Victim’s partner charged with murder

Man charged with murder in Mark Miller homicide case.
Posted on May 1, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on May 1, 2013 at 6:09 p.m.

ELKHART — The Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office has charged a man with murder for his connection with Mark Miller’s homicide.

Todd Stewart, 35, of Bristol, faces up to 65 years in prison if convicted on the murder charge. Stewart was Miller’s business partner at a tattoo shop Miller owned in Dunlap.

Miller’s body was found Sept. 20, 2012, stuffed in a barrel floating on the St. Joseph River west of the Six Span Bridge near the intersection of C.R. 17 and S.R. 120. Miller’s family contacted the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department Sept. 10, three days after Miller was last seen.

Forensic pathologist Joseph Prahlow determined Miller died as a result of a gunshot wound.

According to the press release from the prosecutor’s office, Stewart talked with police, giving information about his whereabouts the night of Sept. 7, when Miller went missing. Stewart told police he last saw Miller at about 11 p.m., when he left the tattoo shop.

Other witnesses said they saw Stewart driving a red pickup truck, and that they saw it parked near the shop on the night of Sept. 7. A witness said he remembered having to remove a 55-gallon barrel from the pickup truck before borrowing it on Sept. 7, and then borrowing the truck on Sept. 8, but it did not have the barrel. That same witness said he saw damage to the truck the morning of Sept. 8; the bed of the truck appeared to be clean and the truck had a new “barrel cart”.

Detectives used Stewart’s cell phone records to determine his location based on the cellular towers that were relaying service to his phone the night of Sept. 7.

Police also obtained video surveillance from a Meijer store located about a mile from the tattoo shop which showed Stewart purchasing several items, including a dolly hand truck, at 1:45 a.m.

Comparing their investigation to the information Stewart provided, police found several inconsistencies.

Another witness, a “business associate” at the tattoo shop, told police he saw Stewart shoot Miller with a silver and black handgun, according to the press release. The witness also said he helped Stewart load the barrel that contained Miller’s body onto the back of Stewart’s truck.

The prosecutor’s office issued an arrest warrant for Stewart, who was arrested Wednesday afternoon, May 1, and booked at the Elkhart County Jail.

Stewart’s initial hearing has been scheduled for Thursday morning at the Elkhart Circuit Court.

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