GOSHEN – The man accused of killing the owner of an Elkhart tattoo parlor is being held in jail without bond after making his first court appearance on Thursday.
Todd Stewart, 35, of Bristol was arrested Wednesday for shooting to death Mark Miller, 44, and dumping Miller’s body in a 55-gallon barrel last September, a barrel that was found along the St. Joseph River near the Six Span Bridge on County Road 17.
Stewart, who worked for Milller, appeared before Elkhart Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker, who entered a “not guilty” plea on Stewart’s behalf.
Stewart now has 20 days to plead guilty if he decides that’s what he wants to do.
Judge Shewmaker appointed Stewart a lawyer after Stewart said he didn’t have the means to pay for an attorney.
WSBT was in the courtroom and requested to talk to members of Miller’s family. They declined.
There was increased security in court because of the nature of the crime.
Stewart appeared to be calm during Thursday’s hearing and politely answered Shewmaker with 'yes' and 'no' responses.
A pre-trial conference is set for May 30, and Stewart’s murder trial is scheduled to begin September 9.