Court docs: 16-year-old faces murder charge after father’s shooting death

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WAYNE COUNTY, Ind. — The 16-year-old son of a Centerville man faces a murder charge after allegedly killing his father, according to court documents.

As previously reported, a death investigation began on the evening of December 15 after Centerville police and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department responded to the 100 block of S. 1st Street in Centerville on a report of a deadly shooting.

The victim was identified as 51-year-old James Jason Burkhart (elder Burkhart) of Centerville on December 19.

According to the Indiana State Police (ISP), two juvenile males were arrested in connection with the case.

The first juvenile, identified in court documents as James Beau Burkhart (James Beau) was taken into custody in Indiana. James Beau is identified as the 16-year-old son of the elder Burkhart. 

A second, unnamed juvenile (friend) was arrested when a police chase ended with a crash in Columbus, Ohio. The 15-year-old juvenile was taken to an area hospital in serious but stable condition, and later transported to a detention facility in Franklin County, Ohio.

Court documents allege James Beau and his friend invited the elder Burkhart into the friend’s home where he was shot twice and killed on the night of December 15.

The probably cause affidavit explains James Beau returned home after the shooting, claiming his friend had shot his father. The friend fled in the elder Burkhart’s car with two handguns and the home’s security camera. 

Ohio police then apprehended the friend after the crash, who was interviewed by ISP in the hospital. Court documents show that the friend told police he killed the elder Burkhart.

According to the probable cause affidavit, police later retrieved footage from the security camera that captured audio from the incident. Police believe that James Beau shot his father in the head with a gun after the father came out of the bathroom. 

Captured audio also details that the friend said he would take the blame for the murder.

James Beau allegedly shot his father again with a second gun before leaving the scene. The friend then took both guns and the camera and fled toward Ohio in the victim’s car. 

According to ISP, the unnamed 15-year-old juvenile faces murder and vehicular theft charges and remains in the juvenile court system.

The probably cause affidavit explains 16-year-old James Beau Burkhart faces one count of murder and will be charged as an adult.

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