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Murder charge dropped in meth-related death


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VERNON — Authorities dropped a murder charge against a Jennings County man held in connection with a methamphetamine lab explosion that left one dead.

Jennings County Prosecutor Alan Marshall dropped the murder charge against Lacy D. Smith, 28, Butlerville. However, a Class B felony charge of aiding in manufacturing methamphetamine has been filed.

Smith was arrested over the weekend on a charge of murder in the death of Brian E. Short, 39, of North Vernon.

“The judge set bail at $100,000,” Marshall said of Jennings Circuit Judge Jon W. Webster. Smith has yet to appear for his initial hearing and was being held Monday at the Jennings County jail in Vernon.

 

Marshall said the initial murder charge was sought because Short’s death occurred during the alleged commission of a felony, in this case manufacturing methamphetamine.

Police released few details Monday about the death of Short, although an investigation continues, Lt. Brian Talkington with Jennings County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

That investigation began when county officers responded to a 911 call around 4:45 a.m. Sunday at 1460 N. County Road 275E and discovered Short’s body in a vehicle sitting in the home’s driveway.

Talkington said the 911 call was made by Short’s mother, who shared the residence with her son.

Smith also was arrested there, Talkington said.

Talkington declined to discuss any additional details about the investigation, including whether anyone else might have been involved.

Police said Sunday that Short and Smith were operating a methamphetamine lab at Smith’s residence at 1455 N. 750E in Butlerville.

“During the cook, the lab ingredients exploded, causing a fire in the kitchen area of the residence,” Maj. Jerry Shepherd said.

Jennings County Coroner Gene Rudicel pronounced Short dead at the scene where his remains were found in the vehicle off County Road 275E.

Talkington said an autopsy was scheduled in Indianapolis, but he wasn’t sure when it would be conducted.

Talkington said the explosion and fire damaged the living room, kitchen and part of a patio area of Smith’s residence.

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