In a hearing held on Thursday, July 28, 2016 in the Circuit Court of Scott County, Indiana, JAMES MATTHEW CAUDILL, age 22, of Austin, Indiana, pled guilty to the November 2015 robbery and homicide of Coin Shop proprietor John Turner, age 78, also of Austin.
On November 7, 2015, Turner was found by his wife inside his coin shop located on Main Street in Austin, Scott County, Indiana around 4:00PM. He was unresponsive and had apparently suffered an injury to his head. It was soon determined that the head injury was likely a gunshot wound, and a homicide investigation was commenced by detectives from the Indiana State Police.
During the course of the investigation, it was determined that JAMES MATTHEW CAUDILL had traveled to the Coin Shop with his girlfriend, Ginger Cox, age 23, on three separate occasions on the 7th. On the third time, Cox waited in their van while Caudill entered the shop, shot Turner once in the head with a .22, and proceeded to rob the store, taking cash, jewelry, coins, and collectibles. The two then fled the scene in their vehicle.
Caudill and Cox were arrested at Caudill’s residence on Water Tower Road 2 days later, on Monday, November 9, 2015.
Trial had been scheduled in the matter to commence on August 2, 2016, but yesterday Caudill’s attorney notified the prosecutors on the case that he would take a deal.
Caudill pled guilty to Robbery as a Level 5 Felony, Murder, and a Firearms sentencing enhancement. He will be sentenced by the Court on August 11, 2016, where he faces a potential sentence of from 50 to 85 years. He admitted in court that he entered the Coin Shop with the loaded handgun intent on robbing the store, and with the intent to shoot Turner if necessary.
In exchange for the plea, Caudill avoids the possibility of Life Without Parole.
The case was handled by Scott County Prosecutor Jason M. Mount and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Chris A. Owens. Prosecutor Mount stated, “During this whole process, we have been in close contact with Mr. Turner’s family, and they are very relieved to have brought this matter to a close without the necessity of putting everyone through the stress of trial. It is a testament to the excellent police work put in by the Indiana State Police that we were able to resolve this case in under a year, avoiding a trial, with a plea to the lead charge, and with a significant sentence. Without a solid investigation, that would not have been possible.”
The Scott County Sheriff’s Department, the Austin Police Department, the Scott County Coroner’s Office, and the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office all also played significant roles in the investigation.
“Upon getting the call, the Indiana State Police immediately dedicated the manpower necessary to solve the case quickly, and the assigned detectives stayed on the trial until the answers were found. I could not be more pleased with their efforts and their continued cooperation as this case moved from investigation to prosecution.” stated Mount.
The Scott County Prosecutors Office would also like to thank the family of John Turner for their ongoing faith and confidence in the Investigators and Prosecutors handling the case. “Chief Deputy Owens was an invaluable asset to my office in this investigation,” Mount stated. “He has been here now through several of these tough cases, and his experience and knowledge made him someone I can count on to do the things I might not have time to do, to research issues as they arise, and to bounce decisions off of as the case progressed. His substantial input was also crucial to a quick resolution.”
Co-Defendant Ginger Cox pled guilty on June 20, 2016 to Aiding in Robbery Causing Serious Bodily Injury with a Firearms Enhancement and will receive a 35 year sentence.