WARRICK CO., Ind. (WEHT) Anthony Wolfe, Jr has been found guilty of murder, abuse of a corpse, and obstruction of justice, bringing the weeklong trial to an end. The jury had deliberated on the case for more than 10 hours. Wolfe will be sentenced June 14.
The 26-year-old was accused of taking Valarie Ruark to a remote area of Warrick County, making her lay down, then shooting her in the face. Her burned body was found in April of 2019 near Elberfeld.
“Well, obviously we’re pleased. The whole purpose of this is to get justice for Valarie Ruark and her family and we think the verdict is the correct verdict in this case,” said Mike Perry, the Warrick County Prosecutor, “When you have cases like this, you develop a bond with the family and there’s elation because of the verdict, mixed in with sadness because they did lose a loved one, but it was a victory for all of us.”
Deliberations began around 5 p.m. Tuesday and lasted all night. The jury came back with a guilty verdict at 7 a.m., the longest deliberation Perry said he has ever seen. Wolfe will be sentenced June 14.
“I think they really took their job seriously and I think there was well over 160 pieces of evidence and I think they probably discussed each and every piece.”
On Tuesday, Perry said in his final arguments that the reason Wolfe killed Ruark is because he believed she was a police informant, and he was trying to protect his mother, who was dealing drugs at the time.
On Monday, a witness who knew Ruark testified that Wolfe admitted to shooting and killing Ruark. Video was also shown of Wolfe during an interview where he admitted to detectives he was at the barn where Ruark was shot and left her body in a trash bag on the road. But Wolfe said he did not pull the trigger.
Wolfe told detectives that Brian Baumgartner shot Ruark. Baumgartner is accused of helping Wolfe and is scheduled to go to trial in November. “There’s a different kind of theory on Mr. Baumgartner’s case, but we’ll just have to present our case as we did with this one. Obviously, with a completely different jury and keep trying to get justice for Valarie and her family,” said Perry.
Ivory Baumgartner, 36, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, assisting a criminal, and obstruction of justice. Her next court hearing is scheduled for June 28.