Attorney: McCowan asserting innocence in Bach murder

2011-09-21T15:45:00Z 2012-02-16T20:05:10Z Attorney: McCowan asserting innocence in Bach murderBy Jeff Burton jeff.burton@nwi.com, (219) 548-4354 nwitimes.com
September 21, 2011 3:45 pm  • 

UNION TOWNSHIP | As divers searched a pond north of Wheeler High School for possible evidence in the homicide of Amanda Bach, the man accused of killing the 19-year-old is denying any involvement in her death.

Porter County sheriff's police said a dive team spent Wednesday searching a pond north of Wheeler High and along the Canadian National railroad tracks. The pond is near where Bach's body was discovered Saturday.

"We are searching and combing the area for any and all evidence," Sgt. Larry LaFlower said.

One piece of possible evidence taken into police custody is the Crown Point Police Department squad car assigned to Dustin McCowan's father, Joseph Elliott McCowan. LaFlower confirmed the vehicle was taken into police possession for evidence processing, though he couldn't comment on specifics.

LaFlower also said Sheriff Dave Lain has concluded a Crown Point Police Department duty revolver belonging to McCowan's father was not used in Bach's murder.

Defense attorney Bob Harper said he's been retained by McCowan's family and that the 18-year-old Union Township man maintains he had nothing to do with the disappearance and death of Bach, a former girlfriend.

"Dustin denies any involvement in this act," Harper said. "He has denied any involvement since the police first spoke to him."

Harper said he's been in contact with McCowan and his family since the weekend, and his firm will represent McCowan at trial.

Harper's involvement, though, will bring some changes to the trial.

According to court records, Judge Mary Harper recused herself from the case following McCowan's initial hearing Tuesday.

The judge was attending a judicial conference Wednesday along with other Porter County judges and was unavailable for comment.

A staff member said the judge historically has removed herself from cases in which the defense is represented by Bob Harper, her former husband, in an effort to remove any question of a possible conflict of interest.

The case was reassigned Wednesday morning to Porter Superior Judge Bill Alexa. A status hearing is set for Sept. 30 to determine a new set of trial dates.

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