BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. - A southern Indiana man long considered the sole suspect in the May shooting deaths of four people was formally charged Friday in those killings.
Bartholomew County prosecutors filed four counts of murder against Samuel Earl Sallee, 56, in charging documents that include an arrest warrant for the Columbus man, WIBC-FM reported (http://bit.ly/1jYXlkb ).
Bartholomew County Sheriff's Maj. Todd Noblitt said Sallee became a person of interest shortly after the May 11 slayings of 53-year-old Katheryn Burton, her 39-year-old boyfriend, Thomas Smith, and two friends, Aaron Cross and Shawn Burton, both 41-year-old Columbus residents.
Their bodies were found in a home in Waynesville, a small town about 45 miles south of Indianapolis.
Noblitt said investigators quickly found evidence that elevated Sallee from a person of interest to a suspect in the fatal shootings. Sallee was jailed two days after the killings for failing to appear in court on unrelated battery charges. Sallee was indicted May 14 on charges of violating federal firearms laws and he remained held Friday at a federal facility on those charges.
"As Sallee developed as a suspect in this case, we were very aware of his whereabouts," Noblitt said. "We knew that he was incarcerated and most importantly, he was not a threat to public safety."
Authorities did not release information Friday about when Sallee may appear in court to face the murder charges.
Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash said in June that he was in no rush to file criminal charges against Sallee even though he had been identified as the sole suspect in the killings.
County Sheriff Mark E. Gorbett said Friday the investigation into the killings had been "long and methodical."
"We promised the families of the victims that we would work diligently to find the person responsible for these heinous crimes and today a warrant has been issued for Sam Sallee," Gorbett said.