By GARY POPP
After a nearly month-long investigation into a Charlestown home burglary, three suspects — all from the city — are in jail.
The men charged in the robbery are Billy Ray Watson, 19, of 310 Locust St.; Joshua Lee Mullins, 22, of 213 Delta Drive; and Shawn Casey Whiteman Jr., 19, of 8620 Bonniebell Drive.
On Oct. 15, the owner of a home in 100 block of Hodge Street returned to the residence about 10 p.m. to find a light on that quickly turned off. Knowing no one should have been inside the home, the homeowner quickly called 911, the Charlestown Police Department reported.
While police were en route, the homeowner saw three males jumping over wooden privacy fence on the rear of property before fleeing into an adjacent wooded area. The homeowner later reported a shotgun, XBox game system, laptop computer, digital camera and knife missing from the home. Police reported the total value of the property at about $1,300.
After arriving to the burglary call, Charlestown police sent out a K-9 unit and began tracking the suspects. The K-9 officer reported his K-9, Kubo, picked up a fresh track that led from the victim’s home to the area of Mullins’ house.
During the initial investigation, police were not able to locate any of the three suspects.
The following day, CPD received an anonymous tip that three males were overheard talking about committing a recent burglary. The tipster identified the suspects as Mullins, Whiteman and Watson.
During the police investigation, Mullins was discovered to have sold the stolen shotgun to an individual in Otisco, police reported. Police were able to recover the firearm from a residence in the 300 block of Leon Prall Road. Mullins later admitted to his involvement in the burglary. He was arrested booked into the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex on Oct. 22.
Mullins was charged with robbery — conspiracy to commit, a class C felony, in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1 on Oct. 25. He was placed under a $35,000 court-cash bond. He had numerous criminal charges over the past few years, according to online court records, including residential entry, theft and battery.
Charlestown police continued its investigation and interviewed Whiteman and Watson on Oct. 21, at which time both men denied being involved in the robbery. Whiteman and Watson were eventually allowed to leave when the questioning concluded, but police continued investigating both men and their possible involvement in the robbery.
On Oct. 31, investigators spoke for a second time with Watson and confronted him with evidence that connected him to the crime. Watson then admitted to his role in the burglary and he was booked into the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex on Nov. 1.
He was charged in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1 on Oct. 25 with robbery — defendant armed or bodily injury results to one other than defendant, conspiracy to commit. Watson was paced under a $30,000 court-cash bond.
Investigator interviewed Whiteman again Monday, Nov. 12, and also presented him with evidence that implemented him in the burglary. Whiteman admitted to his involvement in the burglary and he was booked into the jail later in the day on a preliminary charge of burglary, a class B felony.
On Thursday Whiteman appeared in Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 and was placed under a $25,000 cash-only bond.
He has not been officially charged, as Clark County prosecutors requested additional time to file formal charges.
The three men remained in the Clark County jail as of Friday.