Chesterton Tribune

Judge refuses for now to delay Dustin McCowan murder trial

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Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa has no intention at the moment of delaying Dustin McCowan’s trial for the murder of Amanda Bach.

At a status hearing on Friday, an occasionally testy Alexa told McCowan’s new attorney, John Vouga, that the trial would remain on the docket for Aug. 13, with a final pre-trial hearing on July 13.

Vouga did not outright request a delay on Friday but did tell Alexa that it’s unlikely he’ll be ready for trial on Aug. 13, given the fact that he’s been representing McCowan for less than 60 days, given also the “voluminous” amount of discovery materials.

“When will you be ready?” Alexa asked. “This year? Next year? The year after?”

“That depends on the state providing the defense with everything they have,” Vouga replied. “November, if we get everything.”

Alexa pointed out that McCowan will remain held in the Porter County Jail the entire time his attorney’s preparing for trial.

“I don’t like that either,” Vouga said in response, then indicated that he might petition the court for a new bond hearing to consider evidence which he said was not available in November, when Alexa initially denied McCowan bond.

Alexa, however, stated flatly that “there won’t be another bond hearing.”

Alexa also refused to postpone the trial again. “I’m not going to vacate the trial date at this point,” he told Vouga, “but I expect you to give me more information of where you’re at.”

Polarek, for her part, told Alexa that—with the discovery early Friday morning of 15 additional documents—Vouga is now in possession of everything the state has, with the exception of results still pending from an FBI lab test. And that lab report, Polarek said, “won’t’ make or break the case.”

McCowan is accused of shooting Portage resident Amanda Bach to death sometime in the early morning hours of Sept. 16, 2011. Bach’s body was found on Saturday, Sept. 17—36 hours after she went missing—in some bushes south of the Canadian National railroad right-of-way near McCowan’s home in Union Township.

McCowan told investigators that Bach had been visiting him and left his home around 1:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16. Her abandoned car was discovered with a flat tire at Dean’s General Store on Ind. 130 around 3:23 a.m.

An autopsy determined that Bach had been killed by a single gunshot wound to the throat.



Posted 6/11/2012