STATE ASKS FOR DNA TO BE TAKEN FROM MURDER SUSPECT’S GIRLFRIEND
WHITE CO.—Judge Mark Stanley has entered an order for buccal swab (DNA) evidence to be taken from Candice Brown, the girlfriend of Danny K. Coston, who stands charged in White County with the deaths of two local young people, Jacob Wheeler and Jessica Evans.
The DNA evidence request came at the end of a rather routine first appearance for Brown this morning in White County circuit court.
Amidst a host of the charged in White County including DUIs, driving suspended, operating without insurance, and the never-ending cycle of pay-or-appear (also known in many courts as “cry & lie day”), Brown, 30, was inserted as if her singular felony among the traffic and misdemeanor charges were no big deal.
Except that the contingent that was accompanying her—and the sheer number of media people present—belied that notion.
Brown, who is pregnant with Coston’s third child, held her composure (as well as the somewhat arrogant expression captured so artfully in her mugshot taken at the Richland County sheriff’s department upon her Sept. 17 arrest for a charge of Obstruction of Justice) throughout the mundane tasks of the court proceeding, a first appearance which, because of the volume of others appearing at the exact same time, took a half-hour.
Stanley read the charge against Brown: That on August 31, 2012, during an interview with law enforcement, she knowingly furnished false information regarding Coston’s case in that she lied to investigators, telling Sheriff Doug Maier that Coston didn’t leave their house in the Centerville area until some time between 5 and 6 a.m. on the morning of August 26, 2012.
We now know that authorities believe Coston was out in the early morning hours of that date, and that this was when he shot and killed both Wheeler, 22, and Evans, 17, near the banks of the Little Wabash River. Authorities also allege that Coston, before shooting and killing Evans, sexually assaulted her, calling the assault “consensual,” and that he went to some effort to hide Wheeler’s body, removing it from the scene and taking it to a rural location in Wayne County (south Pond Creek area).
If convicted of the charge of Obstruction, Brown could face 1 to 3 years in DOC; if there are special circumstances (as in, if the alleged crime she was allegedly obstructing lead to the death of another), the sentencing range could be from 3 to 6 years DOC.
Stanley asked Brown if she were going to retain counsel, represent herself, or ask for a public defender. She opted for the public defender route, and Stanley had her step to the clerk’s desk to pick up paperwork showing she was eligible. The misdemeanors and traffic cases went on around her as she sat at the defense table filling out this paperwork, and she turned it in for review by the judge, who declared that she qualified. She was appointed Fairfield attorney Matt Vaughn as her counsel. A preliminary hearing date of November 7 was set, to commence at 10 a.m.
It appeared Brown believed she was done and was preparing to leave the courtroom when White County State’s Attorney T. Scott Webb stepped forward and advised Stanley that he had filed a motion for a buccal swab to be taken from Brown.
She stopped and stood still in the middle of the open space before the judge’s desk, throwing a look at Webb that was largely unreadable…but it didn’t appear good.
Webb cocked his head to one side and offered an explanation.
“Yeah, you see, this motion can be asked for, and granted, without counsel present or even without a court proceeding in place, according to Supreme Court Rules,” he told her.
She looked at the judge.
“Is there any objection by the defendant?” Stanley asked mildly.
“No,” she said, barely audible. “I guess not.”
“So ordered,” Stanley said, “with no objection by the defendant.”
Brown left the courtroom with what appeared to be tears in her eyes; those downstairs who watched her leave advised that she was sniffling and wiping back tears as she went to the sheriff’s department to obtain paperwork of some sort (possibly for the buccal swab, which is a q-tip thing that takes a saliva and tissue sample from the inside of a person’s cheek).
Brown stayed with the contingent that had been following her to and from all of Coston’s court hearings, including a set of older ladies who appeared to have been with Coston’s family early on.
How Coston’s family is reacting to Brown, and the charges against her, is largely unknown at this time. Whether there will be some sort of split, depending upon what the investigation reveals, is also unknown.
But if there’s unidentified DNA in some aspect of the crime scene, and this is what Webb is after with the buccal swab, that might present some kind of split, depending upon where said DNA was found. Was it at the scene of the alleged sexual assault? Was it at the scene of any of the locations where the blood of the deceased was found?
Or is it in a location that no one has revealed yet, that aspect of it potentially giving away more than investigators want the public to know for right now?
The entire mess is developing tendrils that may go nowhere…or may point to something more insidious than anyone has imagined yet.
Keep checking Disclosure for more information as it develops…don’t forget to pick up this month’s special edition, on stands for only a short time (the next one is in JUST TWO WEEKS, as it’s the continuation of this year’s election coverage)…and don’t forget that you can get the entire paper, as well as articles from Disclosure Heartland, when you get an e-Edition membership and have it all delivered right here to your computer.
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