Darlington mom sentenced to 120 years for murdering her children

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Published: March 19, 2018

BY: Shannon Hall, Journal & Courier

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. — When their oldest child was born, Jason and Brandi Worley promised their kids came first, Jason Worley said Monday.

But his ex-wife didn’t keep that promise.

Brandi Worley, 31, of Darlington, was sentenced to 120 years for murdering her two children — 7-year-old Tyler and 3-year-old Charlee.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Harry Siamas sat quiet for more than four minutes before carrying out the sentence Monday.

Initial hearing: Mother pleads not guilty to killing 2 children

He said everyone wants an explanation for an unnatural event — a parent killing his or her children.

“Sometimes there is no explanation,” Siamas said. “Darkness is in this world. … And it penetrates minds and our hearts.”

He sentenced Worley to 55 years on count one and 65 years on count two with the two sentences to run consecutively. Twice, Siamas asked Brandi Worley if she had anything to say, and she refused both times.

More: Full audio from Nov. 17 911 call

Jason and Brandi Worley were engaged for two years before they got married.

Tyler was born 10 weeks early. After that, Jason and Brandi made a promise to each other.

“We always said the children would come first, before each other or our marriage,” he said.

The two discussed separating in the past, he said, but they stayed together despite some friction.

“She understood why we were getting a divorce,” Jason Worley said.

The next day the four went to a dance program for Charlee before heading home to eat dinner.

Brandi Worley told her husband she needed to get pipe cleaners for Tyler for school, Jason Worley said.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Joseph Buser said that’s when Brandi Worley bought a knife before heading back to the house.

The family played on a Murphy bed before Jason bathed the kids and got them ready for bed, Jason Worley said.

“I told them that ‘I love you and I’ll see you in the morning,’ ” he said.

After Jason Worley went to the basement where he planned to sleep, Brandi Worley told Tyler he could do a “sleepover” in his sister’s room.

At 4:35 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2016, Worley called 911 and said she stabbed herself and killed her two children, according to police. Officers found 7-year-old Tyler and 3-year-old Charlee Worley dead in a bedroom with deep lacerations to their necks, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Tyler had three deep stab wounds and one superficial one. Charlee also had three stabs.

Jason Worley said he woke after hearing screaming. He didn’t know who or what it was.

When he got upstairs, he saw his ex-mother-in-law hysterically crying in the kitchen. Brandi Worley was sitting in the living room when he asked her what happened.

“She said ‘Now you can’t take my children from me,’ ” he said.

Officers on scene took Jason Worley outside. But the walkie talkies were on.

“Two deceased children in the house,” he told the court.

Buser said Brandi Worley planned to kill herself as well.

He said she told officers that “somehow (she) screwed that up” and that she “didn’t want them to live without” her. Buser said it was a selfish act because she wanted to die with them.

Worley never expressed regret about killing her children, Buser said.

“Now (Jason Worley) can’t take his kids to school anymore,” he said. “She was more apt at killing.”

Mark Inman, Brandi Worley’s attorney, said Monday was a difficult day.

Letters given to the court read that Brandi Worley was a “wonderful, caring mother,” according to the prosecution.

Inman said that was who she was. But those few hours in November, Brandi Worley snapped, he said.

“Such a tragic and unimaginable … I can’t imagine,” Inman said. “My job as Brandi’s attorney is to give you an explanation on why this happened. I can’t do that.”

Since November 2016, Brandi Worley was diagnosed with depression and has been unemotional, Inman said.

“That’s the only way she knows how to deal with it at this point,” he said.

Tyler loved sports, Jason Worley said. He was a loving boy in general.

“He could walk into a room with 20 strangers and come out with 20 friends,” Jason said.

Tyler wanted to work on computers like Jason does.

“Both children had very bright futures,” Jason Worley said.

Charlee, he said, was a big ball of attitude. She loved getting dressed up and wouldn’t leave the house without braids or a bow in her hair.

“Charlee was becoming her own person,” he said.

He hadn’t talked to Brandi since November 16, 2016. The divorce finalized in March 2017.

“My children were my life,” Jason Worley said. “They were my everything.”

EVSC administrator pleads guilty to DUI on school property

PUBLISHED: Aug. 31, 2017

BY: Shannon Hall, Courier & Press reporter

An Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. administrator pleaded guilty Monday to a drunken driving charge after her arrest last week on Harrison High School grounds.

Emily J. Smith-McCormick’s blood-alcohol level was 0.287 percent when she was arrested Aug. 25, according to court documents.

Smith-McCormick pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more and was ordered to the Vanderburgh County’s drug and alcohol deferral services program.

The conviction and sentencing will be dismissed if Smith-McCormick successfully completes the program.

Police were dispatched for a possible drunken driving run at about 6:45 p.m. on Aug. 25 in Harrison High School’s parking lot.

Witness told officers that they saw her driving around the parking lot. The officers arrived and saw Smith-McCormick in the driving seat.

