An Indiana teenager is accused of shooting his own father and then letting his friend take responsibility for the murder.
James Jason Burkhart, 51, was gunned down in a Centerville home on December 19, according to local media WXIN reported earlier this month.
Following the grim discovery of Burkhart’s body, investigators were alerted that a murder suspect may have fled the state, en route to Ohio. That night, the Ohio State Highway Patrol spotted a vehicle matching the description provided, driven by a friend of Burkhart’s 16-year-old son, WIXN reported. The 15-year-old did not stop when approached by law enforcement, leading to a prosecution, authorities said. The chase ended after the car crashed into a ditch at Columbus, a local store WCMH Reports.
The teenage driver was taken to hospital in serious but stable condition. He allegedly claimed responsibility for the murder of his friend’s father.
However, investigators got their hands on security footage, which allegedly painted a different story. They say the footage showed it was Burkhart’s son who shot his father, WXIN Reports. Investigators believe the couple lured Burkhart to the friend’s house, where his own son shot him in the head. The son then reportedly shot his father again, with a different weapon.
The audio in the footage reportedly revealed that the friend said he would take responsibility for the murder. Its reason for doing so is unclear.
The friend then fled to Ohio with both guns in Burkhart’s car, according to the probable cause statement.
Burkhart’s son was arrested in Indiana and he faces one count of murder, according to a press release from the Indiana State Police. He should be charged as an adult. His friend faces murder and vehicle theft charges. He is currently in the juvenile justice system.
Bourkhart held both psychology and art degrees and had retired from his post as director of state security, according to his obituary.
“My dad was a really funny guy who loved life and loved to joke around,” said Jason Burkhart, another son of the slain man. Oxygen.com.
His obituary said he was everyone’s friend.
“It wasn’t long before he told a good joke that got you feeling his infectious laughter and arguing for hours to prove his point,” it read. “He was affectionately known as the Grumpy Paws to his grandchildren, and Uncle Meanie Head to his nieces and nephews, who loved and favored him.
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