Friends speak out after man shoots ex-wife, former stepdaughter


by WHAS11/News Release

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 31 at 3:55 AM

NORTH VERNON, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Neighbors and friends are in disbelief after a mother and daughter were found gunned down Sunday night in Jennings County.

At around 9 p.m. Sunday, deputies responded to the 1900 block of Chatsworth Lane and were met by several witnesses who told them that a man had shot two women in the head and that the suspect was still in the area.

Authorities are accusing 62-year-old James Sowder with the murder of his ex-wife, Candice Sowder, and the attempted murder of her daughter, Regina Johnson.

Friend James Stining worked with Candice Sowder for years. He says the two of them had become good friends and that “she was a nice loving lady...caring. [She] did anything for anybody."

According to the Jennings County Sheriff's Office, James Sowder came to the home were Candice and her daughter, Regina Johnson lived. He got into a fight with Regina and shot her in the head.

Authorities say when Candice came home he shot her in the head before she walked through the door right in front of her grandson.

Stining says, "I would never believe something would ever happen like this to her as long as I lived. I would never believe somebody would actually have the nerve to do this to her.

While the officers were speaking with witnesses, a vehicle turned onto the road and started driving towards their patrol cars in an attempt to leave the area. Sergeant. Jeff Jones and Deputy Alan Ritchie were able to get the vehicle stopped and the driver, Sowder, was taken into custody. A handgun was located on the front passenger seat.

Regina was taken by helicopter to an Indianapolis Trauma Center for treatment of the gunshot wound. She is expected to survive.

Sowder is currently being held without bond in the Jennings County Jail on murder and attempted murder charges. More charges are anticipated as the investigation is completed.