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Helmsburg murder
2 youths arrested in Brown Co. slaying
Published on: 01.10.09

Boys confess to shootings, theft attempts

NASHVILLE — Two teenagers have been arrested in the November home invasion that killed an 84-year-old Brown County man and injured his wife.

Bennie Reed, 17, of Lick Creek Road, is charged with murdering Richard “Dude” Voland and wounding his wife, Mary Voland, on Nov. 15.

Another boy also was charged, but authorities have not identified him because he is younger than 16. The Republic’s policy is to not identify juvenile suspects unless they are charged as adults.

Reed’s case, which includes 11 charges ranging from murder to theft, was filed directly in adult court because of the severity of the charges and because he was 16 at the time.

“The people of Brown County don’t have to be afraid in their homes anymore because these (suspects) have been caught,” Brown County Prosecutor Jim Oliver said.

A not-guilty plea was preliminarily entered for Reed at his initial hearing Friday. At the hearing, Reed said the last year of schooling he attended was eighth grade.

A bloody washcloth, a fingerprint and bicycles led police to Reed, whose parents lived less than a half mile south of the Volands.

Invasion turns deadly

A probable cause affidavit gave the following account of the alleged invasion and murder:

Reed and the younger boy told authorities they went to the Voland home to steal alcohol.

Reed said he was intoxicated at the time.

The boys rode their bicycles to the Voland home at 3 a.m., and Reed knocked on the door and asked if he could use the phone to call his parents.

Richard Voland let Reed in to use the phone, and Reed dialed a random number.

As he was leaving, he pulled a gun on Voland and said something like “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

Authorities believe the gun was stolen from another Brown County residence in late October or early November.

Voland also pulled a gun.

Reed tried to knock the gun out of Voland’s hand and it fired, wounding Reed on his left arm, authorities said.

Reed returned fire, striking Richard Voland in the head.

The gunshots woke Mary Voland, who came out and found her husband lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

Mary Voland said she tried to attend to her husband, but realized Reed was bleeding from his arm and tended to him.

She applied pressure with a washcloth, and peroxide and other first-aid supplies were used to treat the wound.

While she was speaking to Reed, he was twirling a gun, and Mary Voland asked him to stop because it might still be loaded.

Reed said, “Let’s find out” and shot her in the abdomen.

Voland said that later in the morning, the younger suspect slipped a ski mask over his face and cut her in the neck with a knife.

The boys cut the receiver off the telephone and left at about 5 a.m.

They took first-aid supplies, the gun they brought with them, the handgun Richard Voland shot, the handset from the phone and the washcloth used on Reed’s wound.

Reed also collected the bullet casings.

Mary Voland ran out the back door to her sister-in-law’s home nearby, and her sister-in-law called 911.

A newspaper carrier said she saw two boys on bicycles in the area at 4:45 a.m.


Oliver said investigators canvassed the Helmsburg area in search of suspects.

Bicycles in the Reeds’ garage turned investigators toward Bennie Reed, the affidavit said.

Reed’s mother told Indiana State Police Detective Paul Suding that her husband on Nov. 15 found a white washcloth stained with what she believed to be blood.

Reed’s mother had washed the washcloth but gave it to Suding, who compared it to another washcloth from the Voland home.

They appeared to be the same type.

“Certainly everyone in the area was a suspect in the beginning,” Oliver said. “The bloody hand towel got us closer.”

Reed’s mother denied that Reed was living with them, and Reed’s sister said Reed had been living with her in Bloomington for about two years.

During an initial interview with ISP Detective Kevin Getz, Reed said he had not been back to Lick Creek Road for two years and had never been in the Voland home.

However, Getz noticed two scars on Bennie’s left bicep, about the size of a dime and horizontally aligned through the bicep.

To Getz, the affidavit states, the scars appeared consistent with a gunshot wound. Reed said they were cigarette burns.

Getz took Reed’s fingerprints, and they matched a fingerprint found on a medicine cabinet in the Voland bathroom.

During a second interview Jan. 8, Reed admitted he was living at his parents’ home on Lick Creek Road the night of the murder, the affidavit says.

He also admitted that he and the younger suspect rode their bikes to the Voland home Nov. 15 and that he shot Richard Voland after Voland’s gun discharged and wounded him.

The affidavit also states that Reed confessed that he and the younger boy burglarized another home before the Voland invasion and stole a handgun and alcohol.

Reed said he buried both guns, the sweatshirt he was wearing, the shell casings and a bottle of alcohol in a backpack across the creek from the Reed house.

The younger boy told investigators that he cut Mary Voland’s neck because Reed told him they had to kill her because she was a witness. The younger boy said he didn’t want to kill her so he didn’t cut her neck deeply, the affidavit says.

He also said he dug up the guns and hid them in a desk drawer in his room when he heard that police were searching the area around the creek.

Suding found the guns where the younger boy said they would be in his mother’s home.

Brown County Sheriff Buck Stogsdill said at a news conference Friday that Voland’s death caused “a lot of unrest” in the community.

“This is very unusual for a community like ours,” Stogsdill said.

“The world’s coming to us in this remote little valley.”

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William Emmett Fisher, 73, Elizabethtown
  Father of William “Mark” (Marissa) Fisher of Nashville

Margaret (Stanley) Whitaker, 80, Morgantown
  Wife of Rawlins Whitaker of Morgantown

Ival 'Max' Skinner, 85, White Springs, Florida,
  Brown County native

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