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Brittany Williams

Brittany Williams

Authorities: Triple-Homicide Suspect Lied To Boy About Shootings

Man Told Child He Shot Deer, Court Records Say

POSTED: 7:42 pm EST November 3, 2005
A man charged with killing his wife and two stepdaughters told a boy who overheard the shootings that he had shot three deer, authorities said Thursday. A judge entered not-guilty pleas for Chad Cottrell, 35, during the rural Rockville man's initial court appearance on three murder charges Thursday. Cottrell was captured Tuesday in central Minnesota and was returned to Indiana on Wednesday. Killed in the shootings Saturday night were Trisha Cottrell, 29, and her daughters Brittany Williams, 12, and Victoria "Tori" Williams, 10.
Authorities released a probable cause affidavit signed by Sheriff Charles Bollinger that quoted an unidentified, 6-year-old juvenile who was present at the home during the shootings late Saturday. The child said Cottrell was arguing with Brittany "when he heard multiple gunshots in the residence. Chad Cottrell then told the juvenile he had just shot three deer."

Bollinger has said separately that a "very young boy" was at the home around the time that the slayings occurred but was not harmed, and Cottrell took the boy to stay with a relative. The affidavit also said Cottrell on Monday had given a friend a phone message that said he had "reached the end of my dusty trail."

"Tell my family that I love them -- what's left of them," Cottrell said in the message, according to the affidavit. Parke County prosecutor Steve Cvengros on Thursday said Cottrell qualified for the death penalty but that he would consult with the families of the victims before deciding whether to file capital charges. Each of the murder charges also carries prison sentences of 45 years to 65 years.

The girls' father, Ryan Williams, said he favored the death penalty. "I feel lost. My daughters are dead and I'm lost. I know that the world's going to keep turning and the sun's going to come up, but it's going to turn a little slower and the sun's not going to be as bright," Williams said at a news conference.

Judge Sam Swaim ordered Cottrell held without bond in the Parke County Jail and appointed attorney Jessie Cook to represent him. The sheriff's affidavit said the bodies were discovered Monday morning by the girls' grandmother, Tricia Parker, and that the victims all appeared to have died from gunshot wounds. Cottrell was arrested in Minnesota on Tuesday after not paying for fuel at a service station and being chased by police.

Williams, during the news conference with Cvengros, recalled his slain daughters with fondness. "Brittany was really rambunctious. She was just so much into dresses and jewelry. And Tori, we called her Tori-bear, because when she hugged you she kind of growled," Williams said. The girls' stepsister, 13-year-old Ambreena Adams, wiped away tears as she also spoke at the news conference. "If you have a brother or sister, show them that you love them and that you need them and that you can't live without them, because I don't know how I'm going to live without my sisters," she said.


Also see posts for dear mother Trisha Cottrell and sister Victoria Williams.

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