Written statement issued Friday morning:
Kosciusko County Sheriff Rocky Goshert has released more details related to the murder investigation of Phillip Danner that occurred this week.
Sheriff Rocky Goshert explained that 15 year old Colt Lundy, step-son to the victim, had been apparently planning the murder for some time. The other juveniles involved, Paul Gingerich, 12, and Chase Williams, 12, both of Cromwell, had agreed to leave Indiana after the murder and travel to Arizona to sell T-shirts to "drug people".
Sheriff Goshert stated that the juveniles had originally planned to "tie up" Colt Lundy's mother, cut the telephone lines and still kill Phillip Danner, but she was in Florida on a previously planned vacation at the time of the murder. Gingerich and Williams went over to the Danner residence on Tuesday at approximately 5 or 6 p.m. to meet with Lundy. Gingerich enter into the home and was apparently given a handgun by Lundy as Williams stayed outside. Phillip Danner was shot by Gingerich and Lundy four times, in the eye, in the wrist, and twice in the chest. The Williams then entered into the residence after hearing the gun shots and viewed Danner lying on the dead. After the killing, Williams and Gingerich went home to their families and presumably went to bed that evening. Williams and Gingerich then snuck outside their homes and waited for Lundy to pick them up.
None of the juveniles had a driver's license but they had inputted directions to Arizona into a GPS unit and began driving west on Interstate 80 stopping at the Wal-Mart Store in Peru, Illinois, to exchange change into currency during the early morning hours of April 21st. That is when a Wal-Mart employee called local police concerned with the age of the boys inside their store at that time. Peru, Illinois Police located the three boys, and viewed alcoholic beverages, marijuana, and the .38 revolver in plain sight. At this point, Chase Williams began to tell Illinois officers of the murder that Lundy had committed back in Indiana. Peru, Illinois police officers contacted Kosciusko County Sheriff's Deputies in regards to the juveniles and evidence that they had secured and requested a welfare check on the 9219 East Doswell Blvd., rural Cromwell residence. Three Kosciusko County Sheriff's Deputies went to the residence and entered to find Phillip Danner dead on the floor of the kitchen from multiple gunshot wounds.
Gingerich and Lundy had used two of Phillip Danner's handguns to kill him in the kitchen of the residence. Sheriff Goshert stated that the Peru, Illinois Police had discovered the .38 revolver in plain view inside Phillip Danner's Dodge Neon that the juveniles had taken from the murder scene. Kosciusko County Sheriff detectives had the vehicle returned back to Indiana and located the second handgun, a .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic, after serving a search warrant on the vehicle.
Williams was charged yesterday in a juvenile court hearing with aiding and causing a murder. Gingerich and Lundy were both charged with murder as juveniles yesterday in the same hearing held yesterday in Kosciusko County Superior Court. All three boys will be back in court next week, April 29th, at 2 p.m. for a wavier hearing, but are currently in custody at a juvenile detention facility. According to the Kosciusko County Prosecutor's Office, the waiver hearing is the legal procedure to determine if the juvenile jurisdiction should be transferred to adult court as related to the juvenile suspects. Kosciusko County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Dan Hampton explained that if jurisdiction is established, then the juveniles can be charged as adults pertaining to the respective crimes. Indiana law allows for juveniles from the age of 10 and above to be waived as adults for these crimes if jurisdiction is established.
Sheriff Goshert stated that the investigation is still continuing with more interviews being conducted by his detective division at this time.
Sheriff Goshert stated that in his more that 30 years with the Indiana State Police and the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department, he believed that this was the most bizarre homicide that he had ever seen. He also stated that Phillip Danner most likely had no idea what was being planned regarding his fate. Kosciusko County detectives have found no signs of apparent abuse between Phillip Danner and Colt Lundy during the investigation according the Goshert.
The Kosciusko County Prosecutor's Office advises that the defendant's charge is merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.