Victoria WIlliams

Victoria Williams

Defendant in triple murder asks for death penalty

Posted: Mar 12, 2009 10:27 PM EDT

Chris Proffitt/Eyewitness News

Noblesville - A Parke County man accused of three murders told a judge he wants to die for his crimes Friday.

Chad Cottrell admitted in court that he murdered his wife and two young stepdaughters. The judge accepted his guilty plea and could sentence him to death next month.

Trisha Cottrell, 29, and her daughters, 12-year-old Brittany and 10-year-old Victoria Williams were shot to death in their Rockville home in October 2005.

"There's evil out there in the world and I think that's identified in the person of Chad Cottrell," said Rick Zaikovsky, Trisha's father and the girls' grandfather.

The victims' family says that after murdering his wife and stepdaughters, Cottrell calmly played a round of golf, then fled to Minnesota. He was captured there and brought back to Indiana, where prosecutors sought the death penalty. Citing pre-trial publicity, Cottrell's attorneys received a change of venue from Parke County to Hamilton County, where his trial was set for this month.

While awaiting trial, Cottrell wrote a letter to the judge in the case, admitting his guilt, waiving his right to a trial and asking for the death penalty. After an evaluation by two psychiatrists, who determined Cottrell was competent to enter a guilty plea, the judge accepted the plea and scheduled sentencing in late April.

Cottrell's attorney, Eric Koselke, told Eyewitness News he would comment when the case is over. His client admitted in court to murdering his wife and stepdaughters after trying to molest the two girls. The judge in the case could impose the death penalty, life without parole or a term of years.

"This is not a day of celebration, but it is a day of justice for my daughter Trisha and granddaughters Brittany and Tory," Zaikovsky said.

Saying he wants to die by lethal injection, Cottrell may get his wish. The sentencing hearing is April 29 and could last 2-3 days. The judge denied Cottrell's request to return to the Parke County Jail.

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


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