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McCowan murder conviction stands despite lawyer’s motion

DustMcCowan

Dustin McCowan

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Updated: June 5, 2013 6:12AM



VALPARAISO — The judge who sentenced convicted murderer Dustin McCowan to 60 years in prison will not change his decision.

Porter Superior Judge William Alexa stated in a brief filed Friday that his talking about a phone call made to McCowan at Porter County Jail did not affect the March 28 sentencing.

The brief was a response to a motion to correct errors filed April 18 by Mitchell Peters, who became McCowan’s public defender for the appeal.

Peters’ motion said Alexa “referenced a recorded phone conversation” to McCowan in the jail that included “derogatory, insulting and/or threatening remarks about Judge Alexa” and the prosecutors.

Alexa said the caller told McCowan that perhaps Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Matt Frost should have their kids killed so they’d know what this is all about.

Alexa’s Friday brief quoted him in the record as saying, “But that will not be considered by me in this sentencing because Dustin, to his credit, said, no, that he really didn’t think that would be the case.”

Court employees are notified about possible threats, and the phone call was determined not to be a threat that could be cause for Alexa to recuse himself from the sentencing, the brief states.

Peters’ motion had said the information biased Alexa and that defense attorneys John Vouga and Nick Bares didn’t know about the potential threat until the sentencing.

Alexa’s brief said Vouga didn’t believe that the recorded conversation was made and that Alexa’s staff allowed him to listen to it.

McCowan, 20, was found guilty on Feb. 26 of the murder of former girlfriend Amanda Bach, 19, of Portage in September 2011



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