Former Greencastle man charged in Whitis shooting

Thursday, March 11, 2021
Hailey Whitis

A man has been arrested and charged in the June 19, 2020 shooting of a Greencastle woman.

Russell Harvey II, 23, Gary, formerly of Greencastle, is facing two felony charges and one misdemeanor related to the shooting death of 18-year-old Haley Whitis of Greencastle.

Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter filed charges in Putnam Superior Court this week of Level 3 felony aggravated battery when the assault poses a substantial risk of death, Level 5 felony involuntary manslaughter and Class A misdemeanor false informing.

An arrest warrant was served at Harvey’s Gary residence and he was taken into custody.

Police were dispatched to a residence on Kentwood Drive in Greencastle the night of the shooting.

They arrived to find Whitis already deceased with a gunshot wound to the chest. Only she and Harvey had been in the room at the time of the shooting.

According to court records, Harvey told investigators that Whitis had been playing with his rifle and at some point had loaded it and shot herself.

However, an autopsy and subsequent forensic testing revealed that the wound and the damage to Whitis’s clothing were consistent with a shot from a greater distance.

No court dates had yet been set as of late Thursday morning.

A Level 3 felony carries a sentencing range of 3-16 years, a Level 5 carries 1-6 years, while a Class A misdemeanor is up to one year in prison.

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  • Her life was worth more than 3-16 years. How disgusting.

    -- Posted by agatha on Thu, Mar 11, 2021, at 12:54 PM
  • Agatha,

    As her mother, I couldn’t agree more!

    -- Posted by khwhitis on Thu, Mar 11, 2021, at 12:59 PM
  • And as her father I agree 100%

    -- Posted by khwhitis on Thu, Mar 11, 2021, at 1:13 PM
  • I'm glad they finally arrested him. Her life is worth more than 16 years. Praying for justice for Haley

    -- Posted by vicki.oliver on Thu, Mar 11, 2021, at 1:17 PM
  • He murdered her!

    -- Posted by kbmom on Thu, Mar 11, 2021, at 3:29 PM
  • Im sorry 16 years!! She barely even got to live that long. She lost the rest of her life and he may get 16 years at the most! Absolutely ridiculous!

    However glad that they found the truth!

    -- Posted by 19martinc81 on Thu, Mar 11, 2021, at 3:33 PM
  • So... he lies about how she dies, which indicates he murdered her and wants to cover it up. So what does he get charged with when they figure out he shot her? Aggravated battery and involuntary manslaughter. SMH. That's just a SLAP in the face to her family.

    -- Posted by momof2ingreencastle on Thu, Mar 11, 2021, at 3:42 PM
  • 16 years is just sad, and under the escalated exit he could be out in 8 years unless they make all convictions consecutive vs concurrent.

    -- Posted by goingon80 on Thu, Mar 11, 2021, at 4:53 PM
  • This is horrible horrible loss of life, no doubt but is the trial already over? Has he been found guilty in a court of law or just public opinion?

    -- Posted by BJCP96 on Thu, Mar 11, 2021, at 5:27 PM
  • BJCP96, Apparently you do not know any details. Don't condemn others for commenting when they do.

    -- Posted by agatha on Thu, Mar 11, 2021, at 7:17 PM
  • Be real people! If the prosecutor files a murder charge, there may not be enough evidence to convict so the scumbag goes free. Sure he lied about what happened but apparently there are no other witnesses to say he intentionally shot her. So let's just hope he's found guilty and the judge gives him the max.

    -- Posted by Ben Dover on Thu, Mar 11, 2021, at 7:43 PM
  • My prayers for the family and I hope that justice will be served. It is my prayer that justice will allow the family closure and they can begin to heal and recover as much as possible from this tragic loss.

    -- Posted by pamelakrobs on Thu, Mar 11, 2021, at 8:38 PM
  • So glad he is arrested and off the streets. Taking the life of this young girl is deplorable. Let's hope he gets the maximum time he deserves.

    -- Posted by Queen53 on Sat, Mar 13, 2021, at 9:04 AM
  • Praying for her family. She lost all of her tomorrow's. He deserves to lose all of his.

    -- Posted by crazycat1 on Sat, Mar 13, 2021, at 2:16 PM
  • Going to step in with BJCP here. I wasn’t in that room and don’t know what happened, and it sounds like no one else here was either. He’s innocent until proven guilty and convicted by a jury of his peers. Pressuring the prosecutor to file a stronger charge is a valid point, but let’s not send the guy to the firing squad just yet.

    -- Posted by techphcy on Sat, Mar 13, 2021, at 4:29 PM
  • Each year, more than 100,000 Americans are victims of gun violence, and more than 40,000 people are killed. Without background checks it is almost impossible to keep guns out of the hands of prohibited individuals or to hold illegal gun dealers accountable.

    Maybe we need to keep guns out of the hands of people who are not out in the fields hunting. In 1993, the Brady Background Check System was passed, preventing more than 3.5 million prohibited gun transactions. In the years after the Brady Law was passed gun homicide rates were cut in half, falling an astonishing 46% from 1993 to 2001. All other gun-related crimes dropped substantially as well — assaults, robberies and sex crimes — were 75% lower in 2011than in 1993.

    The proof is right in front of us. Gun background checks save lives!

    -- Posted by ilovejosie on Mon, Mar 15, 2021, at 8:13 AM
  • I normally do not post but I need to for Hailey. A friend and I have waited for him to be arrested since this happened. The best that can happen is they do not combine all three felonies into one sentence but he receives the Max for each one to run consecutively.

    -- Posted by rebeccaarnold87 on Mon, Mar 15, 2021, at 9:19 AM
  • My prayers for all involved. Hailey was a bright, intelligent, and dear young woman. Justice will hopefully be served.

    -- Posted by Moretothestory on Tue, Mar 16, 2021, at 1:06 AM
  • @ ilovejosie--here is an old fashioned idea about gun violence. Why not punish those who commit a gun crime? We used to punish people but, the liberals have cried foul for punishing people.

    -- Posted by donantonio on Tue, Mar 16, 2021, at 6:01 PM
  • I suspect if there hadn't been a gun available, there wouldn't have been a crime. What was the motive for shooting his girlfriend? How does locking him up help her?

    -- Posted by ilovejosie on Wed, Mar 17, 2021, at 8:48 AM
  • Ilovejosie...she had broken up with him. Motive

    -- Posted by kbmom on Wed, Mar 17, 2021, at 12:56 PM
  • ilovejosie--it is difficult to talk with a liberal such as you. If he wanted to kill her he would have used anything to commit the deed.

    Your thinking is deranged.

    -- Posted by donantonio on Wed, Mar 17, 2021, at 7:45 PM
  • "IloveJosie" ... Perhaps locking him up for quite a long time can keep him from doing the same to others who might date him. Simple. You love Josie, right? Aren't you glad he wasn't dating Josie, or your sibling, or your daughter, or your sister, etc. Get the point now? Put yourself in Hailey's family's shoes and see how it might feel to be the surviving victim of such a shooting death, accident or not.

    -- Posted by rclay on Thu, Mar 18, 2021, at 1:54 AM
  • IloveJosie: so you believe she shot herself? With a rifle to the chest? Unless it was intentional, that's pretty hard to do.

    -- Posted by Ben Dover on Thu, Mar 18, 2021, at 12:53 PM
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