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Jailhouse friend says McCowan told him he fought with girlfriend

DustMcCowan

Dustin McCowan

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Updated: February 19, 2013 7:50PM



VALPARAISO — Things between 19-year-old Amanda Bach and the Union Township man accused of killing her did not go as smoothly as he maintained, according to a friend he made in Porter County Jail.

Before Tuesday, several witnesses testified Dustin McCowan, 20, told them he and Bach didn’t argue the night of Sept. 15, 2011, when she visited his home before disappearing.

But jail inmate Charles Aaron Wade III, 29, testified Tuesday that McCowan acknowledged trouble in the relationship because Bach texted while they were talking.

Witnesses over the last two weeks said that behavior angered McCowan before, but Wade testified on Tuesday that McCowan tried to grab the phone and bloodied Bach’s nose.

Wade said he and McCowan became best friends in Porter County Jail, and McCowan often confided in Wade after his pastor brought news.

He testified that McCowan told him that he wouldn’t give Bach’s phone back unless they talked.

Wade testified he was told that Bach tried to leave without her phone, that McCowan drove her car while they talked and that McCowan realized while walking later that he still had her phone and hid it in a place their group used to smoke.

Wade also testified that McCowan said his father found the cell phone, but McCowan didn’t answer when Wade asked why they didn’t turn it in.

McCowan was also concerned about his fingerprints in Bach’s car, Bach’s blood from the nosebleed on the carpet and gunpowder on the sweatshirt McCowan used the stop the nosebleed — because McCowan had been shooting earlier, he said.

Defense attorney Nick Barnes said there was no record of Bach texting after she arrived at the McCowan home and attacked Wade’s credibility on what he expected from his testimony.

Although no one promised Wade special consideration, he got 24-hour passes for funerals in September and December, and his sentence will be argued with Chief Deputy Prosecutor Matt Frost, who is also trying McCowan’s case.

Wade, of Merrillville, was charged with Class A felony kidnapping in one of two separate incidents involving an ex-girlfriend in July and August 2010.

The first time he held a knife to her, and the second time he kidnapped her in her car, dropping her toddler off at a Portage apartment complex and calling 911 about a lost child.

On March 26, Wade pleaded to Class C felony carjacking and Class C felony intimidation with a deadly weapon.

His sentencing has been reset at least seven times, and he’s held in Pulaski County Jail because of inmate threats about his testifying.

Wade said his ailing mother told him to step up and do the right thing.

Before Wade, testimony about cell phones came from Cpl. Detective Gene Hopkins, who showed maps based on McCowan’s cell phone usage to show movement away from his house during Sept. 16, 2011.

The last text received by 19-year-old Amanda Bach’s phone the night she died was from Dustin McCowan at 1:21 a.m. Sept. 16, 2011, according to phone records.

McCowan, 20, on trial for Bach’s murder, told police that Bach left his Union Township home about 1:30 a.m.

The text stated, “Amanda, text me when you get home.”

Cell tower radio transmissions showed that McCowan was where Bach’s car was found early in the morning and made a trip to Bloomington at the end of the day.

However, some of the transmissions were off by a football field to a mile from where he was, and Hopkins admitted that the technology wasn’t accurate beyond general area.

The prosecution will call its last witness Wednesday, another man who was in jail with McCowan and to whom McCowan allegedly bragged about killing Bach.



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