Robin Sowders was found severely beaten and lying in a pool of his blood at his home in Bloomington, Indiana in 2010.
He had suffered a broken sternum and received a blunt-force injury to the head. Three years later his stepson Andre Wells was put on trial, found guilty of his murder and sentenced to a lengthy jail term.
This case was surprising as the victim and perpetrator were perceived to have got on well together, and had spent time drinking and smoking marijuana in each other’s company. They had been out drinking together the night Sowders was beaten, and Wells told detectives that he had last seen his stepfather stumbling drunkenly towards the front door of his house.
However, police believe that Wells became angered by a text sent to his mother from Sowders. In the text Sowders threatened to kill Wells. At some point in the evening Wells’s mother informed him of this text, before he returned to the victim’s home, wrapped his hands in duct tape and proceeded to beat and stomp his stepfather to death.
Sowders was found, still alive, by a friend the following morning, however he died of his injuries later that day. Wells denied any involvement when interviewed by law enforcement, but it was later discovered that he had bragged to a friend about the killing. This friend later turned against Wells, becoming a police informant.
Detectives built a case against Wells based on cell phone records, evidence from the informant, and a Facebook post where Wells stated “I’m still free”. In November, 2013, 12 Monroe Circuit Court jurors, after 10 hours of deliberations, decided they did not believe Wells’s version of events and found him guilty of murder.
In 2015 an appeal by Wells, arguing that there had been errors in the plaintiff’s case failed, and the original determination of the court still stands.
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