TRUEBLOOD, JOSEPH L. # 64
EXECUTED BY LETHAL INJECTION 06-13-03 AT 12:24 AM
DOB: 12-26-1956 DOC#: 902302 White Male
Tippecanoe County Circuit Court
Ronald E. Melichar
Prosecutor: Jerry Bean,
Defense: George Wilder, Thomas O'Brien,
Date of Murder: August
Victim(s): Susan Bowsher
W/F/23 (ex-girlfriend); Ashlyn Bowsher W/F/2 and William
Bowsher W/M/17 months (children of Susan)
Method of Murder:
shooting with handgun
Summary: Trueblood was upset with his former
girlfriend, Susan Bowsher, because she expressed her
intention of going back with her ex-husband. Trueblood
picked up Susan and her two small children one day and
while they were in the car he shot Susan 3 times in the
head, and shot each child once in the head. He then drove
to the home of his twin brother, admitted to him what he
had done, borrowed a shovel, then drove to a secluded
area and buried all three in a shallow grave. After 4
witnesses had testified at trial, Trueblood indicated a
desire to plead guilty and did so. When interviewed by
the Probation Officer for the Presentence Report,
Trueblood claimed that Susan had shot the kids, then
killed herself. He then sought to withdraw his guilty
plea, which was denied.
Conviction: Pled Guilty
during trial without a Plea Agreement to Murder (3
(Motion to withdraw guilty plea before sentencing
Sentencing: April 12, 1990 (Death
b(12) 2 victims less than 12 years of age; b(8) 3 murders
extreme emotional disturbance; good conduct while in jail
awaiting trial; mixed personality disorder; kind
to children; heroism for pulling woman from
Trueblood v. State, 587 N.E.2d 105 (Ind. February 28, 1992)
Conviction Affirmed 5-0 DP Affirmed 5-0
Shepard Opinion; Debruler, Givan, Dickson, Krahulik concur.
Trueblood v. Indiana, 113 S. Ct. 278
(1992) (Cert. denied)
PCR Petition filed 05-09-94. PCR denied 08-12-96 by Special Judge Thomas K. Milligan.
Trueblood v. State, 715 N.E. 2d 1242 (Ind. September 9, 1999)
(Appeal of PCR denial)
Affirmed 5-0; Boehm Opinion; Shepard, Dickson, Sullivan, Selby concur.
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed 08-28-00 in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana.
Writ granted 11-07-02 by U.S. District Court Judge Allen Sharp.
Trueblood v. Anderson, 156 F.Supp.2d 1056 (N.D. Ind. July 30, 2001).
(Order of U.S. District Court Judge Allen Sharp, Northern District of Indiana, granting habeas relief as to the murder of Susan Bowsher in that the guilty plea was involuntary because the trial court failed to advise Trueblood that by pleading guilty, he would be admitting an aggravator on child murders; also granting habeas relief because the trial court found as an aggravating circumstance that the murders were “cold blooded, premeditated killings of three helpless and defenseless persons.” Order of release or retrial within 120 days.)
Trueblood v. Davis, 301 F.3d 784 (7th Cir. August 20, 2002).
(The United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, reversed the judgment of Judge Allen Sharp of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, which granted habeas corpus. In reinstating the death sentences against Trueblood, the Seventh Circuit summarily dismissed the grounds used by Judge Sharp to grant habeas, including the characterizations by the trial Judge describing the murders as "cold-blooded" and "premeditated.")
Opinion by Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner, Judge Kenneth F. Ripple, Judge Terrance T. Evans.
Trueblood v. Davis, 123 S.Ct. 1650 (March 31, 2003) (Cert. denied).
Trueblood v. Indiana Parole Bd., 123 S.Ct. 2295 (June 12, 2003) (Application for stay denied).
Trueblood v. Indiana, 123 S.Ct. 2295 (June 10, 2003) (Application for stay denied).
Trueblood v. State, 790 N.E.2d 97 (Ind. June 12, 2003).
(Successive motion for stay of execution of death sentence)
Denied 5-0; Opinion by Shepard; Dickson, Sullivan Boehm, Rucker concur.
(Governor's decision concerning clemency petition was not subject to judicial review)
TRUEBLOOD WAS EXECUTED BY LETHAL INJECTION 06-13-03 12:24 AM EST. HE WAS THE 81ST CONVICTED MURDERER EXECUTED IN INDIANA SINCE 1900, AND THE 11TH SINCE THE DEATH PENALTY WAS REINSTATED IN 1977.
As of July 1, 2006