor. The younger Poore also said he had not taken his medication for mental illnesses in recent days.

At an initial hearing Friday, Poore received an Oct. 11 trial date in Henry Superior Court One. He is being held without bond in the Henry County jail.

Marsha Cocot

Marsha Cocot, pictured in center

Woman Found Dead in Gas-Filled Home

June 14, 2011

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Emergency workers found a woman dead from a possible homicide after arriving at a South Bend house filled with natural gas.

Police say officers went to the home to check on the well-being of a woman Monday evening after her husband attempted suicide in Elkhart with an overdose of drugs and alcohol.

St. Joseph County Sheriff Mike Grzegorek tells WNDU-TV that investigators are trying to determine how 38-year-old Marsha Cocot died and whether the gas filling the house was meant to cover up a crime.

Utility crews shut off the gas line to the home and some nearby residents were evacuated from their homes for a time until the gas dispersed.

Grzegorek tells WSBT-TV that firefighters wearing respirators found Cocot's body while searching the house.


St. Joseph County Metro Homicide arrested Brian Cocot, 38, on a preliminarily charge of murder in relation to the death of his wife Marsha Cocot, 38.

A Tuesday morning autopsy determined Marsha Cocot died of asphyxiation and blunt force trauma sometime before 5:00 p.m. Monday.

Marsha Cocot was found in the 19700 block of Southland Avenue in St. Joseph County after officials responded to a gas leak inside her home around 5:30 p.m.

It’s believed that Cocot intentionally caused the gas leak to cover-up his wife’s death. Neighbors close to police say Cocot dumped gallons of gasoline throughout the house and ripped open natural gas lines before fleeing the home.

Only hours before Cocot’s wife was found, Elkhart Police responded to a suicide attempt and found Brian Cocot apparently trying to overdose on alcohol and pills.

Paramedics rushed Cocot to Elkhart General Hospital. He is currently being held at the St. Joseph County Jail until the Prosecutor’s Office reviews the case for formal charging.

If there is one thing about Southland Avenue that sticks out, it’s that people mind their own business.

"There were some internal problems going on there, but it's not my business, so I left it at that,” neighbor Kurt Vogler said.

Last year, neighbors say Brian Cocot took a sledgehammer to his interior attic walls in a fit of anger. That damage can still be seen poking out of the home’s roof.

"Brian went out of his way to do things for other people. It's just that you could see the aggressive side with Marsha and his dogs,” neighbor William Pellow said.

The shock of it all came with guilt.

"Instinctively I knew better. Something kept nagging at me, telling me something was wrong and I didn't listen to what I should have listened to,” neighbor Jan Cohen said.

Neighbors say the sound of fighting coming from the home increased with time in the quiet neighborhood.

"We're living across the street and we had no clue. We were completely oblivious as we're working or watching TV or cooking dinner. All throughout, this woman is going through God knows what, with a poor excuse for a man that murdered her,” Cohen added.

If this murder can teach people anything, it might just be to take more ownership in their neighbor's business.

"I let her down; we all let her down, shame on me,” Cohen concluded.

The gas leak was not the home’s first criminal incident, St. Joseph County Police responded twice in the last two weeks in reference to threat reports.

Neighbors say the mounting tension had a lot to do with Cocot's wife Marsha and a girlfriend he kept on the side.

Emergency workers say this incident could have ended much worse.  Simply put, the gas pressure inside the home was such that firefighters believe an explosion was imminent. Such a blast would have sent debris in every direction and likely taken out other homes on the block.

Eric Bell

Eric Bell

Man Found Fatally Shot At Apartments

Police Called To Hearts Landing In Fatal Shooting

June 10, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- A man was fatally shot early Friday morning on Indianapolis' east side during an apparent domestic argument.  Indianapolis police were called to the Hearts Landing Apartments, in the 9400 block of East 43rd Street, a little after 3:30 a.m.  Police found the body of Eric Bell, 23, after there were numerous reports of shots fired.

"There were several individuals present with the victim at the time officers arrived on scene, and they have been cooperating with detectives," said Indianapolis police Sgt. Linda Jackson.  Witnesses told police that a suspect came into the apartment and put a gun in the mouth of one of two female occupants.

According to witnesses, Bell told the suspect, whose identity wasn't immediately released, that he had to leave the apartment.  Bell and the man went outside, and the suspect shot Bell, witnesses told police.

