Police ask to keep suspect in jail

GREENFIELD — Investigators have asked a judge to allow them to continue holding a Pendleton man in jail while they finalize the murder and robbery charges they expect to file against him Monday.

Shawn Hammons, 40, is being held in the Hancock County Jail on preliminary charges related to moving a dead body, but police believe he played a bigger in the death of Shannon Kitchens, whose body was found along a rural road in McCordsville Tuesday night.

Investigators are calling Kitchens’ death a homicide. He and Hammons were friends, and they were together in the hours before Kitchens was found with a fatal gunshot wound, Hancock County Sheriff’s Capt. Robert Campbell said.

Kitchens’ body was found in the 3300 block of West County Road 500N. A passerby spotted the 55-year-old McCordsville resident and called 911.

Hammons was booked into the Hancock County Jail at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday; records show he is being held on preliminary charges of failure to report a dead body within three hours and failure to report a dead body with the intent to hinder an investigation.

But investigators are still working to piece together details about what happened before Kitchens’ death, officials said. They’ve asked a judge to allow them to keep Hammons in jail as they prepare a final report.

They expect to file murder charges against Hammons by Monday afternoon, Campbell said

Prosecutors are given 48 hours after a person is arrested to file formal criminal charges, Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said. If that time expires, the person is released from custody.

Thursday afternoon, prosecutors filed a motion with Hancock Circuit Court Judge Richard Culver asking for an additional 72 hours. Culver approved the request, giving prosecutors until Monday to file charges, Eaton said.

That additional time will allow the state to weigh all the evidence surrounding Kitchens’ death, Eaton said.

“ … There is a lot of information to consider,” Eaton said.

Police have released few details about Kitchens, his death or Hammons’ involvement, to protect the ongoing investigation, Campbell said.

After Kitchens’ body was found Tuesday, police closed a mile stretch of West County Road 500N between county roads 300W and 400W to search for evidence.

Their investigation took them to a home on the north side of Fortville where more than 15 officers from three local law enforcement agencies were called to the home in the 700 block of Alden Drive, dispatch records show.

Officers remained on the scene overnight and continued their investigation early Wednesday.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.