Judge OKs testimony in McCowan murder trial

2013-01-15T16:45:00Z 2013-08-06T12:40:09Z Judge OKs testimony in McCowan murder trialBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
January 15, 2013 4:45 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | A judge tossed out a claim it would be hearsay for prosecutors in the upcoming Dustin McCowan murder trial to introduce comments overheard by a neighbor of the accused.

Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa said the comments can be presented to the jury because they are being used to show they were spoken and not in an attempt to prove the matter asserted.

This negates a claim by the defense the statements are irrelevant unless it is first proven they were made by McCowan, 20, who is accused of shooting and killing his former girlfriend, Amanda Bach, 19, according to Alexa.

Bach's body was found Sept. 17, 2011, about 300 yards from McCowan's Union Township home.

The statements the defense were attempting to keep out of the trial were reportedly heard by Linda Phillips, who told police she was awakened by them outside her home between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Sept. 16, 2011.

She told police she heard a male voice say, "Amanda get up."

Other statements include, "Amanda, you have to get up. Amanda, honey, you've got to get up," according to court records.

Phillips also told investigators she heard what she thought was a female voice say, "I can't believe this is happening."

Phillips told police she looked out her window, but saw no one.

During a hearing last week on a series of motions in the case, Alexa denied an attempt by the defense to bar autopsy photos from the Feb. 4 trial.

The defense team was granted a few of its requests, including those prohibiting prosecutors from bringing up a previous arrest for which McCowan was not convicted or a long list of alleged character traits including accusations that McCowan is controlling, angry, sexually promiscuous, a marijuana user and was suicidal at one time.

Jurors also will not hear allegations that McCowan said he disliked or hated Bach.

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