Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

August 11, 2012

Days after plea revoked, murder charge filed against Travis Funke

Prosecutor files upgraded charge in the death of Kelly Armstrong

A voluntary manslaughter charge against the former boyfriend of a missing woman has been upgraded to murder, Howard County Prosecutor Mark McCann said Friday.

Pressure from the family of Kelly Armstrong, a Kokomo woman who was reported missing in September, prompted McCann to additionally charge Travis Funke with murder, the prosecutor said.

Howard Superior Court 2 Judge Brant Parry confirmed the murder charge was filed Friday and set an initial hearing for Tuesday.

Without a body, McCann originally charged Funke with voluntary manslaughter. Funke confessed to killing Armstrong and putting her body in a curb-side trash tote, according to court records.

Police searched Wabash landfill in January but her body was never found.

As the case neared a trial, McCann elected to file a plea bargain, which would have resulted in Funke receiving 35 years in prison and then 15 years of probation.

That plea was withdrawn after the family publicly expressed its disapproval.

With the plea revoked, a jury trial was set for Aug. 21.

In another twist to the case, David Armstrong, Kelly’s father, filed a motion to expel McCann as prosecutor in the case.

Armstrong said in an interview Friday that McCann violated the portion of Indiana code that deals with plea agreements for defendants.

“He did not inform the family of the contents of the plea filed Sept. 23 and we were not advised of [Funke’s] confession until Jan. 9,” Armstrong said.

“This case is so screwed up,” he said. “Something needs to be done.”

McCann acknowledged the motion, but would not comment.

During the plea hearing Wednesday, McCann advised the court he notified the victim’s mother of the plea prior to it being filed. According to state law, if a victim is deceased, a prosecutor is required to notify at least one family member.

Court records show that Funke didn’t admit to police that he killed Armstrong until a Jan. 6 interview. The initial plea was filed June 27, according to court records.

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