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Convicted murderer sentenced in robbery

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A former Edinburgh man who was on probation for the 1985 murder of a Columbus used-car dealer has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for robbing a Morgan County bank.

Joseph G. “Jody” Everroad, 53, who was ordered in 1988 to serve 60 years for the murder of Wesley Tichenor, was sentenced Tuesday in Morgan County after being convicted by a jury of armed robbery and theft. The charges were in connection with a June 4, 2012, holdup at the First Merchants Bank in Morgantown.

Morgan Superior Court I Judge G. Thomas Gray ordered that the sentence be served consecutively with whatever penalty is handed down in Shelby County for violation of Everroad’s Oct. 6, 2010, probation. That charge could add 10 years to Everroad’s sentence, according to Morgan County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Harold Blake.

Everroad used a handgun during the three-minute bank robbery and left with about $6,000, Blake said.

A ping from a cellphone tower located near the bank was used to track Everroad’s cellphone after the crime, Blake said.

The ping allowed officers to follow him to his home on the south side of Indianapolis. Before he was caught, Everroad drove to Danville to pay off a debt to a teacher who helped him while he was in prison, Blake said.

Everroad had 37 $5 bills and several $20 bills when police found him. He told police he received the cash from a female stripper who owed him money.

The weapon used in the robbery was never recovered, and it was never proved the money came from the bank, Blake said, but the jury accepted the evidence that was available.

While Everroad may be known as a convicted robber in Morgan County, he’s remembered as a murderer in Bartholomew County.

The body of Tichenor was found Oct. 4, 1985, in the office of his used-car dealership. He had been shot 18 times and bludgeoned with a sledgehammer.

Former Bartholomew County Prosecutor Joe Koenig, who continued to supervise the state’s case after it was moved to Shelby County due to pretrial publicity, said the murder was committed as a means to settle a drug debt involving the victim’s son.

After his sentencing, Everroad continued to claim that, while he was an accomplice, he was not the killer. Everroad maintained that he left the dealership before Tichenor was killed and returned only to pick up shell casings left from the shooting.

During a series of appeals, Everroad claimed that Koenig promised him immunity in exchange for his testimony against the murderer. Koenig denied that a deal was made, and the appeals were denied.

In 1998, the court ordered that 10 years of Everroad’s sentence be reduced for good behavior. While he was in prison, Everroad also received additional credit for earning a bachelor’s degree.

Indiana Department of Correction spokesman Doug Garrison said it was the court, not the prison system, that approved Everroad’s release on probation 22 years after he was sentenced by Special Judge Charles D. O’Connor in Shelby County Court.

Everroad was able to get a job as a paralegal for an Indianapolis attorney.

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