Grandson indicted for Pelham slaying

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Pelham police have arrested a man who allegedly killed his grandmother at her Chandalar home in May.

A Shelby County Grand Jury last week indicted 25-year-old Jason Michael Couch on charges of murder and first-degree theft, according to Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens.

Pelham police served an arrest warrant on Couch at a Tennessee prison where he was being held on an unrelated charge, said Detective Richard Strickland.

The body of Barbara Cotman, 69, was discovered by a neighbor in the Chandalar subdivision on May 8.

Couch allegedly murdered Cotman, his grandmother, and then allegedly stole her 1999 Buick Park Avenue, officials said.

Couch, who had been living with Cotman at the time of her death, apparently left Alabama after her slaying. He was later arrested in Rutherford County, Tenn. on charges of driving under the influence, Strickland said.

As of presstime Tuesday morning, Couch remained in custody at the Rutherford County Jail.

&uot;The next few days they’ll begin the etradition process and he’ll be brought back to Shelby County,&uot; Owens said Monday afternoon.

Pelham police have not released possible motives for the killing.

&uot;We’ve explored several reasons,&uot; Strickland said. &uot;But none that we want to get into at this time.&uot;

The official cause of death has also not been released, but &uot;the allegation in the indictment is that she was stabbed,&uot; Owens said.

The Pelham Police Department, which had released little information on the case before the arrest, acknowledged the assistance of several other law enforcement agencies.

The Tennessee Department of Public Safety, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department, Alabama Department of Forensic Science and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office all aided in the investigation, Strickland said