The Murder of Katelyn Wolf

One of the first things I came across in my research on one of the perpetrators of this crime was an appeal from 2014.  I love working with actual appeal papers. They condense down the events that occurred during the acting out of the crime as well as during any trial that took place and they deal solely with the legal aspects of things.  This appeal was different in many ways however.

First, there had been no trial against Randal Crosley nor his accomplice, Jordan Buskirk so the fact that there was an appeal was quite unusual. Both Crosley and Buskirk had agreed to plea deals with the prosecutors and in general that prevents an appeal taking place.  However, in this case Crosley had filed an appeal based on the sentence that he had received.... an eighty-one year "aggravated" sentence.  This was a term that I had never heard before and to be honest even after a search to define the terms I was unsuccessful.  What seems a bit more confusing is that the prosecutor would state at some point that while Indiana has a death penalty statute, in order for a prosecutor to seek the death penalty there had to be an aggravating factor, of which surprisingly there was not one here, although most admit that was not from a lack of trying by the defendants.  

The second most interesting thing about this appeal was the fierceness portrayed by the justice's who decided the appeal. While the wording itself remained professional, as it should, when reading their decision one could almost feel the anger and disgust the judges felt just jumping off the page.  It was easy to see that these judges felt no compassion or sympathy for this defendant in any way.  I will refrain in saying here what I have said to others as to the translation of their decision I made due to the language I personally used but it should be suffice to say that it was not professional. So what happened that was so heinous that I could feel the ire from these judges simply by the words on a page?

Randal Crosley and Jordan Buskirk were friends who dealt in the selling of synthetic marijuana and illegal prescription drugs in their small town of Linton Indiana in Greene County.  They also dabbled with their own supply.  According to Crosley at some point the two men wondered out loud what it would be like to rape and murder someone.  They had no one in mind but they did apparently come up with a plan.  A few days later the two went to an adult store and bought some items including handcuffs, restraints straps and condoms. At another store the two would buy rope and a twenty pound anchor. It would later be found found that Crosley had searched on his phone bodies of water in Greene County to determine which was the deepest.  

The plan between the two had been to carry out their plan against a stranger but the day after they obtained the items they had sold Katelyn Wolf, a nineteen year old girl from the area, some pills.  It seems that later the men discussed making Katelyn their victim and decided she would be their target. They reached out to Katelyn to see about making another sale of drugs and she agreed.

On the night of June 5, 2013 Katelyn would leave with the two men and never be seen again.  Her father would report her missing the following day.  By all accounts it seems that Crosley's wife was the one to first become suspicious and noticed somethings near a lake and contacted authorities.  Katelyn's body would be found in the lake some five days after she was reported missing.  On June 13, 2013 both Randal Crosley and Jordan Buskirk were arrested and charged with her murder.

Buskirk seemed to readily confess to what the two men had done.  Crosley would also confess but much later.  In reality though the investigators and prosecutors would not need a confession from either of them aside from getting a detailed description as to what happened when.  When it came to evidence they had an abundance.  Neither of these men seemed to care that they had left evidence and their DNA in ABUNDANCE at the scene.  Investigators would find duct tape not just on the road but on Katelyn's body that matched the two men; they would find cigarette butts near the edge of the lake with Crosley's DNA; they would find Katelyn's DNA in the truck of Buskirk's car; they would even find her blood DNA on pants worn by both men. 

Hell, Crosley even took evidence with him when he was taken into the police department for questioning.  Katelyn's body had been found with her hands handcuffed behind her back.  Crosley had the key to those handcuffs in his pocket when he was questioned by police.  Buskirk would say that there had been two and that after Katelyn had been murdered Crosley had handed him one but he had thrown his away.

Buskirk seemed to tell the most details, but then again it is also likely that while he obviously incriminated himself he may have downplayed the extent of his role.  He would claims that Crosley had attempted to rape Katelyn just as the men had planned but that Katelyn had found fiercely and had even bitten Crosley.  This angered Crosley who would repeatedly hit Katelyn in the fact to prevent her from attacking him.  She was doing so all while her hands were bound behind her.  This became a highly significant point against the two men. Had they been successful in raping Katelyn their crime would have elevated to the point in which prosecutors could have sought the death penalty against them.  The prosecutor would later say he looked at every angle in the case to make that happen but could not find one.  Katelyn's family would rightfully point out that in essence Katelyn saved their lives.  Had she not fought them as fiercely as she had they would have raped her and the rape alone would have made them eligible for the death penalty.  But, since she did fight them to the point that instead of raping her she was beaten and then pushed down a ravine into the water she prevented that rape.  

On March 4, 2014 both Crosley and Buskirk were sentenced to the eighty-one year aggravated sentence.  The basis of the appeal from Crosley was in essence stating that he did not believe that since he had cooperated with authorities and hashed out a "deal" that it was much of a deal.  He had pleaded guilty to murder, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit rape, criminal confinement and dealing in a schedule IV controlled substance.  The judge had taken these charges and sentenced him for each, giving some concurrent and some consecutively which had come to the eighty-one years.  The appeals court disagreed with Crosley's assessment and stated that Crosley's guilty plea was really the only thing that he had left and that the prosecutor had more than enough evidence against him to have easily obtained a guilty verdict with a jury. 

According to the Indiana Department of Corrections website (one of my favorites by the way not because I live here but at the information it provides), says that Buskirk's earliest chance at parole is in December of 2053 while Crosley is eligible the following month.  It is unlikely that either of these men will seen sunlight outside the walls of a prison ground and will only leave prison in a box.

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