Updated: Monday, 12 Apr 2010, 4:58 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 28 Oct 2009, 10:48 PM EDT
UNIONDALE, Ind. (WANE) - Four Adams Co. men are charged with felony murder, and conspiracy to commit robbery causing serious bodily injury in the Wells County shooting death of 19-year old Justin Sprow.
Cody Barkley, 18, Jonathan Thatcher, 18, and Dustin Jackson, 22, Cody Mendez, 17, all of Adams Co. were in a Wells County court Friday to formally hear the charges against them. The charges stem from a shooting in Wells Co. on Wednesday.
The shooting happened around 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, near 800 N. and 100 W. That is near Uniondale, Indiana.
Sprow was pronounced dead at the crime scene, lifeless in the driver seat of his car. His friend, Randy Haney, was also in the car at the time of the shooting, but escaped into a nearby cornfield unharmed and called authorities.
According to police, the four suspects were in a black pickup truck when they approached the silver Chevy Cavalier where Sprow and Haney were sitting. Police say Barkley, Thatcher, Jackson and Mendez were in the truck with multiple guns and it's possible there were multiple shooters.
Mendez, 17, is being charged as an adult by Wells County Prosecutor Michael W. Lautzenheiser. All four suspects will have separate trials, set on the court schedule to begin in early 2010.
"Each person, given the various levels of culpability, has his own unique defenses for lack of a better word," said Lautzenheiser on Friday. "I don't think there are any defenses, but they have their own matters they want to bring up."
Lautzenheiser said all four will be represented by a public defender.
Authorities tell NewsChannel 15 they believe the incident was drug-related. Lautzenheiser says he does not anticipate charges against Haney.
Police found the four suspects in Decatur early Thursday morning. They are now being held in the Wells Co. jail.
This is the second homicide in Wells Co. in one week. On Tuesday, the Wells County Sheriff's Department began an investigation into the shooting death of 28-year-old Amy White. Her husband, 27-year-old Tyler White has been charged with murder in that case.
Lautzenheiser admitted the surge in violence has taken a toll on county officials.
"I've not had a lot of time to digest everything," Lautzenheiser said. "[With the White murder] right before this one, it's a lot for a little county withthe limited resources we have to work with."