VALPARAISO | Just hours after a jury found Dustin McCowan guilty of murdering her 19-year-old daughter, Sandy Bach told reporters Wednesday morning there are no winners in the case.
"This is a bittersweet victory," she said.
Bill Bach, father of murder victim Amanda Bach, said he wasn't even certain how he was feeling in the early wake of the verdict.
"It really hasn't totally sunk in," he said.
The couple were among those on hand just before 11 p.m. Tuesday when 20-year-old McCowan was found guilty of shooting Amanda Bach in the throat during the early morning hours of Sept. 16, 2011, and disposing of her body along railroad tracks near the Union Township home he was living in at the time with his father.
McCowan, 20, who was standing when the verdict was read, closed his eyes and then sat down and looked toward the floor.
Twenty-two police officers stood guard inside the courtroom of Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa when the verdict was read.
Cheering could be heard from outside the downtown courthouse minutes later. Supporters shouted, “Remember Amanda!”
“Finally, some justice,” Bill Bach said Tuesday night.
“It doesn’t bring her back, but justice did prevail,” Sandy Bach said.
Bill Bach praised the efforts of prosecutors and police.
When asked how he and his wife endured the trial, which included graphic testimony and photos, he replied, “By focusing on getting justice for Amanda."
"She was brutally murdered," Bill Bach said.
Sandy Bach added, “By a coward.”
“He can’t kill again,” Bill Bach said.
Bill Bach said he is hoping for the maximum when McCowan is sentenced at 2 p.m. March 28, but pointed out McCowan still will be a young man when he’s released. McCowan faces between 45 and 65 years behind bars.
Defense attorney John Vouga said Tuesday night he plans to appeal the decision.
“We knew we had an uphill battle with this being a Porter County jury," he said.
Defense attorney Nicholas Barnes was surprised by the verdict.
“I’m saddened for the McCowan family,” Barnes said. “Justice was not served here today.”
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Matt Frost said Tuesday he was gratified by the verdict, which he said showed that 18 months of work by his office and police was not in vain.
Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek said there was a lot of evidence.
“All the things pointed to Dustin McCowan,” she said.