COLUMBUS, Ohio – The man arrested in the deadly string of highway shootings that terrorized Ohio drivers for months was indicted Thursday on a murder charge that could bring the death penalty.
Charles A. McCoy Jr. (search), 28, was also charged with numerous other offenses, including attempted murder, assault and vandalism, in half of the 24 shootings.
The murder charge covers the only death in the case, that of 62-year-old Gail Knisley (search), who was being driven by a friend to a doctor's appointment and shopping trip when a bullet pierced the driver's door and killed her Nov. 25. No one else was ever hit.
The charges involve incidents that began with a shooting at a tractor-trailer on an interstate Oct. 19, and ended with gunshots at a sport utility vehicle on a freeway Feb. 14.
They include the Nov. 11 shooting into an elementary school, the Dec. 15 shooting into a house and two separate shootings within minutes of each other Feb. 8 from an overpass near Jeffersonville, about 40 miles southwest of here.
Tony Hall, whose car was shot in the front fender Feb. 14, said he supports the death penalty in McCoy's case. McCoy was charged with attempted murder and felonious assault in that shooting.
"He should get it," Hall said. "I'm all for it."
McCoy was identified in mid-March as a suspect. But up until Thursday, he had only been charged with assault in one of the shootings.
He was captured March 17 in Las Vegas, two days after investigators released his photo and a description of his car.
The aggravated murder charge says the offense was committed "as part of a course of conduct involving the purposeful killing of or attempt to kill two or more persons."
McCoy lives a half-mile north of the stretch of I-270 where the shootings were concentrated. Lab tests showed that bullets from nine of the shootings — including the one that killed Knisley — were fired from the same gun.
Police and relatives have said McCoy is mentally ill, and one of his attorneys has said McCoy's mental health could become a part of the case. McCoy was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia (search) several years ago, attorney Andrew Haney said Thursday.
McCoy's attorneys would not comment about a defense strategy, and said they expected the case to go to trial.
Investigators connected him to the crime after getting a call from a tipster and visiting McCoy's father, who gave them four of McCoy's guns.
He was captured after a Las Vegas man, Conrad Malsom, recognized McCoy from news reports and did a little of his own detective work to find McCoy's car parked at the motel.