Other information from Fox59

Police are interviewing several witnesses in an early morning east side homicide that happened in the Hearts Landing apartment complex. Shortly after 3:30am, the 911 call center received several reports of multiple shots fired in the area of 9400 E 43rd St.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers arrived a very short time later found Eric Bell shot to death in the parking lot.

"He was a good loving father and did a lot for family and didn't have enemies wasn't a trouble maker or nothing he was a good person and I don't understand why somebody would do him like that," said Quintel Williams the mother of victim's children.

Police say there was a domestic fight earlier in the evening that involved Eric Bell and a possible suspect that may have led to the shooting.  There were several people at the crime scene when officers arrived and police say they have been cooperating with detectives.

Quintel Williams says it will be difficult moving forward, "It's gonna be hard cause I don't know to explain to my kids about their father being gone but I got support we gonna make it through make it through."


INDIANAPOLIS -- A man was arrested Friday, hours after another man was fatally shot during an apparent domestic argument on Indianapolis' east side.

Indianapolis police said Kendall Johnson, 21, killed Eric Bell, 23, at about 3:30 a.m. at the Hearts Landing Apartments in the 9400 block of East 43rd Street.  Bell's body was found after there were numerous reports of shots fired in the area.

Police said Johnson was arrested Friday morning in the 6000 block of Massachusetts Avenue on two outstanding warrants involving battery and resisting law enforcement.  Witnesses told police the shooter came into the apartment and put a gun in the mouth of one of two female occupants.

According to witnesses, Bell told the man that he had to leave the apartment.  Bell and the man went outside, and the suspect shot Bell, witnesses told police.

Angela Holder

Bloomington Suspect in Stabbing Death of Woman Was Just Out of Jail

By Laura Lane
June 8, 2011

Angela Holder’s 16-year-old daughter came home Tuesday afternoon and found her family’s apartment locked and her mom’s car gone. So she and her grandmother contacted the maintenance man to let them inside, where they found Holder dead in a pool of blood.

The 39-year-old mother of two had been stabbed, at least nine times, in the neck and upper chest. Police believe her ex-boyfriend, 48-year-old Bruce Edward Foster, killed her with a butter knife he had attempted to use to pry open a window at the Canterbury Square apartment.

Foster, who lives in Southcrest Mobile Home Manor on Gordon Pike and has a lengthy criminal record, had not been arrested as of Wednesday evening. He is black, six-foot-one and weighs 142 pounds. Police say he is armed and dangerous..

Foster was released from jail Monday after a court hearing and is scheduled to be sentenced July 28 on charges of possessing cocaine and maintaining a common nuisance from an April 1 arrest.  During that hearing, a deputy prosecutor asked Judge Kenneth Todd to keep Foster in jail. Instead, the judge allowed Foster to be released and ordered him to check in daily at the probation department until the sentencing.  Holder attended the hearing, and when it was over asked where she should go to pick up Foster.  The very next day, police say, Foster killed Holder, who apparently had broken off their relationship for another man.

Bloomington Police Department Detective William Jeffers outlined in court Wednesday what police believe happened at 512 S. Basswood Drive, Apt. C, on Tuesday afternoon. Senior Judge Elizabeth Mann then issued an arrest warrant charging Foster with murder, auto theft and being a habitual criminal offender.

Jeffers gave the following account: A man who lives across from Holder’s apartment said he stepped outside to smoke a cigarette between 10 and 10:30 Tuesday morning. He reported seeing Foster with a 10-inch butter knife, trying to pry open a second-story window at Holder’s residence.

The victim then pulled up in her blue Chrysler Concorde, and she and Foster started arguing. The neighbor saw Foster holding the knife, and said Holder went inside and then threw what appeared to be Foster’s belongings out the door. He said Foster then forced his way into the apartment and the door closed.

He reported hearing “six or seven thumps” before Foster emerged from the front door, got into Holder’s car and drove away. Just five minutes passed, the neighbor said, from the time Holder came home to Foster leaving in her Chrysler.

The woman’s daughter told police Holder and Foster were no longer in a relationship.  “Her interest in another man may have been the motive for this crime,” Jeffers told the judge.

Foster’s criminal record in Monroe County goes back to a 1986 forgery charge. He has five felony convictions, for forgery, burglary, theft, fraud and receiving stolen property.  In Owen County, between 1997 and 2000, Foster was arrested for battery and for domestic battery against his former wife, who divorced him in 2002. Foster also was cited five times in Owen County for letting his dogs run loose.

