Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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August 8, 2012

Plea withdrawn in Kelly Armstrong manslaughter case

Funke case will go to court

Kokomo — A communication breakdown between prosecutors and the family of Kelly Armstrong led to the withdrawal Tuesday of a proposed plea bargain in the case against the man accused of killing the Kokomo woman.

Howard County Prosecutor Mark McCann filed a motion to withdraw the plea hours before a judge was to decide whether to accept or reject it.

It called for Travis Funke to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter. He would be sentenced to 35 years in prison, with 15 years supervised probation.

“For some reason, the police and prosecutor’s office and the family are unable to communicate,” McCann said. “Because of this, it’s in the best interest of the state to take this to trial.”

Howard Superior Court 2 Judge Brant Parry accepted McCann’s motion and set a jury trial for Aug. 21.

Funke’s attorney, Katherine Noel, told Parry she would need more time to prepare for trial and would likely file a continuance.

Funke admitted to police that he killed Armstrong July 8, 2011, but her body has never been found, according to court documents.

The family reported Armstrong missing Sept. 26, telling police she had not been heard from since the middle of July.

When questioned, Funke denied any involvement. Police say they later arrested him on charges that he violated his in-home detention out of Marshall County. He was incarcerated at the Howard County jail.

Then in October, investigators were contacted by jail staff after an inmate said Funke admitted to killing Armstrong, according to court records. Funke said he believes Armstrong hit him in the head with a hammer and knocked him out after an argument. When he came to, he said he found Armstrong dead on the floor and bleeding from her head. He also told police that he has memories of hitting her in the head, but thought it was a dream, the court documents state.

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