Judge sets trial date in Kelly Armstrong case
KOKOMO — A man, whom police say admitted to killing his girlfriend, pleaded not guilty to voluntary manslaughter in Howard Superior Court 2 on Tuesday.
Travis Funke appeared with his attorney, Gary Cook, by video feed from the Howard County jail. Funke pleaded not guilty during the initial hearing to a class A felony charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Howard Superior Court 2 Judge Brant Parry set a trial date of July 3 and pretrial hearing for June 12. Funke remains jailed without bond.
Funke said little during the hearing. Asked by the judge whether he understood the charges against him, he answered yes.
Howard County Prosecutor Mark McCann charged Funke on Feb. 21 with voluntary manslaughter after Kokomo police said Funke admitted to killing his girlfriend, 27-year-old Kelly Armstrong, on July 8.
Using information provided by Funke, police searched a landfill in Wabash County but have not found Armstrong’s body.
Armstrong’s family reported her missing Sept. 26. During the initial investigation, police went to a trailer at 2501 Apperson Way North, where Funke and Armstrong had been living. There, police talked to Funke, who initially said he hadn’t seen her.
Funke had been on house arrest out of Marshall County on a conviction for operating a vehicle after a lifetime suspension when he came to Kokomo. Police jailed him on a charge that he had violated terms of his house arrest.
In October, investigators were contacted by jail staff after an inmate at the jail said Funke admitted to killing Armstrong, according to court records.
Funke later told police he believed Armstrong hit him in the head with a hammer and knocked him out after they argued about drugs.
When he came to, he said, he found Armstrong dead on the floor and bleeding from her head.
Funke went on to say he put a plastic bag over Armstrong’s head, wrapped her in a tarp and put her body in a trash tote.
Acting on that information, police searched the trailer and found a green-handled hammer along with two large blood stains on the bedroom carpet and two large blood stains in the living room, court records show. The blood found matched that of Armstrong.
Police then contacted the Kokomo Street Department and learned the trash tote had been picked up July 8 and taken to a Wabash landfill. Police then searched a section of the landfill based on where Kokomo trash from July 8 was eventually dumped.
Investigators reportedly went through 6,000 tons of trash but did not find Armstrong’s body.
If convicted, Funke could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.
by Mike Fletcher