GREENFIELD — A woman has pleaded not guilty to the murder of an Indianapolis woman found last week in a cornfield in western Hancock County, and two other suspects remained held without charges Tuesday as the investigation continued.
Amanda Gonzales, 27, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and assisting a criminal in the shooting death of Katrina Miller, whose body was found last Thursday night in a field on CR 800W near CR 350N. Meanwhile, police are still investigating what role two other men, Ronnie Westbrook and Joe Meyers, played in the slaying, which was reportedly over a dispute involving drugs.
Both suspects, who listed addresses in Indianapolis, have criminal histories. Westbrook, 26, is reportedly on GPS monitoring through the Indiana Department of Correction, having been convicted in 2010 of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. DOC records show he previously served time for criminal confinement, sexual misconduct with a minor and burglary. He was wearing a GPS monitoring bracelet at the time he was taken into custody early Monday, court documents state.
Hancock County Prosecutor Michael Griffin said Westbrook will be held until a court determines whether he violated the terms of his DOC monitoring.
Meanwhile, authorities have already requested and received a 72-hour hold for Meyers, whose previous convictions include robbery and criminal confinement in 2007 and rape and criminal deviate conduct in 1992.
The victim and all three suspects were living in Marion County, and Miller is believed to have been killed in Hancock County, just east of the Marion County line.
Griffin said because the case crosses county lines, the investigation has been a multi-agency effort, which has required continual communication between local authorities and those from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Marion County coroner’s office.
“We have to be careful to synchronize all of our efforts toward the same goal,” he said. “We are investigating three individuals, and as is often the case, they have different versions of events, and we’re trying to get down to the version that actually happened.”
Griffin said the case has developed quickly, and authorities have been working tirelessly since Miller was found Thursday.
“Each person who is a main part of the investigation is putting in 15 to 20 hours per day, and that’s been the case since last Thursday,” he said.
Gonzales was arrested based on statements she is accused of making to at least three other people about the slaying.
According to court records, Gonzales said Westbrook became angry when some heroin and other drugs went missing from his Indianapolis hotel room, and he threatened to kill both Gonzales and Miller if the drugs weren’t found.
Gonzales told at least three witnesses that she rode with Westbrook, Meyers and Miller to the cornfield where Miller was shot, court documents state. Gonzales named Meyers as the shooter, court documents state.
Attorney Jim McNew of Greenfield was assigned by the court Tuesday to represent Gonzales. She returns to court for a hearing Sept. 22.