Inmate tells jurors McCowan admitted to shooting a girl

2013-02-20T17:30:00Z 2013-08-06T12:40:10Z Inmate tells jurors McCowan admitted to shooting a girlBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
February 20, 2013 5:30 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | One of the first witnesses called on behalf of Dustin McCowan told jurors Wednesday that McCowan had sent her a text on the night his former girlfriend Amanda Bach is believed to have been killed saying he was not home.

Witness Shelby Reilly said he then sent a text a little more than an hour later at 12:34 a.m. Sept. 16, 2011, to ask if she would like to come over to the Union Township home he was living in at the time. Reilly described herself as a friend of McCowan and someone who once loved him and had a physical relationship with him.

Reilly said she did not find McCowan's change in status that night strange, but did think it odd when he sent her another text later that morning notifying her of Bach's disappearance. She said she never formally met Bach and was a little jealous of her relationship with McCowan.

She denied telling detectives she was glad Bach was dead, but said of her death: “It affected me on Dustin’s part. On her part, no.”

The testimony came a few hours after prosecutors wrapped up their case against 20-year-old McCowan, who is accused of shooting Bach. Her body was found Sept. 17, 2011, fewer than 300 yards from his former Union Township home.

The final witness for prosecutors was Daniel Grunhard, who testified that while serving time at the jail, McCowan told him and at least one other inmate he had shot a female.

Grunhard, who is serving a six-year prison term after failing the county's drug court program on charges including aiding in a burglary and drug possession, said McCowan told him in October that he shot a girl "because she crossed me."

He said McCowan told him on another occasion he expected the case to be dismissed because authorities will never find the pistol he used.

"It was buried so far nobody would find it," Grunhard said he was told.

Grunhard said he also overheard McCowan telling another jail inmate that authorities never will be able to prove "he shot the bitch." McCowan, who sat just a few feet away, shook his head no.

Attorney John Cantrell, who was called in to handle the cross-examination because Grunhard had once been represented by McCowan's attorneys, attacked Grunhard's credibility.

Grunhard denied he was testifying in hopes of convincing prosecutors to somehow help with his own criminal case and prison term.

When asked why he was testifying, Grunhard said, "Because I am a man who is trying his best to be a better person."

Upon the completion of the 43 witnesses that have been presented by prosecutors over the past two and a half weeks, defense attorney Nicholas Barnes made a failed request to the judge for a mistrial or to dismiss the case for a lack of sufficient evidence.

Also testifying for the defense Wednesday was Robert Swanson, who said McCowan appeared to be unusually subdued and worried about Bach's welfare while taking part in a planned trip to Indiana University in Bloomington on the day she disappeared.

The defense also continued with its criticism of the police investigation into the case.

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