1.5 years after dead body found inside barrel, murder suspect asks for trial

Mark Miller's body was found inside a barrel floating down the St. Joseph River. The accused, Todd Stewart, told the court Thursday he plans to go to trial.

Posted on April 10, 2014 at 2:36 p.m.

GOSHEN — A man who faces a murder charge in connection with his business partner's death told the court he plans to go to trial. 

Todd Stewart, 36, of Bristol, appeared in court for a trial status conference Thursday morning, April 10, in the Elkhart Circuit Court.

Stewart is charged with murder for his alleged connection to the death of Mark Miller, whose body was found inside a barrel floating down the St. Joseph River Sept. 20, 2012. A week earlier, Miller's family had filed a missing person report with police.

Stewart's attorney, Cliff Williams, told the court he did not expect to see the case resolved without a trial. Stewart's trial is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. April 28.

Stewart's attorney and the prosecuting attorney for the case told the court all the evidence they needed to present would be ready by the trial date.

Stewart was charged following a six-month investigation by the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department. The Elkhart County coroner ruled Miller's cause of death was from a single gunshot wound. Police determined Miller was killed Sept. 10, 2012. 

During the investigation Stewart told detectives his whereabouts the night of the homicide, but some of his statements did not match with what police found during their investigation.

The Elkhart County Prosecutor's Office filed a murder charge against Stewart on May 1, 2013. A trial was initially scheduled for Sept. 9, but has since been rescheduled twice.

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