Three Juveniles Suspected In The Shooting Of Cromwell Step-Father In Court

By Laura Donaldson

June 18, 2010 Updated Apr 24, 2010 at 9:09 AM EDT

CROMWELL, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - The three boys accused of murdering one of their stepfathers were in court Thursday.

Police say 15-year old Colt Lundy and 12-year old Paul Gingerich are accused of murdering Lundy’s 49-year old stepfather Phillip Danner. Twelve-year old Chase Williams is accused of aiding and causing that murder.

Police found Danner shot to death in his Cromwell home early Wednesday morning.

That was a couple of hours after police arrested the three boys in Peru, Illinois for suspicious activity. Police say marijuana was also found in the car.

In court Thursday, a detective shared details of what Gingerich told police Wednesday night.

He says the neighborhood friends met at a local playground and talked about running away to Arizona together. But they decided the only obstacle in their way was 15-year old Colt Lundy’s stepfather. Police say the boys then formed a plan to kill Danner. A fourth boy who is not being identified came into the conversation and joined them.

All four then went to Danner's home. Lundy and Gingerich went inside while Williams and the fourth boy waited outside according to police. The 15-year old found two guns in the home and gave one to 12-year old Gingerich. Police say they talked about whether or not they could go through with the plan. Then Danner walked through the doorway and police say the boys began shooting. Police say the boys then shot Danner four times, once in the face, twice in the torso and once on the wrist.

Police say Gingerich and Lundy then called the other two boys waiting outside into the home to view the body.

The boys then went to their homes and packed for the trip.

Lundy then stole his stepfather's car and picked up two of his friends and started driving to Arizona with the help of a GPS.

Police did not discuss what happened to the fourth boy. They say they questioned him Thursday and did not say if they are currently holding him.

The prosecutor says the event is upsetting.

“It's a real tragedy for the family, the Danner family,” Kosciusko County Prosecutor Dan Hampton said. “The loss of Phil--my heart goes out to them. However, the crime has been charged as such and with that the system will take its course.”

Lundy’s mother, Danner's wife, was on vacation in Florida. She was not home at the time of the shooting.

Police say they’re also talking to students at Wawasee Middle School and High School to know if the boys discussed plans before allegedly committing them.

Police say this wasn’t the first time the boys had discussed killing Danner. They say Lundy, Gingerich, and Williams discussed killing Danner several weeks prior but they wanted to run away to California at that time.

The three boys have a hearing on April 29th to determine if they will be tried as adults. If found they’re guilty of murder as an adult they could face up to 65-years in jail.

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