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August 10, 2013

‘Lucky break’ prevents manhunt in Greenville slayings

Unlikely chain of events lead New Albany police to teen murder suspects

NEW ALBANY — A call of shots fired at a New Albany home last Saturday over police dispatch would unveil a chain of events that ultimately led back to a brutal Greenville double-slaying that happened hours earlier.

If it wasn’t for a spat among brothers, investigators could still be on the hunt.

But because of quick-acting New Albany police officers, two 18-year-olds are in custody. Kevin Schuler, Greenville, and Austin Scott, New Albany, have both admitted to murdering Gary Henderson, 70, and Asenath Arnold, 57, after finding each lying in separate beds of their Greenville home.

“We caught a lucky break due to the police work of New Albany police,” said Nicholas Haverstock, Harrison County’s chief deputy prosecutor. “Without the lucky break in New Albany, we could still be looking for these individuals.”

The men were arrested hours after officials said they entered the Greenville home and committed the murders.

The bodies of Henderson and Arnold were found about 11 a.m. Saturday by a woman who called 911 and alerted authorities of the crime scene.

The Harrison County Sheriff’s Department responded to the home, found Henderson’s and Arnold’s bodies, then left to obtain a search warrant to conduct a further investigation. Before reentering the home at about 6:30 p.m., the murder suspects were already in custody.

Unbeknownst to sheriff’s officials, New Albany police — who were unaware of the murder investigation — became involved in the case after an officer was dispatched to Scott’s home in the 800 block of West Market Street at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday on a call of shots fired.

Before the officer arrived, however, Schuler and Scott had already left the home. But police were able to question Scott’s three brothers, all of whom were in the home when the shots were fired.

Each of the three brothers reported to the officer that Scott had “ ... just fired a shot from a black revolver at [one of his brothers],” according to the incident report.

No one was injured.

One of the brothers told the officer that he was in the living room when Scott and Schuler had entered the New Albany home. The same brother and Scott then went into the kitchen, the brother told police, where Scott gave an account of the murder to his brother.

The brother told police Scott seemed upset about something, which led to the following account from the police report:

“Last night, Austin [Scott] and Drew [Kevin Andrew Schuler] were riding a four-wheeler and had run out of gas. They went to syphon some gas, and a male subject confronted Drew as Austin was hiding in the woods. The male subject pulled out a gun, and hit Drew with it. Austin thought the male subject was going to shoot Drew, so Drew approached the male subject with a knife and stabbed him in the chest and face, killing him and leaving him there dead.”

It appears the account of the murder Scott gave to his brother is a false characterization of what had transpired, as Henderson and Arnold were found murdered in the home. Harrison County prosecutors have stated, however, that Schuler and Scott are believed to have ridden an ATV to Henderson and Arnold’s home.

The brother told police that as Scott talked about the murder, a second brother overheard the conversation and became very upset with Scott and a verbal altercation ensued.

The three brothers, Scott and Schuler all ended up outside of the home near a red Ford pickup truck, which was later determined to be registered to Schuler.

The brother that had moments earlier become upset with Scott then began to pull Schuler, then in the pickup truck, from the vehicle.

Scott responded to his brother’s physical assault on Schuler by pulling out a black revolver-style handgun, pointing it at his brother and firing one shot at him, police reported from comment provided by the three brothers.

All three of Scott’s brothers reported to police Scott had fired the shot before leaving the home in the pickup truck with Schuler.

Police later found a hole, which went through the siding of the home, but did not located the bullet remnant.

Another individual who had come to the home reported to the officer seeing Scott fire the gun at his brother and provided police with the license plate number of the fleeing pickup truck.

Police ran the license plate number and determined then that the pickup truck was registered to Schuler.

While at the scene, police found four .22 caliber-shell casing lying in the street in front of the West Market Street home.

Police later spoke with Scott’s mother, who was at Floyd Memorial Hospital visiting a family member.

The mother told police Scott was at Zesto’s on Charlestown Road. Police also received information that Scott had said, “... if police stopped him there, shots would be fired.”

Officers located the pickup truck occupied by Schuler and Scott and made a traffic stop along on Millerwood Drive, off of Charlestown Road.

After both Schuler and Scott were read their rights, police found three firearms, two of which were loaded, in the vehicle.

Harrison County prosecutors have previously said that the firearms found in the vehicle are believed to have been taken from Henderson and Arnold’s home.

Also in the truck, police found an open box of .22-caliber bullets in plain view near the center console, a bag full of prescription pill bottles on the floorboard and a large amount of cash in an open glove compartment.

One of the prescription bottles was prescribed to Henderson.

When Scott was questioned by police about what had happened at the West Market Street home, he said he had killed a man with a knife the day before.

Scott also confessed to shooting a gun at his brother who had punched Schuler in the face during an argument in front of the home. Schuler’s jail book-in photo shows him with a black left eye.

Scott said he wasn’t trying to shoot his brother, but only to scare him.

Police were notified at this time that Harrison County sheriff’s deputies were investigating a double homicide, and New Albany officers ceased questioning of Schuler and Scott.

The men were taken to the Floyd County Jail and each were preliminarily charged by New Albany police with possession of stolen property, possession of controlled substance and possession of a handgun without a permit. Scott was additionally preliminarily charged with criminal recklessness.

The men were transferred from Floyd County to the Harrison County Jail on Wednesday where they each face murder, burglary, robbery and theft charges.

New Albany police Maj. Keith Whitlow commended the work of the department’s officers in apprehending Schuler and Scott.

“The officers involved did a very good job and did great police work,” Whitlow said. “They did not know how important of case they were working after first responding to the Market Street home.”

He said New Albany is always glad to assist surrounding agencies, and stressed the importance of a teamwork approach to policing throughout Southern Indiana and Louisville.

“It is good to be able to help anyone, especially in a case of this magnitude,” Whitlow said.

Stemming from the West Market Street incident, Scott’s case is being heard in Floyd County Circuit Court. A pretrial conference on the charges has been scheduled for Sept. 24.

From the same incident, Schuler case is being held in Floyd County Superior Court No. 1. A pretrial conference has been scheduled for Sept. 5.

Schuler also has a warrant out for his arrest in Floyd County after failing to appear for a bond revocation hearing Aug. 8. Although he was incarcerated in Harrison County at the time of the Floyd County hearing, the warrant was still issued.

The bond revocation hearing followed two class B felony counts of dealing in controlled substances; two counts class D felony possession of controlled substances; and class D felony maintaining a common nuisance.

The drug-related crime Schuler is charged took place in February, and according to online court records, he has a jury trial slated for Sept. 9.

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