An Indiana boy who as a 12-year-old was convicted as an adult …
An Indiana boy who as a 12-year-old was convicted as an adult …
Paul Gingerich's attorneys argued Tuesday that statements …
A judge accepted Colt Lundy's plea deal Monday and sentenced …
A 12-year-old boy will spend six years in a juvenile detention …
Chase Williams, a 12-year-old boy who was charged with Aiding …
At a nearly two hour waiver hearing in Kosciusko County …
A 15-year-old and 12-year-old are both charged murder in the …
A 12-year-old and a 15-year-old are facing murder charges in …
Updated: Friday, 23 Apr 2010, 5:21 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 23 Apr 2010, 11:02 AM EDT
KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) - Kosciusko County police said Friday that the youths charged with shooting a Cromwell man to death had planned the killing for weeks.
Phillip Danner, 49, was found dead in his home at 9219 E. Doswell Blvd. in Cromwell Wednesday morning. Police said he was shot multiple times.
Thursday, Danner's stepson, Colt Lundy, 15, and Lundy's friend, Paul Gingerich, 12, were charged with murder. Chase Williams, 12, was charged with aiding and causing a murder.
Police testimony said the boys had planned for weeks kill Danner and go to Arizona to sell T-shirts to "drug people."
Kosciusko County Sheriff Rocky Goshert said the plan was to tie up Lundy's mother, who is Danner's wife, cut the telephone lines and kill Danner.
Robin Lundy was on a previously planned vacation in Florida at the time of the killing this week.
Police said on Tuesday around 5 p.m., Gingerich and Williams went to Danner's home to meet Lundy. Williams stayed outside and Gingerich went inside where police said Lundy gave him a handgun.
Police said Lundy and Gingerich then shot Danner four times: once in the eye, once in the wrist and twice in the chest.
After hearing gun shots, Williams went in the house and saw Danner lying on the floor dead.
Police said Williams and Gingerich then went to their homes and went to bed that evening. They then snuck out of their homes and waited for Lundy to pick them up in Danner's Dodge Neon.
The boys put directions to Arizona into a GPS and stopped at a Wal-Mart in Peru, Illinois around 3 a.m. Wednesday. They were trying to exchange change for bills and a Wal-Mart employee thought it was odd to see such young boys in the store at that time. That employee then called Peru police.
Officers found the three boys and could see alcohol, marijuana and a .38 revolver in plain view inside the car.
That's when Williams told police about the killing in Indiana. Peru police called the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department and requested a welfare check on the house in Cromwell.
When Kosciusko deputies arrived at the house, no one answered their knocks. They could see through a window what looked like a body on the floor. The officers went into the house and found Danner dead on the kitchen floor.
Police said Gingerich and Lundy used two of Danner's handguns. Police also found the second gun, a .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic, in the Neon.
The boys were charged in juvenile court on Thursday, but a hearing on April 29 will determine if the charges will be waived to adult court.
"My heart goes out to them, however the crime has been charged as such and with that, the system will take its course," Kosciusko County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Dan Hampton said.
The Kosciusko County Prosecutor's office said Indiana law allows juveniles age ten and older to be waived to adult court for these crimes if jurisdiction is established.
Police mentioned a fourth person may have been involved, but aren't releasing any more information. Goshert said detectives are still doing interviews.
Goshert added detectives found no signs of abuse between Danner and Lundy and that Danner most likely had no idea Lundy was planning to kill him.
"I'm very saddened that this happened," Goshert said. "It's one of the few times I've seen kids at this age be involved with shooting a parent. You see accidental shootings at that age, but nothing at this magnitude."
Goshert said in his 30 years working in law enforcement, this is the most bizarre homicide he's seen.
Pamela Reed lives a few houses down the street from the Danner home. Her daughter has gone to school with Lundy for the last nine years.
"He's kind of precocious, but he was a good kid and we enjoyed having him around," Reed said.
She said they appeared to be a happy family.
"There was no indication of anything but," she said. "I just saw Colt [on Monday] walking on the street and he went up to his house. We went for a walk with my dog and went by his house and his dog was out. It's just a normal neighborhood."
Reed can't imagine what would drive such a young person to shoot his stepfather.
"That's a heavy thing for a child to have done and committed and carry forward. It will be there forever," Reed said.
While 12 and 15-year-olds can tell the difference between right and wrong, Dr. Stephen Ross, a forensic psychologist, said they usually don't have the mental maturity to foresee consequences.
"We do know that 14, 15, 16-year-old brains can't forecast future events and how it will all play out. They are caught up in the immediate, the here and now," Ross said. "Just because they're young kids doesn't mean they acted with the same mental capacities as an adult."
Ross added it's rare for children that young to act out violent thoughts.
"Some think about it and entertain the idea. They might post it on Facebook or MySpace that they're fantasizing about it, but for someone to go so far as to think about it and put it in a plan and act it out is rare," he said.
He said the decision to
wave a juvenile to adult court depends on the seriousness of the crime and if the juvenile can be rehabilitated in the juvenile system. Ross said while every situation is different, it could be possible to rehabilitate a juvenile who premeditated murder.
"But, if a kid has a substantially low I.Q., rehabilitation would be difficult. That could also be a mitigating factor, however, that he or she couldn't control their impulses," Ross said.
The boys are being held without bond until next Thursday's hearing when it will be decided if they will be waived to adult court.
"The judge decided after hearing evidence in court that the three boys should be detained being in the best interest of the community and the safety of the boys and for the nature of the charges," Hampton said.
Danner's visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday April 24 at Owen Family Funeral Home located at 1001 S. Huntington St. in Syracuse.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday April 25 at the funeral home. Burial will be in the North Webster Cemetery at a later date.
Memorials may be given to Eagles Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 433, Syracuse, IN 46567. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.
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