VALPARAISO – Four weeks after Melinda Lindsey died from a gunshot wound to the head in her bedroom, her husband faced a judge in a Porter County court to answer to charges that he did it..
Steven Lindsey, 35, through his attorney, Larry Rogers, entered a plea of not guilty to felony murder during the Friday hearing.
Superior Court Judge William Alexa said there is an order for a DNA swab from Lindsey.
“We’re aware of that. He’ll cooperate,” Rogers said.
Melinda Lindsey, 23, died after she was shot in the head on Jan. 16 in the couple’s Center Township home at 509 Ind. 149.
In court, Steven Lindsey wore a black and white striped prison uniform, and looked over court documents before the hearing began. He spoke softly to Alexa, and said he takes medication for anxiety and depression. He told police in court documents he takes Xanax, Zoloft and Valium, as well as sleep medication, and suffers from panic attacks and night terrors.
The investigation into Melinda Lindsey’s death took a few weeks to get the information and evidence that led to the murder charge, which was filed Thursday, said Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel.
“In some crimes, the evidence leads to immediate arrest. In others, it takes time to put together a strong case,” he said.
If Steven Lindsey is found guilty, a jury could sentence him to 45 to 65 years in prison, and subject him to a fine of up to $10,000. His trial is scheduled for June 8.
Alexa did not set bond, and a bond hearing will be held at a later date. Bond is rarely granted in murder cases, Rogers said, but the hearing will give the defense a chance to look at the state’s case.
“The charge placed against you is the most serious charge we have in the state of Indiana,” Alexa said. “It appears they have some strong evidence towards that.”
According to those documents, Lindsey told police he fell asleep on the couch around 2 a.m. and woke up to a choke hold that lifted him off the couch before everything went black.
He told police he later woke up in his daughter’s bedroom to the sound of a gunshot, and his hands bound behind his back with zip ties. He said that even though his hands were tied behind his back, he was able to get them to his side and call 911 on his cell phone.
Court documents state that preliminary tests on Steven Lindsey returned presumptive positive for gunshot residue, though he told police he hadn’t shot any weapons recently.
He also tried to file a claim to collect on his wife’s life insurance police, which was $1 million, with an additional $100,000 in the event of an accidental death.