Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

crime & courts

3 arrested in Lawrence County murder

When police found Rodney Allender’s body Feb. 27, he was bound by duct tape on his garage floor, blood pooling from his head.

Distinct, bloody foot prints were also found at the scene in Allender’s Lawrence County home. Allender, 43, had a gunshot wound and it was clear he was beaten. An autopsy would later reveal blunt force trauma as the cause of death.

On Saturday, two Bedford, Ind., men and one juvenile were arrested on preliminary charges of murder and robbery.

Lawrence County police found the house in “complete disarray as if it had been ransacked,” according to court documents. The couches were flipped, a door ripped from its hinges, desks emptied, papers strewn about and two safes opened and emptied.

On Feb. 28 an autopsy determined Allender died from blunt force trauma, with multiple injuries to his head, chest, abdomen, leg and left arm.

Austin M. Curtis, 18, was arrested Saturday in Lawrence County, Ind. Taylor Flynn, 19, and Dillon Hicks, 16, were arrested the later that day in Lawrence County, Ohio, by Ironton, Ohio, police.

On Feb. 28 police received reports from juveniles who went to Bedford North Lawrence
High School with Curtis, Flynn and Hicks, according to court documents. One juvenile told police that Hicks recruited him to join them in a robbery of a man who lived alone with no neighbors off State Road 446.

Another juvenile told police Flynn admitted to going with Hicks and Curtis to rob “some big guy who lived out in the middle of nowhere.”

Police investigators spoke with Curtis and received his permission to examine the bottom of his shoes. Photographs of Curtis’ shoes were compared and matched to the footprints found at the scene of the murder.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for Curtis’ shoes and the presence of blood was found on the bottoms and shoelaces.

After police arrested Curtis for murder and robbery, he admitted that someone told him
Allender had a large sum of money, according to court documents. He said he checked out the house on more than one occasion with Hicks and Dillon.

Curtis told police Flynn dressed up like a girl and walked to Allender’s house and asked to use his phone. When Allender opened the door Flynn shot him in the leg, Curtis hit him in the leg with a bat and Hicks shot him in the face with an air soft gun.

Allender tried to defend himself with a broom stick, but the three suspects bound him with duct tape.

Curtis told police Allender eventually gave them the combination to the safes where they found money and guns, which they stole.

A juvenile spoke to Hicks on the phone Thursday. Hicks reportedly said he “prayed to God the guy’s not dead.”

Dillon and Hicks are being held in Lawrence County, Ohio, awaiting extradition, Indiana Lawrence County Sheriff Sam Craig said. Curtis is being held in Lawrence County, Ind., without bond.

Allender’s funeral will take place today at 1 p.m. Services will happen at the Funeral Chapel on East Third Street in Bloomington. The burial will be performed at Duncan Cemetery in Belmont.

More than 160 supporters have raised almost $7,000 for Allender’s funeral expenses, surpassing their goal of $5,000. Supporters believe he did not have life insurance.

Allender was a man who loved his community, family, logging and most of all his son, according to the online fundraiser web page.

“Rodney was a great man who would’ve given the shirt off his back to anyone in need,” the page read.

Get stories like this in your inbox