Three times in the past, the Monroe County prosecutor’s office filed habitual offender petitions against Foster. Such a petition can be filed if a defendant has two prior unrelated felony convictions; it adds substantial jail time to a sentence.  Each time, the petitions were dismissed.

The first was in 2002, when Foster agreed to plead guilty to fraud if the habitual offender charge disappeared. The habitual offender sentence enhancement was filed again in 2008, when Foster was charged with battery on a corrections officer. Because the charge applies to prison staff and not to local jailers, it was reduced to a misdemeanor, so there was no felony conviction.

Then in August 2010, the prosecutor’s office filed a third habitual criminal petition against Foster when he was charged with theft for reaching through the open window of a car and stealing a purse.

“Although clearly that does constitute a felony theft, there were not sufficient aggravating circumstances to justify the imposition of that sanction,” Monroe County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Bob Miller said when asked why the habitual offender petition was dismissed. “We filed it to induce a guilty plea to the charge.”  Foster did plead guilty, to a less-serious charge of conversion, and spent 77 days in jail.

The victim and Sean Holder, the father of her two daughters, divorced in March 2009. Court records indicate that more than a year later, in May 2010, there were concerns about the custody and safety of the children.  Monroe Circuit Judge Francie Hill spoke with both parents and one of the daughters, then ordered the probation department to “conduct a criminal investigation of the mother’s current boyfriend, Bruce E. Foster.” The confidential report was made available to both parents for viewing in the judge’s office.


June 10, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The man wanted in connection with Tuesday’s fatal stabbing in Bloomington turned himself in to police Friday in Indianapolis.

Bruce Edward Foster, 48, was wanted in Bloomington on charges including murder in connection with the death of Angela Holder, who was found dead in her apartment Tuesday evening.

Witnesses told police they saw Foster and Holder arguing outside of her apartment on Basswood Drive earlier Tuesday, then Holder failed to show up for work Tuesday evening.

Police said Foster left the scene in Holder’s car. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police said Foster told them Friday that he drove the victim’s car to the Wheeler Mission in downtown Indianapolis

He is being held Friday in Marion County Jail on a hold for Monroe County. This is the second time Foster has been arrested in Indianapolis on a warrant out of Monroe County.

Devon Parsons

Devon Parsons

Two arrested for murder of 12-year-old

By Daniel Miller, WISH-TV
June 5, 2011

A 12 year-old Greensburg boy is dead. Police said Devin Parsons was murdered. The boy's mother and her boyfriend are now behind bars. It happened in the 600 block of E. Washington Street in Greensburg.

A lone teddy-bear sits outside near the home where Greensburg police say a 12 year-old Devin Parsons died Friday. Crime tape also surrounds the home where several police standing guard. Late Friday night police arrested the boy's mother, 29 year-old Tasha Parsons and her boyfriend, 30 year-old Waldo Jones. Investigators said little Devin was murdered.

"I kind of almost expected it, but definitely in awe, like wow," said Bobbie Gilland.

Gilland is Jones' sister. Gilland said she contacted authorities numerous times this year about the boy and his siblings’ safety. She told 24 Hour News 8 she alerted investigators the children inside the home were in danger.

"I told them about how he didn't allow the kids lunch; how he beat them if they missed the bus, they had to wake themselves up," Gilland said.

Gilland wasn't the only one who called police.  Stacy Damaree alerted authorities too.

"I called CPS numerous times myself, you know hoping that something would be done about these kids and now it's a shame that this had to happen this way," Damaree said.  "Even though Gilland and Damaree say they called police about what was going on inside that house, we weren't able to find anything on Tasha Parsons. However, we did find a criminal past on Waldo Jones.

According to Indiana Department of Corrections, Jones was released from prison in July of 2010.  Jones had been sentenced in August of 2009 for operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a prior conviction for OWI on his record.  "I just think something should have and could have been done," said Gilland.

Damaree said she's feels awful something like this happened.  "I hope that they wake up and realize that they are getting calls like this, this isn't no joke. This is children's lives," Damaree said.

The Decatur County Prosecutor released a statement to 24 Hour News 8.  James Rosenberry said his office anticipated filing criminal charges against Tasha Parsons Monday morning.


