Investigation Discovery’s ‘The Murder Tapes: Who Killed the Landlord?’ chronicles how a kind-hearted Ron Whiles was brutally murdered inside his Lafayette, Indiana, home in early April 2018. The episode stated how he was compassionate, always lending his hand to help people in need until he was ultimately betrayed by one of them. If you’re curious to learn how the police solved the homicide and the killer’s identity and current whereabouts, we’ve your back. Let’s begin then, shall we?
How Did Ron Whiles Die?
A Lafayette Jefferson High School graduate, 61-year-old Ronald “Ron” Whiles, lived near the former Cassini Tile and Marble shop at Earl Avenue and South 31st Street in Lafayette, Indiana. His lawn care business was conspicuous for the trucks with large, wooden panels marked “Ron’s Lawns.” A compassionate Ron also rented rooms in houses around Lafayette, often giving grace to those who fell behind on rent. A family friend, Mark Bovey, said Ron “was always working” and noted, “Basically, he was a kind-hearted person.”
Mark added, “He was always in work clothes. A lifelong resident of Lafayette who never got in trouble in the community. He was an asset.” Hence, it was shocking when the Lafayette police received a distressing 911 call around 6:00 am on April 7, 2018. The caller, 63-year-old Thomas Day, who lived at the address with Ron, called 911 to report a stabbing and that the house was on fire. When the police arrived around 6:10 am at the home at 818 S. 31st Street, it was already heavily engulfed in thick smoke and fire.
Hours later, the emergency respondents and the police searched the apartment to find Ron’s body. He had succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds to his vital organs. The officers collected several spent .40 caliber shell casings from inside the residence. The fire department determined that the cause of the fire was incendiary. A close friend, Ryan Tincher, said, “Ron and I have been business partners for about seven years, but I’ve known him since I was a little kid. I don’t understand why anybody would do something this awful.”
Who Killed Ron Whiles?
Ron’s pants pockets were turned inside-out, his wallet lay empty on the bed, and the dresser drawers were open. The police hypothesized it might have been a robbery gone wrong, and tell-tale signs of the pouring of an accelerant confirmed the perpetrator had intentionally set the house on fire to destroy physical evidence. They interviewed the survivor, Thomas, at the hospital to learn he had seen an individual fire at Ron and stabbed him when he tried to intervene and snatch the weapon. He claimed he stumbled to his room and called 911.
While he still talked to the dispatcher, Thomas discovered the residence had been set on fire and managed to scramble through an open bedroom window. His account matched the evidence found at the crime scene, and the authors learned Ron sheltered people down on their luck and gave them work at his company. His friend, Stephen Lebegue, stated, “Ron had done this for 30 years. He was like his own transitional housing in Lafayette. The community owes him the dignity he deserves. Not what happened to him.”
The police canvassed the neighborhood and spoke with residents to learn there had been multiple instances of burglaries in the locality before the murder and arson. One of the neighbors claimed someone had broken into his pickup truck and stolen two handguns — a .38 Rossi and a .40 Smith and Wesson MP. Another local named a suspect who had stolen some changes and an expensive wristwatch from his vehicle. The alleged suspect had several burglaries to his name, and the police arrested him within a day of the crime.
When interviewed, the suspect seemed genuinely surprised by the news and claimed he would never hurt Ron, who had helped him all his life. He named two other suspects with whom Ron had arguments before his murder. While one of the individuals named was already in police custody due to unrelated charges, he told the police he suspected Andrew Scott Alcorns — the other person who had a beef with Ron after the latter kicked him out of his property. The suspect also claimed Andrew had been talking for months about his intentions to rob Ron.
The suspect told the authorities Andrew’s girlfriend, Paige Millikan, was in prison after being arrested in Madison County for trying to use a stolen credit card on April 1. However, Andrew managed to escape and plotted to rob Ron on April 7 — the month’s first Saturday — since he collected rent from his tenants that day. The police listened to the call recordings between Paige and Andrew from jail and found Ron’s name had repeatedly propped up in the conversation. She egged him on to collect her bond money from Ron.
He was eventually declared the primary person of interest in the case. On April 11, Andrew and Paige were located in a Dayton, Ohio, residence. After he fired a gun several times during a nine-hour standoff with the authorities, the officers were able to enter the house and take him into custody. Police sources stated he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound but survived. Inside the house, the authorities found a .40 caliber handgun that was later identified as one of the handguns stolen from one of Ron’s neighbors.
Where is Andrew Scott Alcorns Now?
Subsequent testing on the handgun matched the .40 caliber casings recovered from Ron’s house. Andrew was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery, arson, felony murder, robbery, attempted felony murder, and a felony firearm enhancement as a habitual offender. Pursuant to a plea deal, he pled guilty to first-degree murder and aggravated battery on September 14, 2021. During Andrew’s November 2021 sentencing, his defense counsel attributed his actions in part to mental illness, severe drug abuse, and a tragic childhood.
Andrew stated, “I wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t drug-related. I didn’t intend to hurt anybody. I’ve struggled with drugs for 30 years.” The judge handed him a sentence of 15 years for the aggravated battery and 60 years for the murder. The two sentences will run consecutively after another sentence for an unrelated handgun charge ends in 2022. Because of a cap on the sentence set by state statute, he will serve only 70 years. The 45-year-old remains incarcerated at the Indiana State Prison and will be eligible for parole in 2074.
Read More: Faria Khan: Where is Nawajid Khan’s Killer Now?