Judge: No delay in Aug. 13 McCowan murder trial

2012-06-08T11:49:00Z 2012-06-09T15:20:03Z Judge: No delay in Aug. 13 McCowan murder trialBy Bob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | Porter Superior Judge Bill Alexa called a special hearing Friday to make it clear he would like to see the Dustin McCowan murder trial begin as scheduled on Aug. 13.

But Portage attorney John Vouga, who took over the defense fewer than 60 days ago, said he still is waiting on evidence and faces too much preparation work to be ready by that date.

Alexa asked when he would be ready for trial.

"This year? Next year? The year after?" he asked.

Vouga said the answer hinges on when he receives all the evidence from prosecutors, but believes he can be ready by November.

"I'm not going into a murder trial half-cocked," he said.

Alexa affirmed the Aug. 13 trial date and said he expected an update from attorneys during a hearing July 13.

McCowan, 19, is accused of murdering his former girlfriend Amanda Bach, 19, who was found shot to death Sept. 17 about 300 yards from McCowan's house in Union Township.

The trial already has been postponed once at the request of the former defense attorney, who said he was waiting on lab results from the FBI and prosecutors.

Alexa reminded Vouga on Friday his client is being held without bond at the jail.

"I don't like that one bit," Vouga said.

When Vouga said he is thinking about asking again for bond based on new evidence, Alexa said there will not be a second hearing on that topic.

Several plainclothes police officers were scattered through the courtroom Friday for security purposes during the short hearing.

Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek, who said her office will be ready for the Aug. 13 trial, said she has just a few documents to yet provide to the defense and is waiting on a lab result from the FBI that will not make or break the case.

Alexa explained he called Friday's status hearing in the wake of a recent trial being postponed at nearly the last minute because of the discovery of new evidence. He said he has set aside two weeks for McCowan's case.

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