News and Tribune

Police & Fire News

June 5, 2013

Attorneys meet before murder trial

Men charged in March burglary, fatal home shooting

JEFFERSONVILLE —

Attorneys met Monday to discuss the ongoing case of two young men charged in the death of a Clarksville man found fatally shot in his home March 11.

Christopher Jared Sowders, 18, and Garreth Edward Stephens, 20, both of Borden, are scheduled to go to trail in early September for the murder of 48-year-old Steven Baldwin.

Perry McCall, of Jeffersonville, who is representing Sowders; Eric Weitzel, of New Albany, who is representing Stephens; and Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull were present during the pretrial conference in the prosecutor’s office. Mull said the attorneys addressed issues of discovery and to make sure the trial occurs on a timely basis.

Along with the murder charge, Sowders and Stephens have each been charged with class A felony burglary, class B felony burglary, class A felony conspiracy to commit burglary and class B felony conspiracy to commit burglary.

Also discussed during the pretrial conference was the DNA, including possible materials found under Baldwin’s fingernails, collected from the crime scene. Mull said DNA taken from the home is being processed by the Indiana State Police and that the results have yet to be returned.

State police can take up to several months to return DNA findings, Mull said.

McCall said DNA evidence could show that his client was innocent before the trial begins, if the possible DNA taken from the fingernails matches that of someone other than Sowders.

 

TALKING AND TEXTING

An acquaintance of Sowders — who has stated he was originally going to take part in the burglary but pulled out only days before because the robbery conflicted with his school schedule — has provided statements implicating Sowders in the burglary and murder.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Sowders’ acquaintance told Clarksville police that he had a conversation with Sowders two days after Baldwin’s murder, at which time Sowders said he committed the murder at 2305 Plum Woods Drive in Clarksville, near the Sellersburg town line. The witness also told police that the day before the murder, he received several text messages from Sowders telling of plans to rob Baldwin’s home. According to the man’s statements to police, the texts he received included a list of materials, including a firearm, ski masks and zip ties, Sowders had in his possession to carry out the burglary.

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