Pair facing murder, conspiracy charges in connection with Muncie shooting

Crime in Indianapolis

MUNCIE, Ind. – Muncie police arrested two people in connection with the deadly shooting of a man over the weekend.

Morgan Bell, 26, and Brandon Hodge, 28, face charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of 33-year-old Robert Eugene Scott III.

Police were called to the 2200 block of West Ninth Street around 4:40 a.m. Sunday after receiving a report that shots were fired in the area.

Brandon Hodge and Morgan Bell

Officers found Scott suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. He was taken to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to court documents, Bell and Scott had been in a domestic dispute in recent days. She told police that she’d gone to his home to get some personal items she’d left behind.

Hodge told police he accompanied Bell to the home because he feared Scott would become violent. He admitted he had a shotgun with him and had shot Scott during the incident.

Hodge maintained he believed Scott had a gun; police found a pipe wrapped in black electrical tape in the area where Scott was shot.

A person who was with Scott recalled seeing a PT Cruiser in the alley outside the home. Scott went outside to check on it, the person said.

Hodge told police that Scott had hit the back of the car with something; Hodge said he then shot Scott, who jumped the hood and tried to run off. Hodge told police he fired several more shots, according to court documents. Police said Scott suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and back.

Hodge initially said he’d melted down the murder weapon before telling police they could find it in a relative’s garage. Police later located the shotgun.

Bell and Hodge are also charged with conspiracy. Police said Bell told a friend on Facebook Messenger Friday that she was “just thinking about killing Trey,” which referred to Scott.

According to court documents, Hodge had used his cellphone to search for “best murder defense lawyers in Indiana” and “attempted murder defense attorneys.”

Bell had searched “how to clean gunpowder residue from your car” on a friend’s phone. She was getting ready to clean the PT Cruiser when police took her into custody, court documents said.

During the investigation, police also found a recording of a conversation involving Bell, Hodge and a family member. The discussion involved “alibis, and how to live with the crime, and avoid criminal prosecution,” according to court documents.

Hodge and Bell were being held in the Delaware County Jail.

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