A Middletown woman accused of killing her husband, who died and was dismembered at their Stone Path Drive home in September 2022, has been found competent to stand trial.
Bonnie Marie Vaughan, 59, initially was charged with murder, and John Havens, 33, was charged with tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse, on Sept. 20 after Jeffrey Fellman was found dead in the garage of the Warren County house.
Fellman, 55, died of multiple gunshot wounds, and the dismemberment was postmortem, according to Warren County Coroner Dr. Russell Uptegrove.
A grand jury indicted Vaughan for aggravated murder, murder and felonious assault, all with a gun specification, and tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse. She faces life in prison if convicted.
Havens was indicted for tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and gross abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony. Police say Havens reported Vaughan enlisted him to dismember Fellman’s body in an effort to hide the homicide. Havens reported the incident at the police department, according to detectives.
Vaughan and Havens were in Warren County Common Judge Robert Peeler’s courtroom Thursday for a pretrial hearing where the judge declared her competent for trial after reviewing a court-ordered forensic psychological evaluation.
During the hearing, Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Steve Knippen said the case may be resolved, and with the agreement of defense attorneys, another hearing was set for May 4.
Havens is also scheduled to be back in court May 4. Knippen said the prosecution anticipated he may be needed to testify at Vaughan’s trial, but both cases may be resolved in three weeks.
“If not we will set a trial,” Knippen said.
Both Vaughan and Havens have been in jail since their arrest. Peeler set bond at $1 million for Vaughan and $15,000 for Havens.
Last fall at the time of the indictment, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said the continued investigation turned up evidence that Vaughan planned to kill Fellman, thus the aggravated murder charge.
The indictment states Vaughan shot Fellman “multiple times” at 6:15 p.m. Sept. 19 and had Havens come over the next day to dismember the body.
During the preliminary hearing in September, Middletown Police Detective Brook McDonald testified Fellman was found dead after Havens came to the police station on the night of Sept. 20 and reported there was a body at the Stone Path residence. Police previously said Havens told detectives he dismembered the body.
Vaughan was found about two hours later at a gas station at Dixie Highway and Coles Road. There were several guns in the car with her, McDonald said.
During questioning, Vaughan said she had shot Fellman the night before, according to McDonald.
“(Vaughan said) she and her husband had gotten into an argument the previous night while inside the garage. She said she got frightened and shot him,” McDonald said. “It appeared his body had been moved because (Vaughan) said when he was shot he was by the refrigerator, but when we found him he was in trash bags,” McDonald said during testimony.
The defense pointed to Vaughan acting in self-defense, not murder.
During cross examination, McDonald said Vaughan told them Fellman threw a chair during the argument, then she shot him. She also said he had grabbed her arm.
McDonald said Vaughan also told police Fellman choked her a couple nights before in the parking lot of a local bar.