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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The wife of a Sellersburg man shot dead during a home invasion says she's relieved that the suspects are in custody.
The two Borden, Ind. teenagers made their first court appearance Friday morning. Nineteen-year-old Garreth Stephens and 18-year-old Jared Sowders are charged with murdering Steven Baldwin as they burglarized his home. Police believe Sowders was the triggerman.
Baldwin's widow said the killers robbed her of her best friend.
"I'm so relieved that these murderers were caught, and they're not going to be able to kill anybody else," said Melanie Coghill.
Investigators say Garreth Stephens and Jared Sowders had been boasting to friends about the crime.
According to court documents, Sowders, told a friend, "I did something crazy. Did you hear what happened in Sellersburg? Yeah, dude. I shot him."
Authorities say tips from the public helped crack the case.
"Our prayers were answered. And I'd like to thank the prosecutor and the detectives that worked so hard," said Coghill.
Investigators say Sowders orchestrated the plan. He and Stephens believed that Baldwin's step-son, Blake Glaab, had stashed thousands of dollars in cash in the home.
The suspects allegedly exchanged text messages detailing their plan to rob the home, using a gun, ski masks, bags and zip ties.
Police say the two apparently believed no one would be home, but were surprised to find Baldwin, and shot him.
"This was a cold, bold crime. This individual who was shot did not deserve what happened to him," said Jeremy Mull, Clark County's chief deputy prosecutor.
Baldwin's widow, Melanie Coghill, says her stepson used to be friends with Sowders, until he began to get into trouble.
"He had been in our home a few years ago, when the boys were a little more innocent. But as time went on and the boy became a little more in trouble, they went their separate ways," said Coghill.
Coghill says she always suspected there was more than one person involved in the murder. She says her husband was a big man, expert in martial arts. She believes he may have been caught by surprise.
"Even if he saw the boys, he may not have known he had a gun. But I know my husband, and he went after them like a bull. He probably just immediately started saying, 'What are you doing in my house?' Because my husband was a tough guy, very protective."
Members of the Stephens and Sowders families would not comment outside the courtroom on Friday. But Sowders' attorney described his family as "devastated."
"They're really upset, of course. It's their son. He's young. It's a serious charge," said attorney Perry McCall
Meanwhile, Coghill is left to treasure the photographs she and Baldwin had done the day before he was killed.
"He was my best friend. And I know I'll see him again someday. He was my best friend," she said.
Both suspects face charges of murder and burglary. They're being held without bond.