She failed three standardized field-sobriety tests, according to a probable cause affidavit. Smith-McCormick was taken to a hospital and submitted a blood sample.

Smith-McCormick was named the EVSC’s director of instruction this summer.

She previously held the position of director of curriculum and response to intervention. In 2016, she was compensated almost $93,000, according to online state records.

EVSC spokesman Jason Woebkenberg said he couldn’t comment on personnel issues.

A message was left with her attorney seeking comment.

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EPD: Officer-involved shooting suspect threatened to ‘kill some cops’

Shortly before he was shot and killed by police on Tuesday night, Daniel Wooters was allegedly inside TGI Fridays threatening to “kill some cops.”

Police identified Wooters, 38, on Wednesday. He was shot by three officers after he reportedly advanced toward them on Morgan Avenue with a knife after allegedly stealing a police cruiser and leading officers on a short chase across part of the city’s East Side commercial district, according to police. Continue reading “EPD: Officer-involved shooting suspect threatened to ‘kill some cops’”

Woman arrested for reportedly driving drunk with kid in car

PUBLISHED: Sept. 15, 2017

BY: Shannon Hall, Courier & Press reporter

A woman was arrested Thursday night for allegedly driving drunk with her 15-year-old son in her car.

Tricia D. Handley,46, was preliminary charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person less than 18 years old. Continue reading “Woman arrested for reportedly driving drunk with kid in car”

25-year-old woman charged with child molesting

PUBLISHED: Sept. 15, 2017

BY: SHANNON HALL, COURIER & PRESS REPORTER

EVANSVILLE — A 25-year-old woman was charged with multiple counts of child molesting this week.

Keshia C. Warfield faces three different felony counts of child molesting after two children told their mother about the alleged abuse and they reported it to authorities.

One child at the house where Warfield temporarily lived told police that Warfield touched their genitals on top of their clothing, a second child said Warfield touched touched their genitals underneath the clothing. Continue reading “25-year-old woman charged with child molesting”

Fatal child neglect charge for Newburgh man

PUBLISHED: Sept. 19, 2017

BY: Shannon Hall & Tori Fater, Courier & Press reporters 

A Newburgh man accused of fatal child neglect in Warrick County has been arrested.

Thaddious Rice, 23, was taken into custody on a warrant Monday afternoon and is being held in Warrick County jail without bond.

He has been charged with murder and neglect of a dependent resulting in death in Warrick County in connection with the death of 10-month-old Jaxson Wheeler. The child neglect charge is a Level 1 felony – under Indiana law, the most serious felony level after murder. Continue reading “Fatal child neglect charge for Newburgh man”

Police: Mother passes out while driving two sons

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PUBLISHED: May 18, 2017

BY: Shannon Hall, Courier & Press reporter

A woman was arrested Wednesday morning after police reported finding her passed out in a running, black Ford Explorer with two children in the vehicle.

Tierra Maupins, 26, was arrested and preliminarily charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with a child under 18 in the car and operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 percent or more.

Dispatch received multiple calls about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday that a woman was slumped over in an Explorer with two children in it on Riverside in the right turn lane to go north on U.S. 41. One passerby told police that the vehicle was in drive but he was able to put it in park, according to the probable cause affidavit. Another witness had her two children, ages 1 and 3, in the parking lot nearby.

After an ambulance was called, Maupins woke up, and police smelled a “strong odor” of alcohol on her breath, court documents state.

Maupins told police that she “partied the night before” but stopped drinking at midnight, according to a probable cause affidavit. Maupins failed three of the four sobriety field tests and provided a chemical test where it showed her blood-alcohol level was 0.16.

The Department of Child Services was notified and took the two children into their custody.

Point Zero Eight

The Courier & Press is documenting every person in Vanderburgh County who is arrested and charged with drunken driving and following the cases through the courts. Since Feb. 1, almost 150 people have been charged with drunken driving in Vanderburgh County.

Driving under the influence is usually a misdemeanor charge, and those charged don’t serve jail time outside of their initial arrest. But it’s a misdemeanor that could turn deadly quickly.

Last fall, the Tri-State community had five fatal deaths involving intoxicated drivers, according to local law enforcement.

To follow along online, go to courierpressblogs.com/dui.

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Former Harrison hoops standout died from gunshot wound to head

PUBLSIHED: May 23, 2017

BY: Shannon Hall, Courier & Press reporter

A former Harrison High School basketball standout was found shot to death in the 400 block of South Morton Avenue, between Cherry and Walnut streets, on Tuesday morning, according to the city police.

Vanderburgh County Coroner Steve Lockyear identified the deceased as Deniko L. Scott, 22, of Evansville. Scott played high school basketball at Harrison, graduated in 2013 and was named second team All-Metro and an honorable mention for all-state from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association his senior year. Continue reading “Former Harrison hoops standout died from gunshot wound to head”