Media Contact: Curtis T. Hill, Jr. (574) 296-1888

On May 1, 2014 an Elkhart County Circuit Court jury convicted Todd Stewart, the former business associate of Mark Miller, of murder after a four day trial.

Mr. Miller, a tattoo artist and proprietor of The Tattoo Shop near Dunlap, was reported missing by his sister on September 10, 2012. Although police began an investigation into Mr. Miller’s disappearance documenting a significant amount of information early on, his decomposing body was not found until September 20, 2012, stuffed in a barrel and discarded into the river. Dr. Joseph Prahlow, M.D., a forensic pathologist for the South Bend Medical Foundation, performed the autopsy finding a single gunshot wound to the head, as well as two additional shotgun wounds to the leg which allowed Miller’s leg to be bent in such a way that it fit inside the barrel. Detective Jeremy Stout of the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department led the team of law enforcement officers as they investigated the facts and circumstances of the case. After a thorough examination of their well documented findings, the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office charged Todd Stewart with murder.

Matthew Howard, an artist at The Tattoo Shop along with Todd Stewart and Mark Miller, testified he was present at the business the night Miller was killed. After hearing a gunshot outside, where he had just left Todd Stewart and Mark Miller alone, Howard went back outside and found Stewart with a barrel which partially contained Miller’s body. Stewart demanded Howard assist in loading a barrel into the back of Stewart’s pickup truck before leaving the shop. Howard later disclosed to police details of the murder which matched much of the evidence that police had already gathered in their own investigation. Todd Stewart’s defense team argued Matthew Howard had actually killed Miller even though there was no direct evidence to support that theory.

Stewart provided numerous pieces of information to investigators as to his activities and whereabouts the night Miller was last seen, all of which were contradicted by independent police investigation. Stewart lied to police about where he was the night of the murder, what vehicle he had been driving, that he had a barrel in his truck, that he purchased a “hand truck” at a local retailer the night of the murder, and the fact that he sold this truck shortly after Miller’s body had been found. During initial interviews with police after Miller had not been heard from in a few days, Stewart claimed he had an ownership interest in The Tattoo Shop business and inquired of officers “when he could begin commerce again.” Rather than help search for Miller in the days following his disappearance, Stewart was observed playing on rolling office chairs with Miller’s wife, Gwen, in the parking lot of The Tattoo Shop during the late night hours.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Don Pitzer summarized the evidence against Todd Stewart during closing argument, pointing out that Stewart was the one with the motive, the opportunity, the means, and the intention to kill Miller. In addition, the evidence showed that Matt Howard was forced into compliance and his silence was due to the intimidation and direct threats by Stewart to harm people that Howard cared about.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Vicki Becker concluded the arguments by pointing out all of Stewart’s lies about the events surrounding the murder as well as Stewart’s cavalier attitude. Stewart had bragged to several people, including Howard, about being a Marine deployed to Bosnia where he “kicked in doors and killed people”, but later admitted to police he had never been able to pass the physical to be accepted. In the end, she argued that Todd Stewart was no more than just a “wanna be” – “wanna be” tougher than he really was, a “wanna be” Mark Miller – and killed for it.

The case was prosecuted by Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Vicki Becker and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Don Pitzer in Elkhart County Circuit Court before Judge Terry Shewmaker. Sentencing in this case is currently scheduled for May 29, 2014 at 8:30 AM.


“Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”