Chesterton Tribune

Defendent in Amanda Bach murder Dustin McCowan seeks setting of bond

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Amanda Bach’s accused murderer, Dustin McCowan, has been held without bond at the Porter County Jail since being charged with her death, on Sept. 19.

Now his attorney, Bob Harper, is asking the court to set bond in the case.

In a petition filed on Monday before Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa, Harper argues that the “proof of guilt is not evident nor the presumption of guilt strong” enough to hold McCowan without bond.

At a hearing on the matter scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, Alexa will accordingly hear McCowan’s “evidence concerning bond.”

Harper told the Chesterton Tribune after deadline on Thursday that a defendant being held without bond has the right at any time to petition the judge “to determine if there’s enough evidence to hold him without bond.”

“The presumption of guilt must be very strong to hold a defendant without bond,” Harper added.

McCowan, 18, has continually and consistently denied involvement in Bach’s death, Harper has said.

Bach’s body was found on Sept. 17, two days after she went missing, south of the Canadian National railroad right-of-way approximately 300 yards from McCowan’s home on C.R. 625W in Union Township. Bach, 19, a resident of Portage, was shot once in the throat, the bullet severing a vertebra.

McCowan told investigators that Bach left his home around 1:30 a.m. Sept. 16 after spending two and half hours there playing PSE and watching a movie. Bach’s abandoned car was found at 3:30 a.m. Sept. 16 in the parking lot of Dean’s General Store on Ind. 130.

The case against McCowan—as made in the probable cause affidavit—is based on the statements of persons who came in contact with McCowan in the hours after Bach’s car was discovered, including that of a juvenile girl who said that she saw McCowan and his father leave their home around 7 a.m. Sept. 16 and drive north on C.R. 625N, heading in the direction of where Bach’s body would later be found and also where her car had been abandoned; on the statement of a neighbor who said she heard a “commotion” in McCowan’s yard between 1 and 2 a.m. Sept. 16; and on McCowan’s own statements to police, for instance, that he “didn’t know anything about a commotion in the yard.”

In the days after Bach’s body was discovered, investigators with K-9 units and metal detectors conducted ground searches along the stretch of road leading from McCowan’s home to Dean’s General Store. Divers also searched a pond east of where the body was found. Investigators never publicly said what evidence they were seeking in particular but presumably it included the murder weapon and Bach’s missing cell phone. Those searches have since been suspended.

Last week Sgt. Larry LaFlower of the Porter County Sheriff’s Police said that investigators continue to conduct interviews in the case and are awaiting the results of items sent for testing. But LaFlower declined to say what evidence has been collected and what tests are being done to it.

Alexa has set trial for Jan. 30.


Posted 10/28/2011