New Year’s Day murder suspect says he found victim on porch

Local News

Justin Gasaway, 32, is facing a murder charge following an apparent stabbing on Jan 1.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A Terre Haute man facing murder charges told authorities he found the dead man on his porch.

Authorities responded to the home of Justin Gasaway, 233 S. 9th Street, New Year’s Day for an initial call of a cardiac arrest. When they arrived, Gasaway told officers he had found the homeless man on his porch, and he believed the man was dead.

Court records identified the man as 61-year-old Bryan J. Owen. According to Police Chief Shawn Keen, the victim’s family was notified Friday.

Gasaway noted he had found Owen sleeping on his porch on several occasions.

A friend who arrived to take Gasaway to work attempted CPR before 911 was called. He later told police Gasaway tried to get him to stop CPR because Owen was “already gone.”

Owen was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Doctors also found a stab wound to his back.

Back at the residence, detectives found what appeared to be a bloody knife stabbed through a cardboard box, and Gasaway’s mother acknowledged seeing her son with the knife earlier in the evening. Preliminary chemical tests on the knife tested positive for the presence of human blood, according to court records.

Another person who lives at the residence told police he had witnessed Gasaway hitting and kicking Owen “multiple times” in an attempt to get him off the porch; however, he never saw Gasaway use a weapon.

According to court records, a woman close to Gasaway told police he “gets mean when he drinks,” and she believed he had been drinking that night based on text messages he sent her.

That state has until Jan. 8 to file formal charges against Gasaway. He is being held at the Vigo County Jail without bond.

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