The trial of a Seymour man charged with killing his ex-wife and shooting her daughter in their Jennings County home has been postponed.
Jury selection originally was scheduled to begin Friday in the trial of James “Darrell” Sowder.
He’s charged with murder and attempted murder in the July 29 shooting that killed 64-year-old Candice Sowder and seriously wounded her 42-year-old daughter, Regina Johnson.
However, Jennings County Prosecutor Alan W. Marshall said that Circuit Court Judge Jon W. Webster granted a request from Sowder’s attorney for the postponement.
The trial has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. June 17. Ten days have been set aside for the trial, according to docket information for Jennings County Circuit Court.
“The defense council moved for the continuance in order to better prepare their case,” said Marshall.
Marshall said the defense requested extra time in order to seek depositions from many prosecution witnesses.
James and Candice Sowder had been divorced for about three years, but they had been seeing each other off and on since the divorce, neighbors told The Republic in July.
According to an affidavit:
Candice Sowder and four other people went to Hayden the night of the shootings when her ex-husband arrived at her house in the southwest corner of Country Squire Lakes.
Regina Johnson’s boyfriend, John Charles, said he was awakened by the sound of James Sowder in his bedroom, hitting Johnson repeatedly in the head.
After a brief scuffle, James Sowder walked out of the house just as his ex-wife and her passengers returned. Candice Sowder got out the car and walked up on the porch to confront her former husband.
Darrell Sowder got a gun out of his SUV, returned to the porch, grabbed his ex-wife by the back of the neck and shot her.
Darrell Sowder went back into the house and broke down the door to Johnson and Charles’ bedroom.
Johnson, who was behind the door when it collapsed, was shoved back between the bed and a wall.
A moment later, she was shot just as emergency units began arriving at the house.
Sowder was arrested as he tried to drive away on a nearby street.
Marshall said he has never considered seeking the death penalty.
“It’s very expensive, and it could bankrupt the county,” Marshall said.
Marshall cited the case of a former Indiana State Police trooper who was convicted twice of killing his wife and their two children in their Floyd County home in 2000.
Both convictions were overturned. As a result of the costly appeals involved in death penalty cases, Marshall said Floyd County taxpayers have spent in excess of $3 million. More will be spent later this year when a third trial gets under way.
Besides avoiding hefty costs, Marshall said Sowder’s age also was a factor in not seeking the death penalty.
Murder carries a penalty of 45 to 65 years in prison, according to a state statute.
A murder conviction would mean James Sowder probably would spend the rest of his life in prison, Marshall said.
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