Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

August 30, 2013

Tattoo shop murder trial pushed back

GOSHEN — The trial of the Bristol man charged with killing a tattoo shop owner was rescheduled Thursday in Elkhart Circuit Court.

Todd A. Stewart, 35, was due to stand trial Sept. 9. He appeared in court Thursday with public defender Cliff Williams, who said he needed more time to prepare. Prosecutors didn’t object to a continuance, and Judge Terry Shewmaker reset the trial to Jan. 6.

Stewart is accused of murdering his business partner, Mark A. Miller, 44, Elkhart in September 2012.

Miller’s body was found in a barrel near the Six Span Bridge in Elkhart on Sept. 20. Prosecutors say Miller had been shot to death before his body was placed in the barrel.

Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill has stated that a “business associate” of the two men reported seeing Stewart shoot Miller behind the tattoo shop they owned along U.S. 33 in Dunlap. The witness then reportedly helped load Miller’s body into a barrel in the back of Stewart’s pickup truck. Miller’s disappearance was reported by his sister, Dawn Miller, to Elkhart County police Sept. 10 of last year.

In other Circuit Court proceedings Thursday:

• Ronald E. Bothe Jr., 35, 213 N. Riverside, Goshen, pleaded guilty to a Class B felony count of attempted dealing in methamphetamine by manufacturing. He also entered a guilty plea to a Class D felony count of resisting law enforcement.

Bothe admitted to buying pseudoephedrine on May 2 as a final step before making meth. That same day, he fled from Goshen police officer Robert Warstler in a vehicle.

Bothe is due to serve eight years in the Department of Correction under the terms of his plea deal. He’d faced up to 23 years in prison if convicted of both felony charges.

Judge Shewmaker set Bothe’s sentencing for Sept. 26.

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