Jury: Todd Stewart guilty of murdering tattoo shop business partner

By: NewsCenter 16 Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Email
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The fate of an Elkhart tattoo artist has been decided by 12 jurors.

Todd Stewart, 36, was found guilty of shooting and killing his business partner, 44-year-old Mark Miller, in September 2012.

Miller's body was found stuffed inside a barrel floating along the St. Joseph River in Elkhart County.

He was found shot in the head and legs.

At the Elkhart County Courthouse in Goshen, the jury was sent off into deliberation late Thursday afternoon.

Just before 6 p.m., the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict.

Stewart now faces up to 65 years in prison.

After four days of trial, two testimonies Thursday, and then closing arguments, the jurors were charged with the task of determining whether or not all the evidence pointed to Todd Stewart as the murderer.

Stewart was interviewed just a few days after Miller went missing.

On Thursday, the jury saw video of that first interview, in which Stewart appeared casual, laughing and saying, "People don't just disappear."

Cell phone records from the night show the defendant was near the Six Span Bridge after midnight, just slightly east of where the barrel was found in the St. Joseph River.

Receipts from Meijer also show Stewart purchased a handcart at around that same time.

The lack of physical evidence led defense attorneys to argue that it was Matt Howard -- a coworker at the tattoo shop -- who killed Miller.

Howard testified Wednesday that he heard the gunshot and was then forced by Stewart to load the barrel -- with Miller's body inside -- to Stewart's house.

Tricia Harte is at the Elkhart County Courthouse in Goshen and will provide updates as they become available.

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