One of two men charged in the brutal 2013 slayings of a rural southern Indiana couple pleaded guilty to two murder charges Tuesday and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Austin Scott, 21, of New Albany entered the pleas to charges of murder and felony murder in the slayings of Gary Henderson, 70, and Asenath "Senie" Arnold, 57, at the couple's rural home near New Salisbury, about 20 miles west of Louisville, Kentucky.
At the end of his court hearing Tuesday, Scott turned to relatives of the victims and told them, "I would just like to say sorry."
The relatives declined comment afterward.
Special Judge Vicki Carmichael of Clark County accepted Scott's pleas. Under the agreement, the state dropped theft and robbery charges.
Scott's co-defendant, Kevin "Drew" Schuler of Greenville, faces a January trial in Hamilton County in suburban Indianapolis. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Authorities have said Scott and Schuler broke into the couple's home in August 2013. Police have said the men were going to steal guns and prescription drugs, but the situation escalated and Scott stabbed Henderson to death and Schuler beat Arnold to death. Henderson suffered 23 stab wounds.
Scott and Schuler both were 18 at the time of the slayings. Scott's aunt, Shannon Graham, told The (Louisville) Courier-Journal the pair had met less than two months earlier while both were being treated at a psychiatric hospital — Scott for depression and Schuler for drug addiction. When the two were released, Scott stayed with Schuler's family in rural western Floyd County, where the two swam, fished and went four-wheeling.
Henderson and Arnold operated of Welcome Home Carriage Services.
Scott originally entered into a plea agreement last November that would have allowed him to avoid the death penalty by pleading guilty to two counts of murder in exchange for a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He later withdrew that plea, saying he was pressured into pleading guilty. He attempted to re-enter the plea agreement at a January hearing but abandoned it once more under questioning from Carmichael.