News and Tribune

Clark County

March 23, 2012

Pillsbury murder suspect sentenced to 55 years

Freddie Love's attorney says he's still concerned about his client's mental capacity

NEW ALBANY — The Jeffersonville man charged with murdering 48-year-old Christopher Trowell in the parking lot of the New Albany Pillsbury plant in August 2010 has pleaded guilty, accepting a 55-year prison sentence.

Freddie Love, 45, sat shackled in a yellow jumpsuit Friday afternoon in a New Albany courtroom as he listened to his rights being read off. He declined to comment to the court prior to being sentenced.

Tracey McWilliams, who was Trowell’s fiancee at the time of his death, read a statement to the court prior to the sentencing.

“You violated and terrorized my life beyond repair,” she said. “You are a coward.”

According to a probable-cause affidavit, McWilliams told police that someone pounded on her door on the 2700 block of Navajo Drive in August 2009. She said two shots were fired, so she called 911. Trowell, who lived at that home, was working third shift at Pillsbury when he learned of the shooting. Prosecutor Keith Henderson said, at some point, Trowell and Love met up outside of Pillsbury and Love began to follow him.

The two crashed through a gate at Pillsbury, and video surveillance reportedly shows Love chasing Trowell through the parking lot and shooting him.

Love had been declared not competent to stand trail and sent to Logansport State Hospital. However, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Steve Owen said Logansport sent him back, saying two psychiatrists said Love had fabricated his mental illness. Owen also said he has a witness that said Love had planned the murder in advance, telling a friend that he was going to fake insanity.

About a dozen friends and family of Trowell were at the sentencing, including Adoree Trowell. Adoree said she was married to Christopher Trowell for 20 years. She said the two were still friends and shared three sons and two grandchildren.

“I’m so glad to finally have closure for my boys. Now we can move on with our lives,” she said. “Hopefully that coward will never, never see the light of day again.

“It’s a good day. Justice prevailed today.”

Adoree said Trowell’s friends and family were pleased with the sentence, adding that this saves them from having to relive the incident through a trial. It also keeps Love from trying to appeal his sentence.

Judge Susan Orth said Love’s earliest release date would be Feb. 4, 2037.

Love’s attorney, Bart Betteau, said he still has concerns about Love’s mental capacity, but understands that recent evaluations have shown him to be compentent.

“[The plea deal is] something that under all the circumstances we felt it was the best course to accept it,” Betteau said, adding that it wasn’t the maximum sentence for murder and Love’s second charge of criminal recklessness was dropped.

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