Austin shopkeeper found robbed, slain

A Scott County shopkeeper was shot and killed during a robbery, police report.

John M. Turner, 79, of Austin was found dead Saturday in John’s Coin and Jewelry Shop, 61 W. Main St. in Austin, by a family member, according to a report from Sgt. Jerry Goodin with the Indiana State Police Post in Sellersburg.

Turner’s death has left a former Austin resident now living in Scottsburg with a lot of concern.

“This is not the Austin I was raised in, and I hate that our children are having to live in these awful times,” said Lisa Stollings, who works in Seymour. Her three daughters graduated from Austin High School.

“So sad,” she said. “Prayers for the family and our community.”

The family member who found Turner dead called 911 at 3:45 p.m. Saturday, Goodin said.

Officers with the Austin Police Department and Scott County Emergency Medical Services personnel responded to what they initially thought was a medical emergency.

When a doctor and an official with the Scott County Coroner’s Office examined Turner at the hospital, however, they noticed a wound to his head that was not consistent with a medical issue as first thought and was more consistent with foul play, Goodin said.

The investigation immediately turned into a death investigation, with the Austin Police Department requesting the assistance of the Indiana State Police. State police crime scene technicians and detectives processed the crime scene and then immediately began following leads, Goodin said.

He said the investigation revealed items were missing from the shop.

An autopsy, performed Monday at the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office in Louisville, revealed the preliminary cause of death for Turner was a gunshot wound to the head, Goodin said. The official cause of death will not be determined until all of the autopsy results are complete, which usually takes up to six weeks, he said.

With this additional information, the case is now being investigated as a robbery/murder, Goodin said.

Anyone with information on this crime is encouraged to contact the Indiana State Police at 800-872-6743 or 812-246-5424. Callers can remain anonymous.

The Scott County Sheriff’s Department, Scott County Prosecutor’s Office and Scottsburg Police Department also are assisting with the investigation.

According to property tax records, Turner bought the shop Oct. 23, 2008, from Home Federal Savings and Loan.

Author photo
Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7051.