Man sentenced in Birdseye homicide case

Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
The Dubois County Sheriff’s Office found Darin Atkins deceased at his 3543 S. Harts Gravel Road mobile home north of Birdseye July 19, 2017,


Jason Atkins

BIRDSEYE — One individual charged in the July 2017 murder of 49-year-old Darin L. Atkins in Birdseye was sentenced this week after having pleaded guilty to the crime.

Jason A. Atkins, 41, 16 E. Second St., Birdseye, pleaded guilty Oct. 14 to murder in Dubois Circuit Court. An additional count of felony aggravated battery was dismissed under the terms of Atkins’ plea agreement.

On Monday, Atkins was sentenced to 45 years in the Indiana Department of Correction and given a jail credit of 512 days. The first 25 years of the sentence is to be executed with the remaining 20 years suspended to supervised probation. The court also ruled the last five years of Atkins’ executed sentence can be served on home detention with electronic monitoring.

Sarah K. Andry, 43, Eckerty, is also charged with murder and Level 3 felony aggravated battery in the case. Her jury trial, which had been slated for the end of October, is now set for Feb. 24, 2020, after her counsel moved to continue the matter in September.

Police have contended it was widely known that Sarah Andry was in a love triangle with Jason Atkins and the victim. Court documents allege that, over the course of at least three years, Andry went back and forth between the victim and Jason Atkins.

The Dubois County Sheriff’s Office found Darin Atkins deceased at his 3543 S. Harts Gravel Road mobile home north of Birdseye July 19, 2017, after the Dubois County Communications Center received a 911 call from Andry at 1:59 p.m. that Wednesday reporting there was a deceased male at the location. She stated then that the victim was her fiance.

Andry allegedly told authorities it looked like someone came in while Darin Atkins was sleeping and beat him to death. She is also alleged to have told authorities the door was locked and she crawled in through the kitchen window to enter the home.

Early on in the investigation, Dubois County Sheriff Tom Kleinhelter, who was a detective at the time, said it became apparent to investigators that the crime scene had been tampered with and the body had been moved post-mortem.

The Dubois County Coroner’s Office’s preliminary findings from an autopsy indicated Darin Atkins’ cause of death was a closed head injury by a large, blunt object.

The police investigation indicated there had been a considerable time delay between the time Darin Atkins’ body was discovered and when the 911 call was placed.

Further complicating the investigation was information suggesting as many as 10 people, most Darin Atkins’ friends, came to the crime scene and possibly entered the residence prior to authorities being notified about the death.

Warrants charging Andry and Jason Atkins in the case were issued in June 2018. They were arrested June 11, 2018, on the active warrants and have been lodged at the Dubois County Security Center ever since.

The Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office indicated this week that authorities will reserve comment on the case until after Andry is litigated.

In October 2017, as the murder investigation was unfolding, Quentin A. McMickle, 21, Eckerty, was arrested and charged with Level 4 felony burglary and Level 6 felony obstruction of justice for allegedly going to Darin Atkins’ trailer on the day of the murder and tampering with the scene. McMickle’s case is currently scheduled for a Jan. 21, 2020, jury trial.

More on