News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 27, 2013

One of two men charged in Linton woman’s death to plead guilty

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

LINTON — A Greene County man accused in the June murder of a Linton teenager has agreed to plead guilty to felony murder.

Jordan Buskirk, 26, appeared in Greene Superior Court on Tuesday where Judge Dena Martin set a change of plea hearing for Dec. 3.

Buskirk has indicated that he will plead guilty to felony murder, which carries a sentencing range of 45 to 65 years in prison, and to class-A felony conspiracy to commit murder, class-B felony conspiracy to commit rape and class-C felony criminal confinement.

Sentencing is to be at left to the court’s discretion; however, the sentences for the murder, conspiracy to commit murder and criminal confinement are to run at the same time, according to the negotiated plea agreement. The judge will decide if the sentence for conspiracy to commit rape would run consecutively or concurrently to the three other charges. The prosecution has agreed not to make a sentencing recommendation.

Also, Buskirk has agreed to cooperate in the case against a co-defendant, Randal Crosley, 25.

Buskirk had been scheduled to go on trial in February, but that date was vacated.

Crosley has a jury trial set for March 3, and is scheduled to return to court Monday for a hearing.

Crosley faces the same criminal charges as Buskirk, with the addition of two class-C felony counts of dealing in a controlled substance.

The two men were arrested in June in the death of 19-year-old Katelyn N. Wolfe, whose father reported her missing June 6, about 20 hours after she was last seen walking in Linton.

The defendants are accused of picking up Wolfe from her Linton home on June 5 and driving to a rural area where they attempted to rape her. According to the police report, the men killed Wolfe by strangling her with a rope when she fought against them. They then are alleged to have put her body in the trunk of Crosley’s car, before binding her body with a rope and a 20-pound anchor and tossing her body into a Sullivan County lake.

After police were notified of Wolfe’s disappearance by her father, investigators used phone records to contact several people who were believed to be in communication with Wolfe at about the time of her disappearance. That led police to Buskirk and Crosley, who later talked to police about their alleged involvement in the disappearance and death of Wolfe.