Judge, attorneys prepare for Union Twp. man's murder trial

2013-01-04T21:00:00Z 2013-01-09T11:01:04Z Judge, attorneys prepare for Union Twp. man's murder trialHeather Augustyn Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 04, 2013 9:00 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | A Porter County judge on Friday granted two pretrial motions in the case against a Union Township man accused of killing his former girlfriend.

Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa ordered the Porter County Jail to turn over records to be used at Dustin McCowan's murder trial. Alexa also ordered that a defense witness be transferred from the state prison in Westville to Porter County for trial.

McCowan, 20, is accused in the slaying of his former girlfriend, Amanda Bach, 19, who was found shot to death Sept. 17, 2011, about 300 yards from McCowan’s house. Alexa set jury selection for McCowan's trial for Feb. 4 and 5.

Alexa plans to address remaining pretrial motions Wednesday. Those motions deal with witnesses, character evidence, criminal history, exclusion of references, exclusion of photographs and exclusion of improper arguments or statements.

There were restrictions placed on who could be in the courtroom Friday due to a full list of court calls, but Alexa said there would be no such restrictions at the hearing Wednesday.

On Feb. 4, 65 potential jurors will be called into the courtroom, he said. Fourteen will sit in the jury box, and the rest in benches, he said. No one except the media and jurors will be allowed in the room.

Fifty potential jurors will be called Feb. 5, he said.

The objective will be to “choose a fair and impartial jury for trial,” Alexa said. The state and defense will each be allowed three hours to select a jury, split over the two days due to time.

Alexa also designated one hour for Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Frost’s opening statements and one hour for opening statements by McCowan’s attorney, John Vouga.

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