June 15, 2011

GREENSBURG, Ind. -- Court records detail a gruesome scene in the home of a 12-year-old boy police said was beaten to death by his mother.

The Decatur County coroner ruled last week that Devin Parsons, who was found dead in his family's Greensburg home June 3, died of multiple traumatic blunt-force trauma from head to toe.

Police said his mother, Tasha Parsons, 29, admitted to using her hands, feet, a belt and a metal tray to beat her son over a period of several hours while her boyfriend, Waldo Jones Jr., watched.

Court documents released Wednesday show police found blood in nearly every room in the home, on walls, furniture and clothing.

Investigators also took into evidence an empty medicine bottle, a framed picture of Devin with broken glass and dozens of cigarette butts throughout the home.

6News' Joanna Massee spoke Wednesday to Kristi Schofner, who called 911 the day Devin was found dead.

Schofner said Jones rode his bicycle to her home and told her the boy was unresponsive, telling her different versions of what had happened to the child.

"First, he was mentioning that he might have been drowned, then he said his mom laid on him and he couldn't breathe," Schofner said.

Schofner said she only met Devin Parsons a few times.

"They never ever had their kids. Devin watched the kids (his siblings) constantly if they weren't at her dad's house," Schofner said. "He didn't even have a good childhood. He had a miserable childhood."

Jones's former friend, Rick Peetz, said he also spoke with Jones after the beating.

"He said, 'There's a little boy up there, and I don't think he's breathing.' I said, 'Oh my God,'" Peetz recounted.

Jones was charged with neglect of a dependent causing death.

Parsons, who faces a murder charge, said she beat the boy because he had hidden her pain pills and wouldn't tell her where they were.

According to court records, the Department of Child Services had previously investigated Devin's home in 2009.

Lisa A. Hankins

Lisa A. "Nettie" Hankins

Gaston Reserve Officer Kills Estranged Wife

Police say Benjamin Hankins, 36, shot and killed his wife, Lisa A. Hankins, 32, Friday morning at his house in Harrison Township

MUNCIE (June 3, 2011) - Police say a reserve officer with the Gaston Police Department shot and killed his estranged wife Friday morning during a domestic dispute in his Harrison Township home.

The victim, Lisa A. "Nettie" Hankins, 32, was pronounced dead at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. She suffered multiple gunshot wounds, Delaware County Coroner Scott Hahn said.

Her husband, Benjamin Allan Hankins, 36, called 911 at 7:44 a.m. to report his wife had been shot in his house, in the 5800 block of North Delaware County Road 600-W, just north of Bethel Avenue. He was taken into custody at the scene and has been preliminarily charged with murder, according to Capt. Richard Pickett with the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

Lisa Hankins had filed for divorce last September, and the case was still pending at the time of her death, according to court records.

In a frantic call to 911 dispatchers, Benjamin Hankins reported his wife "pulled my gun on me. And then I shot back." (See update below).  Pickett on Friday night confirmed more than one weapon was found at the scene.

The police captain said the shooting occurred after Lisa Hankins had stopped at her husband's home so their two oldest children could catch the bus to Wes-Del Elementary School.  "It was during the time when kids were going to school and getting on the buses, and we're trying to find out all those details," Pickett said.

The couple's third child, who is 4, was apparently waiting outside in a car when her mother was shot.  "My wife and I were having an argument," Hankins said during one of three separate conversations with dispatchers.

Asked where his wife had been hit by gunfire, Hankins said there was a wound "right in the chest (and) there's one in the arm."  Hankins sounded panicked as a dispatcher repeatedly urged him to try to perform CPR on his wife, whom he indicated was not breathing.  "There's all kinds of blood," he said. "I... I... I can't."

Pickett said Lisa Hankins was still alive when police arrived at the scene. She was taken to the Muncie hospital, where doctors attempted a life-saving surgery, according to Coroner Hahn.

Pickett said Lisa and Benjamin Hankins were not living together at the time of the shooting. She is listed in court documents at a Muncie address.  Gaston police Cpl. James Dixon said Benjamin Hankins has been a reserve officer with his department for about three years. He declined further comment about the shooting, calling it an "open investigation."  "It's a sad day for us, it's a sad day for the family," Dixon said. "We knew their family well. They've come to all our events and things like that, so we need to let the investigation take its course."

