Thursday, May 22, 2003

Judge sends murder case of WKU student to grand jury

By Lori Burling
The Associated Press

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Stephen Soules, one of two men charged with murder in a fatal dormitory fire at Western Kentucky University, changed his statement to police in numerous videotaped interviews, a police detective testified Wednesday.

"He increased his involvement in each interview," said Western Kentucky University Detective Mike Dowell, who testified Wednesday in Warren County District Court during a preliminary hearing for Soules and Lucas Goodrum, who is also charged with murder in the death of Katie Autry.

Dowell testified Soules first said he had nothing to do with the fire, in which 18-year-old Autry, of Pellville, was killed after she was found in her bed in her smoldering dorm room on May 4.

Court records show that Autry was beaten, stabbed, raped, burned and suffocated with a pillow. She died three days later at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., where she was treated for third- and fourth-degree burns.

Dowell said Wednesday that Soules later said he was having "consensual sex" with Autry when Goodrum entered Autry's room and forced himself upon her. In a third interview, Soules said he raped Autry and sprayed hairspray on her. He said Goodrum set Autry on fire, Dowell said.

"Mr. Soules admitted that he raped and sodomized her as Mr. Goodrum did," Dowell said.

After hearing testimony from Dowell, Warren District Judge JoAnn Spinks Coleman ruled there was enough evidence to send the case to a Warren County grand jury.

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