(Versailles, Ind.) - A teenage boy who is among three people accused of murdering a defenseless Milan woman in her home had ties to Ripley County, prosecutors say.
"Relief, because (the police) found someone who killed my mother. Scared to death because someone could come into the little town I've lived in all my life and do this," said Dawn Evans, the lone child of murder victim Nancy Hershman.
Hershman, a 68-year-old woman many people say was a pillar of the Milan community, was fatally shot in her West Ellis Street home the morning of Sunday, December 30. It was her own daughter, Dawn, and her husband who found her there.
After a week-long investigation, three Colerain Township, Ohio residents were arrested on Saturday, January 5. Charges of Murder, Burglary of a Dwelling, and Conspiracy to Commit Burglary were formally filed against Allison Moore on Monday.
Moore and her break-in accomplices - two 16-year-old males identified only by their initials D.H. and S.N. - are each held in Hamilton County.
Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel, flanked by Indiana State Police detectives, provided new information on the case during a Monday afternoon press conference.
Recapping the events of December 29 and 30, Hertel said the trio, joined by another adult and juvenile who have not been charged, rode in Moore's 1993 Buick Regal to the Milan area. There, Moore and the two boys broke into the home of 20-something Ryan Jackson on South Locust Street in nearby Cross Plains. Jackson and his girlfriend, who were asleep, were awakened by the "bang" of the alleged assailants coming through the front door then into their bedroom.
Jackson recognized the partially concealed face of the D.H., who held a black handgun to his head and demanded money. The gang left with Jackson's cash and a small amount of marijuana. The couple was not hurt.
The burglars took off in Moore's car parked at the end of Jackson's driveway. Their next stop, investigators believe, was just a few miles away at Hershman's home in Milan. Dawn Hershman said her mother, a widow, lived there peacefully for eight years.
Moore and the two teen boys allegedly busted through Hershman's door, this time with Moore allegedly armed with the .40 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun. Nancy confronted Moore. A struggle ensued.
According to a probable cause affidavit detailing the charges, Moore told investigators that she asked Hershman "Where's your money?"
"(Hershman) touched the gun then Moore stated 'I'm not ******* playing,'" the affidavit read.
One shot was fired hitting Hershman in her neck and head. The burglars fled again in Moore's car, but this time taking nothing from their victim other than her life.
"It doesn't surprise me that she did that," Dawn Evans said of her mother's decision to fight the intruders.
As the group drove away, the adult who remained in the vehicle during the burglary would later tell investigators that Moore seemed to show little or no remorse.
The major break in the case came when local businessman Ron Pollard persuaded his friend Ryan Jackson to go to police with the story of what happened to he and his girlfriend the night of December 29.
"This answered a lot of the questions the police officers had. Without Ron I think there would still be so many questions we wouldn't have answered. One person can do a lot and he needs his due," Hertel said.
Upon being questioned, Moore and the other four people who were riding in her car that night told police the details of what had happened.
The handgun used in the shooting had been acquired just days earlier by S.N. Hertel speculated that the gun was likely obtained illegally.
Hertel said he expects to bring all three suspects back to Ripley County, whether they waive extradition or not. The teens he hopes to have waived to adult court in Ripley County, a decision that will be made by a juvenile court judge. Their full names could possibly be released if that were to happen.
Hertel's office is investigating whether the case is death penalty eligible in regards to Moore. Indiana law does not allow juveniles to undergo capital punishment.
Both of the boys, now 16, were just 15 at the time of the murder. Indiana State Police Sgt. Noel Houze said he believed one of the boys had turned 16 the day after the Hershman murder.
Houze himself knew Nancy Hershman on a personal level. She drove the Milan school bus for his daughters for years, his home located just a few hundred yards away through a field.
Dawn Evans said that she and her family are very grateful to every law enforcement official involved with the case. Some of the lead investigators haven't seen their families since the investigation began, Hertel noted.
Evans said she's not yet sure what justice would be for her mother's killer. She does want the opportunity to confront that person in court.
"I want to look this person in the eye and say 'Why did you choose to plaly God and take my mother from me?'"