COSTON VIDEOTAPED INTERVIEWS PLAYED IN WHITE COUNTY COURTPosted by Jack Howser on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 @ 12:46 pm.
WHITE CO.---Over objections by the defense, the state was allowed this morning to enter into evidence for this hearing the DVD-recorded interviews law enforcement authorities conducted with accused murderer Danny Coston in August of 2012.
Coston, 37, is the rural White County man who stands charged with five counts of First Degree Murder in the deaths of Jacob Wheeler, 22, and Jessica Evans, 17, the two young White County people who were camping last summer at a rural location in Centerville on the Little Wabash when authorities allege Coston came upon their campsite and shot Wheeler to death, sexually assaulted Evans, subsequently shot her, then hid Wheeler's body in a rural Wayne County location north of the crime scene. In addition to the Class M (murder) charges, he faces counts of Aggravated Battery with a Firearm, Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault and Concealing a Homicidal Death in connection with the weekend incident, which came to light after the two young people were reported missing on August 26.
The playing of the DVDs came as a surprise to much of the packed courtroom, and the DVDs were entered into evidence after the state, represented by White County State's Attorney Denton Aud, elicited brief testimony from ISP investigators Rick White and Bryan Harms. Most of their testimony centered around the interviews that the two, along with White County Sheriff Doug Maier, conducted with Coston.
In the interviews, Coston, wearing work jeans and boots and a green t-shirt (the one he was wearing in his booking photo), seems relatively calm and composed while Rick White was doing most of the talking. Coston spent 26 minutes in the first interview being vague about the events of the last weekend of August 2012, attributing that to having been at the Legion in New Haven and as a result, very drunk. But he did, on a couple of occasions when asked directly, say that he "didn't murder anybody" because he's "not a murderer; I'm not like that; you know that."
However, when human blood was discovered in the bed of his truck while the second interview was being conducted, he became more guarded and less affable, crossing his arms in front of him and seeming to lack enough air in his lungs to finish many of his sentences.
Maier played "good cop" to Harms' "bad cop," and it wasn't just playing...Maier, having known Coston for a long time, was very supportive of the man, who he kept telling to just "tell us what happened (at the camp scene); and we'll deal with it."
Finally, when Harms left the room, Coston told Maier, after a nearly-whispered apology, "You wanna deal with it. Alright. I wasn't being truthful with ya. I did talk to two people---this is what you're wanting, right?---There was this guy and a woman, she kept coming on to me, he got pissed, he had a pistol, he shot, I remember him shooting, that's all I remember."
But he "remembered" more. He ultimately said that he and the girl had gone off to have sex, that the man came and shot the girl, and that he and the man struggled with the weapon and Coston shot him "because I thought I was gonna be next."
Repeatedly, Coston, nearly sobbing at a few points, said "I'm not a murderer! I didn't mean for this to happen!"
When Harms came back into the room, Coston recounted the story, including how he'd dumped the man's body north of the interstate. Maier got out a map and Coston showed him roughly where he believed the body was (five days after the crime). He also added that he had thrown the pistol out the window on the way there.
This, we learned last September, was not the last interview, nor the last word. The alleged "confession" came about, Maier said, in the third interview, this being the story that matched up with evidence.
It's expected that we will see and hear this interview on DVD when we get back from break. Update will come after court is over; be looking for it. And if you're not familiar with the Coston story, if you subscribe to our online content right now, you can read every article in its entirety from when it first began being produced in the September 19, 2012 issue of Disclosure; click this link and for only $5.99 a month, you can catch up with everything. The full coverage of the hearings, expected to last through Thursday, will be in the next edition of Disclosure, on stands in just three weeks, as we're having two papers in July with a special edition; deliveries of the current paper are underway right now and you can check the Facebook page for updates on vendors delivered.
Check back in a few hours; and as always, check here for breaking news.
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