According to Delaware Circuit Court 4 records, Lisa Hankins sued her husband for divorce last Sept. 13, saying her marriage had "suffered an irretrievable breakdown."  While the divorce suit was pending, Lisa Hankins was granted custody of the couple's three children, who range in age from 9 to 4. The couple reached an agreement in late October for Benjamin Hankins to continue to pay the family's baby-sitting expenses and "visitation shall be as the parties agree."

On Dec. 1, Benjamin Hankins requested a citation be issued against his estranged wife, claiming she "fails and refuses" to abide by that visitation agreement.  A Dec. 22 order by Delaware Circuit Court 4 Judge John Feick indicates that dispute involved the Thanksgiving holiday, and Feick specified, by the day and hour, where the children would be during the Christmas holidays.  A final hearing, at which the divorce presumably would have been granted, was set for Feb. 11, but Benjamin Hankins requested a continuance, reporting he had "just started a new job and is unable to miss work."

The hearing was reset for May 10. Lisa Hankins' attorney, Kristin Willadsen, requested a subpoena for Benjamin Hankins to provide documentation that his work schedule had in fact prevented him from attending the February hearing.  On May 10, however, both Lisa and Benjamin Hankins and their attorneys -- Willadsen and Jack Quirk, who represented Benjamin -- asked that the matter be "continued until further order."

Transcript of Hankin's 911 calls here.


MUNCIE -- A police report released Monday indicates the 4-year-old daughter of Lisa A. "Nettie" Hankins and her estranged husband, Benjamin Allan Hankins, listened in as her father shot and killed her mother Friday morning in his Harrison Township home.

A probable cause affidavit for Benjamin Hankins' arrest on preliminary murder charges reports the preschooler told an investigator with the Delaware County Sheriff's Office that she was outside when she overheard her father tell her mother to "lay down and die," to which her mother responded, "I'm sorry Ben, I'm sorry and I don't want to die."

The girl, who had reportedly seen Benjamin Hankins "come to the door with a gun behind his back," then listened as he shot her mother "several times" inside the house.  The document also contains several other previously unreleased details of the shooting, including Benjamin Hankins' recollection of the attack to investigators just hours after it occurred.

At 7:44 a.m. Friday, emergency dispatchers received a 911 call from Benjamin Hankins, who said he had shot his wife in his house in the 5800 block of North Delaware County Road 600-W, just north of Bethel Avenue.

When officers arrived, according to the report, they found Lisa Hankins, 32, lying on the floor in the kitchen. She was rushed to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, where doctors attempted a life-saving surgery before her death, according to Delaware County Coroner Scott Hahn.  Hahn said Monday he was awaiting results of Lisa Hankins' autopsy.

According to the affidavit, Benjamin Hankins, 36, told investigators Friday he had recently separated from Lisa, his wife of 10 years. Lisa Hankins had filed for divorce last September, and the case was still pending at the time of her death, according to court records.

Benjamin Hankins said the shooting occurred after Lisa Hankins had stopped at her husband's home so their two oldest children, ages 9 and 8, could catch the bus to Wes-Del Elementary School. Their youngest child, a 4-year-old daughter, was reportedly left alone in the car when an argument broke out between her parents.

In a frantic call to 911 dispatchers, Benjamin Hankins, a reserve police officer with the Gaston Police Department and employee with the Indiana Department of Corrections, claimed he shot his wife in self-defense after Lisa Hankins "pulled my gun on me. And then I shot back."

Benjamin Hankins' statements to police, according to the report, do not indicate his reasoning behind the attack, however. Police on Friday did confirm more than one weapon was found at the scene.

During the argument, Benjamin Hankins told investigators, he "went into the living room and retrieved a gun from the couch" and then "pointed the gun at Mrs. Hankins and shot her several times." Benjamin Hankins said he shot at Lisa Hankins more than once, but was unsure exactly how many times bullets struck her.

The police report also indicates a recent history of threats, in the form of emails and text messages, from Benjamin Hankins to Lisa Hankins. Kurt Walthour, an investigator with the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, would not comment Monday on the content of those threats, citing the ongoing investigation.

Walthour did note Benjamin Hankins' demeanor in his interview with investigators on Friday following the shooting.  "(Benjamin Hankins) showed little emotion," Walthour said.

Zachary Craig, a deputy prosecutor with the Delaware County Prosecutor's Office, said Monday he expects formal murder charges against Benjamin Hankins to be filed Wednesday in Delaware Circuit Court 2.