HILLSBORO (July 25, 2012)-An affidavit filed after the arrest of a Whitney man indicates that the shotgun shooting death of his 14-year-old daughter Tuesday morning may have been accidental.
Edwin Odell Collins, 40, remained in the Hill County Jail Wednesday charged with murder.
His bond was set at $500,000 late Wednesday morning.
The affidavit released Wednesday says Collins went to the Hill County Sheriff's Office Tuesday morning and told deputies he had shot and killed his daughter Judith while he and his three children were trying to elude someone he claimed was chasing them.
Initial reports indicated that he later led authorities to the body of the girl, who was a Whitney High School student, but the affidavit says another of his children, Alex, was the one who directed deputies to the body.
Edwin Collins told deputies he believed someone was trying to "get him" early Tuesday at his residence, at 186 Private Road 122, just north of Whitney, the affidavit said.
Collins, Judith Collins, Alex Collins, 17, and Logan Collins, 11, left the residence in the family's minivan, armed with a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun, the affidavit said.
Collins told deputies, according to the affidavit, that he and his children ended up running through a dense wooded area while trying to escape their pursuers.
The affidavit says that when Collins arrived at the sheriff's office he had scratches on his arms and shoulders and one of his shirtsleeves had been torn off.
Collins told deputies when he left his residence he drove to the family's store, the Hitchin' Post, on Farm-to-Market 933, where he said he and his children got out of the minivan and walked to the rear of the store.
Before they got inside, the affidavit says, Collins said he heard a loud bang, which he believed to be a gunshot.
Fearing there might be someone inside, Collins said he and his children hid behind a large concrete block outside the store, where he used his cell phone to make a 911 call to the sheriff's office.
Hill County Sheriff Jeffrey T. Lyon said Wednesday his 911 call log shows receipt of a 911 call at 4:30 a.m., but there was no conversation on the call and he could not immediately tell from whom the call came.
Lyon said he was waiting for confirmation from the Bosque County Sheriff's Office that the initial call for help may have been received there and transferred to Hill County.
The affidavit goes on to say Collins reported seeing what he thought were two flashlights and said he fired several shots from the shotgun in the direction of the lights.
Collins said he told his children to move away but that he would stay and kill whoever was chasing them.
The affidavit says Collins then reported he heard one of his daughters scream and he fired a shot in the direction of the noise.
He said he was standing about 10 feet away from Judith Collins when he fired the shotgun.
The blast struck her in the back.
The affidavit says Collins knew he had killed his daughter, but says he and the other two children remained hidden in the woods until daylight.
Collins said he left the area at sunrise and went to the store, where he asked his father if any deputies had responded to his 911 call, but did not tell his father about shooting Judith Collins and did not call for an ambulance.
"There is a telephone at his home and a telephone at the store and at no time did he call for an ambulance or police," Lyon said.
"He didn't talk with his mother about the shooting and didn't mention to his father that (the girl) was lying dead in a field across the highway," Lyon said.
Judith Collins was found in a wooded area beside a cultivated field at Farm-to-Market 933 and FM 1713, close to the Collins' store.
Justice of the Peace Martis Ward pronounced her dead at 10 a.m. Tuesday and the body was sent for an autopsy at the Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas.
Judith participated in one-act play, track and field, and choir at Whitney Middle School.
Her friends say she was someone they could rely on during tough times.
"She was such a sweet girl, and always brought you up when you were down," friend Colleen Vernon said.
"She would make you feel better if you felt bad or anything," friend Laura Behnke said.
A candlelight vigil is to be held for Judith at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Whitney Middle School.