Man pleads guilty in fiancée’s death


A Seymour man who faced murder charges in his fiancée’s death has pleaded guilty to a Level 2 felony of voluntary manslaughter in the case.

Brian Cogdill, 45, agreed to a 24-year sentence in the death of Emma Jean Jamison, 19, of Seymour, who authorities said he beat to death. He faced a maximum sentence of 30 years.

Police said Cogdill killed Jamison Sept. 6 by beating her “head to toe” at the residence they shared at 6556 N. County Road 760E near the East Fork White River south of the Indiana American Water Co., according to court documents.

The negotiated plea agreement, reached Aug. 2, includes 14 years in the Indiana Department of Correction with the remaining 10 years suspended. Cogdill also will serve five years of probation following the sentence.

The agreement also requires Cogdill to register as a violent offender and pay court costs, probation fees and a $50 domestic violence prevention and treatment fee. He also waives his right to appeal the sentence.

If the agreement is accepted by Special Judge Stephen R. Heimann, Cogdill will be sentenced at 9:45 a.m. Oct. 3, according to court records.

A pre-sentence investigation also must be completed and filed three days before the sentencing hearing. A trial in the matter was scheduled for Oct. 28.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jeff Chalfant said it was a “horrible homicide” and the circumstances led prosecutors to believe Cogdill killed Jamison in a sudden rage, which fits the definition of voluntary manslaughter.

“We met with the family of the victim, and they understand the law and are on board with the outcome,” he said. “None of us really like it and would prefer to see more punishment.”

He said he was satisfied the sentence the parties agreed on is more than the advisory sentence of 17½ years.

“We’re getting a significantly aggravated sentence out of this,” he said.

Cogdill, represented by North Vernon Attorney William Dillon, has been held on murder charges at the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown since his arrest Sept. 10.

Evidence gathered during the investigation, which included multiple interviews, led police to believe Cogdill beat Jamison for a variety of reasons. Those reasons include his belief she was having an affair, using drugs and stealing $300 he had saved for new dentures.

Cogdill told police Jamison left their house for hours following an argument and returned home injured, and he believed someone selling drugs to her caused the injuries.

Cogdill has a history of plea agreements that stem from incidents involving violence and firearms.

He has pleaded guilty in at least two felony cases in Jackson Circuit Court.

On Jan. 7, 1994, Cogdill was sentenced by former Jackson Circuit Court Judge William Vance to three years of probation after pleading guilty to a Class D felony charge of criminal recklessness.

Cogdill had been charged with a Class A felony of attempted murder after he fired a shotgun at a man’s truck after an altercation at his mother’s house. The attempted murder charge was dropped as part of the plea deal.

During that incident, the shot fired by Cogdill went through the truck’s back window, and a slug struck a door post on the vehicle close to the head of the driver, according to court documents. The other man involved in that incident also received 180 days of probation after pleading guilty to possession of a handgun.

In the second incident, Vance sentenced Cogdill to one and a half years of probation and required him to participate in anger management classes as part of a plea agreement of a Class D felony charge of pointing a firearm. That sentencing was handed down Sept. 12, 2006.

That agreement stemmed from an incident in which Cogdill pointed a loaded shotgun at family members during an argument. Cogdill also fired the weapon close to one of the family members, according to a probable cause affidavit signed by county Officer Rob Henley filed Dec. 27, 2004.

He was released from probation on that case in March 2008.

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