GREENFIELD — An Indianapolis man who police said dumped his friend’s body in a public park last summer after she overdosed on heroin pleaded guilty to altering the scene of a death Tuesday, but he will serve no additional time in jail, according to Hancock County prosecutors.
Billy Paschal, 61, has been in the Hancock County Jail since he was arrested Sept. 3, the day police discovered the body of his friend, Theodosia Regina Queen, 61, of Indianapolis, in Jacob Schramm Nature Preserve in New Palestine.
Toxicology tests conducted on Queen’s body showed she died from a drug overdose — supporting the story Paschal told police following his arrest, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Marie Castetter said. Paschal lost his nerve after Queen died and left her body in the nature preserve, Castetter said.
Paschal pleaded guilty to a Level 6 felony charge of altering the scene of a death. He has spent about three months in jail, and he’ll spend the next year on probation, Castetter said.
Paschal told investigators “it was the drugs and booze” that killed his friend, according to court documents. He watched Queen become incapacitated after using heroin one night in early August; she died in the back of her Jeep, and he drove her to Hancock County and dumped her body in a panic, he told police.
Queen’s body was spotted by a passing motorist near the edge of a wooded area in the 1600 block of South County Road 600W in New Palestine. Investigators identified Queen by her fingerprints and learned she and Paschal lived together at the Skyline Motel in the 6600 block of East Washington Street, court records state.
Police met Paschal there within hours of Queen’s body being found. He initially denied having seen Queen, saying she stormed out after an argument the night before, court documents state. Later, he changed his story, police said.
During an interview at the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Paschal told police Queen used heroin to alleviate back pain and other medical problems, court documents state. He said he was with her when she stopped to get heroin, and he watched as she used the drug, became incoherent and passed out.
Paschal returned to their motel with Queen lying in the back seat, court documents state. He told police he thought she would sleep it off, and so he left her in the car and checked on her several times before finding her body was stiff and cold the next morning, court documents state.
Paschal told police he was scared and didn’t know what to do. He feared the police would think he had killed Queen, he said, so he drove around with Queen’s body “‘til he found a place,” court documents state.
Level 6 felony charges carry a penalty of six months to 2½ years. One Class A misdemeanor charge of failure to report a dead body originally filed against Paschal was dropped.
Because of Paschal’s lack of criminal history, the prosecutor’s office opted to pen an agreement that best reflected his involvement with crime, Prosecutor Brent Eaton said. Paschal will have to remain drug-free during his time on probation, he added.