Grandson of 85-yr-old homicide victim charged with murder
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The man accused of fighting and threatening officers during a death investigation turned homicide has now been charged with murder.
Police reports say 40-year-old John Stevens was charged on Wednesday.
The incident happened last week on East Michigan Street.
Officials say 85-year-old Betty Ann Stevens was strangled and suffered blunt force trauma to the head.
We are told Stevens’ grandson, John Stevens, told dispatch his grandmother was dead in the backyard.
Officials say he said he didn’t want officers there.
Even stranger than the phone call from John to dispatch, were the circumstances regarding the death, according to the lead detective on this case, EPD Detective Bryan Underwood.
Specifically, the evidence at the scene where Betty’s body was found.
“We knew from the scene, it wasn’t from natural causes,” says Underwood, “we knew there was more to it, and that’s when we got a lot of our detectives involved, and we all started working together to find out the cause of the death and what happened to her.”
That’s what led to detectives switching their investigation from not just a suspicious death, but to homicide.
Underwood says in the end, DNA found on John’s clothing is what linked him to the murder of his grandmother.
When officers got a warrant for his clothes, authorities say he put up a fight.
Underwood says the Indiana State Police played a huge role in speeding up that DNA identification, and getting John off the street.
“We were lucky enough to have ISP to be able to work with us. In a case like this, it makes it really nice, because there’s no chance of the person being able to victimize somebody else,” says Underwood, “so, it’s nice to get people like this off the street.”
Officials say detectives noted that John may have some mental health impairments, as Underwood referenced when he talked about the 911 call.
They say the prosecutor’s office is aware of that as well.
John faced a judge on Thursday.
His next court appearance is scheduled for June 14 at 1 p.m.
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