2 sentenced in killing of man and woman over small amount of weed

WARSAW, Ind. (WANE) — Two men who gunned down a young man and woman over an ounce of marijuana in Kosciusko County last year have been sentenced.

Mug shot of Kyle DeHart provided by the the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Dept.
Mug shot of Kyle DeHart provided by the the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Dept.

Brandon Woody, 23, and Kyle DeHart, 24, were sentenced Wednesday in Kosciusko County Court for the murders of 23-year-old Tara Thornburg and 19-year-old Joshua Knisley of Syracuse in February 2015. Woody received 120 years in prison; DeHart received 110. DeHart was also ordered to serve another year for obstruction of justice, but that will be served at the same time.

Rhonda Bickel, Knisely’s mother, spoke during the sentencings.

“I feel like my life has lost all purpose. He was my life. He was everything to me,” Bickel said about her son.

Police said Woody and DeHart, along with and Thomas Glen Hursey, went to Thornburg’s home Feb. 19. Hursey told police they went there with the intention to steal weed from her, and brought with them a black bag with them containing a tape and a knife. He told police they planned to use the tape to restrain her and planned to slit her throat with the knife, according to court documents.

Mug shot of Brandon Thomas Woody provided by the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Dept.
Mug shot of Brandon Thomas Woody provided by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Dept.

When they got there, according to Hursey’s account, Woody took an ounce of weed from Thornburg and gave it to DeHart before shooting Thornburg in the face. Woody then ran downstairs and shot Knisley, according to court documents on the case. Before Thornburg died she was able to tell police what happened. A Kosciusko County jury found both Woody and DeHart guilty of the killings last month.

“That testimony was pinnacle to the case,” prosecutor Daniel Hampton said. “Not only did she identify her shooter, but she was able to articulate how it occurred.”

Bickel said she made a promise to her only child at his funeral that she wouldn’t rest until justice was served, and Wednesday it was.

“He will never see the light of day and he’ll never hurt anyone ever again and that’s what we wanted was for no one else to get hurt or be murdered,” Bickel said.

The case against Hursey, also charged with two counts of murder along with aiding, is still pending. Two other women – DeHart’s mother, Joan M. DeHart, and his girlfriend, Ashlyn Shepard – are also charged with aiding the men. Their cases are also pending.