VERNON

Federal charges have been filed against three men accused of robbing and murdering a western Jennings County gun shop owner.

During a news conference Friday at the Jennings County Prosecutor’s Office, Josh Minkler, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, announced federal charges resulting from a grand jury investigation into the Sept. 21, 2014, slaying of 60-year-old Scott Douglas Maxie.

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On Wednesday, the grand jury sitting in the federal courthouse in Indianapolis returned an indictment against the three defendants — brothers Darryl Anthony Worthen, 25, and Dejuan Andre Worthen, 23, and their cousin, Darion Dashon Harris, 20, all of Indianapolis.

All three have been charged with four crimes — discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence resulting in death, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and theft of firearms.

The penalties upon conviction for these federal crimes include the possibility of the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole, Minkler said. A decision to seek the death penalty would be made by the attorney general of the United States, Minkler added.

“These are consequential criminal charges. A conviction for these crimes carries consequential penalties,” Minkler said.

“Make no mistake about it, for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, this is a consequential federal prosecution. Nobody, no town, no city, no county or state should live in fear of senseless and cowardly acts of violence,” Minkler added. “And when an act of violence such as this occurs, the federal hammer with all federal resources and all federal consequences that come along with it will be brought to bear to hold the individuals responsible for these acts of violence fully and totally responsible.”

Jennings County Prosecutor Brian Belding said it was determined to be in the best interest of the community for this case to go to federal court rather than state court. He said in federal court, the three men’s sentences would be much harsher if they are convicted.

Belding said he spoke to Maxie’s family when the indictment came down, and they are “very much” in favor of the three men being indicted in federal court.

“We will not tolerate violent crime in our community. The individuals responsible for this crime should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Belding said.

“The decision to have these individuals charged federally was after careful consultation with the family members (of Maxie),” he added. “My goal in doing so is that these individuals responsible for this heinous act have the maximum sentence under the law. It is more likely to be accomplished under the federal sentencing guidelines.”

Barry Glickman is the lead prosecutor for the case in federal court, and his trial partner is William McCoskey. Both are assistant U.S. attorneys.

“We eagerly anticipate these defendants coming into federal custody, and we eagerly anticipate prosecuting each and every one of them,” Glickman said.

The Worthen brothers and Harris are in state custody and are being held in Jennings County Jail with no bond.

Glickman said the process of them going into federal custody is being coordinated, along with their initial appearance in U.S. District Court in New Albany. Glickman added the men will be held in a facility that has a contract with the U.S. government, but the location has not yet been determined.

All officials at Friday’s press conference expressed their thanks for collaboration among law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels. That includes the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department, Jennings County Prosecutor’s Office, Indiana State Police, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“The men and women that comprise those agencies worked tirelessly at the inception of this crime to ensure that the people responsible for it would be brought to justice,” Glickman said. “They stayed up for nearly three days straight making sure that all loose ends were tied up.”

The work of those agencies resulted in the arrest of the three suspects the day after the crime as they left an apartment they shared in Indianapolis.

Darryl Worthen was a contracted employee with FedEx who had delivered to Maxie’s store, Muscatatuck Outdoors, located on the outskirts of Hayden, on other occasions, police said. He had made a delivery to the shop Sept. 19, two days before the murder and robbery.

The day before the crime occurred, Darryl Worthen, along with the two other men, visited Maxie’s store in the late afternoon, police said. That visit was caught on Maxie’s surveillance video.

In addition, Maxie’s friend, who stopped by the store around the same time, told police he noticed a green vehicle, which was used by the men, parked in the driveway.

On Sept. 21, Darryl Worthen, who is considered the trigger man by police, entered the shop and shot Maxie in the head with a .22-caliber handgun. He and the other two men stole 45 guns and a laptop computer.

The three men told police they tossed the computer, along with some of the guns, into the cornfields surrounding the area of Maxie’s store, according to the probable cause affidavit.

The laptop and the murder weapon have not been found. Glickman said eight of the stolen guns have been recovered.

“The three defendants have been charged in this matter, but this investigation is certainly ongoing,” Glickman said. “You can rest assured that law enforcement is doing everything they can to track down those remaining missing firearms.”

Minkler said it is “very difficult” to track weapons that are stolen with the purpose of redistributing or reselling them. Federally licensed firearms dealers are required to fill out and file paperwork involved with a sale. These three men did not have a federal license to sell guns.

“If guns are stolen and sold on the street, there is no paperwork to trace those guns,” Minkler said.

Maxie, who had attended Crothersville High School and completed a trade school to become an electrician, was a lifelong resident of Jennings County and lived next to his shop. He retired from Cummins Engine Co. on July 1, 2009, and was a member of the National Rifle Association.

Maxie’s hobbies were boating, fishing, hunting, traveling and spending time with his family.

Among his survivors are his father, Gilbert “Gib” Maxie; son, Anthony Ryan Maxie; and sisters, Christine Sheffield and Stacie Quillen, all of Crothersville; another son, Jeremy Scott Maxie, of California; a daughter, Emma Jean Maxie; and the girl’s mother, Dawn Maxie of Jennings County; brother, Mark Maxie of Atlanta, Georgia; and five grandchildren.

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Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.