The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

State News

February 5, 2013

Northern Indiana man charged with murder of mother, sister

MONTICELLO, Ind. — Authorities believe a 20-year-old northern Indiana man used a knife and a two-pronged meat fork to fatally stab his mother and half-sister, according to documents filed Tuesday in White Superior Court.

David Scott Rodenbarger was charged Tuesday with two counts of murder in the deaths of Michelle Haskins, 41, and 6-year-old Jillian Haskins. Police responding to a 911 call from the mother shortly before 1:30 a.m. Saturday found the two victims inside their home in Monticello, 30 miles north of Lafayette, along with Rodenbarger, whose hands and clothing were stained with blood, according to a probable cause affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Rodenbarger admitted to state police detectives to using the knife and fork to kill his mother and half-sister. The knife and fork were found nearby and appeared to have blood on them, the affidavit said.

The mother died of a stab wound to the throat while the daughter died from multiple stab wounds and swelling to her brain caused by blunt force trauma, the affidavit says.

The Journal & Courier reports that at one point during the hearing Rodenbarger interrupted Judge Jeff Smith and asked him to reread the charges because "I wasn't listening to you all the way."

He asked to be represented by a public defender. Smith appointed Pat Manahan, an attorney from Delphi, to represent Rodenbarger. A message seeking comment was left for Manahan by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

There was no mention of motive in the probable cause affidavit.

Each murder count against him is punishable by 45 to 65 years in prison.

Smith told Rodenbarger that because his sister was under the age of 12, which would be an aggravator under Indiana law for prosecutors to seek life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

Prosecutor Bob Guy said no decision has been made about whether his office will seek life in prison without parole or the death penalty, saying he has a lot of evidence to review and people to talk to before a decision is made.

Rodenbarger is being held without bond in the White County Jail.

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