VALPARAISO | Less than three weeks after being sentenced to 60 years for murdering his former girlfriend, Dustin McCowan has been transferred to the Pendleton Correctional Facility to begin serving his time.
The prison is one of four maximum-level facilities in the state, which are used to house inmates with long sentences, said Douglas Garrison, chief communications officer with the Indiana Department of Correction.
McCowan, 20, is listed on the DOC's online offender search site with a release date of Sept. 17, 2041.
This reflects the earliest date he would be released if his behavior remains good and he earns a day off for each day served, Garrison said. The release date could come even sooner if McCowan shaves more time off by taking part in educational or other programs.
The county's public defender office has been assigned to file an appeal on McCowan's behalf, in an attempt at getting a reduced sentence or having his conviction set aside.
Garrison said legislation is pending before state lawmakers that would increase the amount of time served by giving inmates the opportunity to earn one day off for every three days of good behavior. Any changes would not apply to McCowan.
A jury found McCowan guilty in February of shooting 19-year-old Amanda Bach, of Portage, in the throat during the early morning hours of Sept. 16, 2011, after she showed up at the Union Township home he was living in at the time with his father.
Bach's body was found the next day less than 300 yards from the house in a wooded area along County Road 625 West at the Canadian National Railroad tracks.
McCowan, who has maintained his innocence, declined the opportunity to testify during his nearly monthlong trial or to address the court at sentencing, other than saying, "I don't think the court deserves it, your honor."