Goshen News, Goshen, IN

April 30, 2014

Murder suspect's neighbor tells of truck, missing barrel

By SCOTT WEISSER
THE GOSHEN NEWS

— GOSHEN — Testimony continued Wednesday in the murder trial of Todd Stewart in Elkhart Circuit Court.

Stewart, 36, Bristol, is accused of shooting and killing Mark Miller, 44, at Miller’s Dunlap tattoo shop Sept. 7, 2012. Stewart and Miller worked together at the shop.

Prosecutors allege that after killing Miller, Stewart stuffed his body head-first into a 55-gallon barrel and dumped the barrel in the St. Joseph River. The sealed barrel containing Miller’s body was found partially submerged near the Six Span Bridge Sept. 20, 2012, by men working to clear the river of logs.

Jurors on Wednesday heard from Barry Coy, Stewart’s onetime neighbor. Coy testified about selling a Dodge pickup truck to Stewart — retained the title while Stewart made payments and had possession of the truck. Coy would occasionally borrow the vehicle.

According to prosecutors, Coy borrowed the vehicle the night Miller was killed.

Coy testified Wednesday that he went to the tattoo shop to pick up the truck, and found it full of debris. There was also a barrel in the back that Coy removed and placed at the rear of the business.

It rained that evening, Coy said, and unable to complete his chore he drove the truck back to the shop. He asked Stewart if he could use the vehicle the following day. Stewart agreed, and Coy went to his home the next morning to get the truck.

Coy testified that the bed of the truck had been washed out and the debris removed, and the inside of the truck was cleaned out, too. He said he found this odd because it had been raining all night long. Coy also said there was a brand-new barrel cart in the back of the truck, and no barrel.

Stewart ultimately paid off the truck, according to Coy’s testimony. Coy also said he received a call from Elkhart County police in the first part of October 2012, and agreed to give a statement.

He and Stewart spoke before Coy made that statement to investigators.

“(Stewart) basically told me that if I talked to the police, he was going to jail,” Coy testified. Stewart had told police that Coy still had the truck, Coy added.

Jurors were set to hear testimony Wednesday afternoon from Matt Howard, a tattoo artist who worked with Stewart and Miller at the shop. Prosecutors say Howard witnessed the murder.