(BEDFORD) - On Friday, Lawrence County Prosecutor Michelle Woodward filed a motion in Lawrence Superior Court II stating they have offered one teen a plea deal in exchange for a guilty plea and that he will testify against two others charged with the murder of Rodney Allender.
If the plea agreement is accepted by Judge William Sleva, 18-year-old Austin Curtis will be sentenced to 55 years in the Department of Corrections for his part in Allender's murder. Ten of those years will be suspended. He will serve five years on supervised probation, and five years on unsupervised probation. He will also be required to register for life as a violent offender.
Curtis, who is being represented by Bloomington Attorney Sam Shapiro, must provide a complete and truthful account of what happened the night Rodney Allender was murdered, including the roles of the two codefendants - 16-year-old Dillon Hicks and 20-year-old Taylor Flynn.
Officers from the Lawrence County Police Department were called to a home at 1758 Dutch Ridge Road after Clinton Allender and his girlfriend arrived and found Rodney's body. According to an autopsy report, Allender died of blunt force trauma.
According to police, the teens had planned the attack and had staked out Allender's home for several days before committing the crime.
To trick Allender into opening his door, Flynn allegedly dressed up like a girl and requested to use the phone. Allender was then shot in the leg by Flynn and the other teens repeatedly beat Allender and then tied him up. Police say the teens allegedly hit and tased repeatedly until Allender gave them the combinations to his safe. The teens allegedly ransacked Allender's home and stole money and guns.
Officers found the home in disarray with furniture overturned, a door ripped off the hinges, a desk emptied and papers thrown around and two safes open and emptied. Police noted there was blood throughout the home.
Rodney Allender was found in his garage lying on his side with a severe head injury. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Curtis' probable cause affidavit suggests Allender had been hit with a baseball bat as many as 10 times.
Curtis was arrested on March 1 after being questioned by police. Flynn and Hicks had fled to Ironton, Ohio and were arrested the same day. They were then extradited back to Lawrence County.
According to Ironton Police Chief Dan Johnson, an officer remembered seeing the white 1995 Chevrolet Beretta used in the crime during his patrols.
Chief Johnson says Flynn and Hicks fled, leading police on a car chase through parts of the city and into a residential area, where officers stopped the pursuit after the Baretta almost hit several children.
Officers lost sight of the vehicle, but soon found it again. The teens stopped the car and then fled on foot and police found them hiding in the back of a van.
According to Hicks and Flynn's probable cause affidavits:
A Bedford North Lawrence High School student told police that Flynn, Hicks and and third person had come to his house on Feb. 27 and bragged how they had "robbed a big guy who lived in the middle of nowhere." According to the witness, Flynn said he had used a stun gun and a taser on the man.
Flynn then threatened the witness, saying if he told anyone Flynn "would harm, even kill" him.
A "face covering" that Hicks had been wearing was found in the woods near Empire Quarry. The teens also allegedly hid the gun used to shot Allender in the area of the cemetery near the quarry. But the teens allegedly returned and retrieved the gun, but couldn't find Hick's mask.
A search warrant was issued for the white 1995 Chevrolet Z26 Beretta Flynn was driving on Feb. 27. The teens used the vehicle to transport the money and the guns from the crime scene in Heltonville back to Bedford. The same vehicle was driven to Ohio.
Curtis is scheduled to appear in court at 2 p.m. Sept. 15 when the court will make a decision regarding the plea agreement. If the plea agreement is approved, the charge of robbery resulting in bodily injury, a Class A felony, will be dismissed.
The probation department is preparing and filing a pre-sentence investigation report.
Murder, by Indiana law, is punishable by 45-65 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Flynn, is facing charges of murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, Class A felony; burglary resulting in bodily injury, Class A felony; conspiracy to commit burglary, Class B felony; and use of a firearm, a sentencing enhancement. He is scheduled to be in Lawrence Superior Court II at 2 p.m. Aug. 25 for a pretrial hearing.
Hicks is facing charges of murder, robbery resulting in bodily injury, Class A felony; and conspiracy to commit burglary, Class B felony. His next court appearance in Lawrence Superior Court II is a pretrial hearing set for 9 a.m. Aug. 28.
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