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Troy man accused of killing roommate pleads not guilty by reason of insanity

TROY — A man accused of killing his roommate, stealing his car and cutting off the victim’s thumb to access the victim’s cellphone is pleading not guilty to charges filed against him.

Sean Higgins, 25, was arrested by Troy Police April 14 after police said he admitted to killing Easton Ho, 25, and dumping his body out of state, according to court records and Troy’s Police Chief. News Center 7 previously reported that police called the killing premeditated.

Ho’s body was recovered in Randolph County near the Greenville Creek in the area of State Route 227 and Greenville Pike around noon on April 15, investigators said. It was the area Higgins told police he dumped it, said Troy Police Chief Shawn McKinney.

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Higgins was charged with aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, grand theft of a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property.

On Thursday, Higgins pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, according to Miami County Municipal Court records. The court has ordered a mental evaluation on Higgins.

Investigators said Higgins cut “off the dead victim’s thumb and keeping it to access and use the victim’s cell phone” during the crimes. The victim’s cell phone ended up being recovered in a field in Troy.

“It was brutal,” McKinney said.

Troy Police responded to an apartment in the 2200 block of Morning Glory Circle around 8:30 a.m. on April 14 after Ho’s girlfriend reported getting some suspicious text messages.

His girlfriend told police she was concerned for his safety, because he had high-functioning autism and possible PTSD from abuse as a child, according to an incident report.

Ho’s girlfriend told police she received a text from Ho at 2:45 a.m. that said, “When you see this, I already left...An old enemy found me, and I had to kill him...You will not see me,” according to an incident report.

Ho’s girlfriend received another text from his phone at 3:15 a.m. that said, “I told Sean, He left his car in the driveway.”

Police said Higgins, Ho’s roommate, did not stay at the house on Morning Glory Circle on the night of April 13, but told officers when he arrived that he also received a text from Ho. The message read, “I was assaulted. I had to kill him. Do not try to contact me. I will send you money.”

Police Chief Shawn McKinney said they believe Higgins sent text messages from Ho’s phone posing as the victim.

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When Ho’s girlfriend got to the apartment, she went to check the garage and found a strong odor of bleach and three empty bottles of bleach containers in the recycling bin that were not there the night before.

Higgins was accused of stealing Ho’s Ford Flex, which was found the evening of April 14, in the parking lot of the shopping plaza at the intersection of Marshall and Stroop roads in Kettering around 6:30 p.m. The vehicle was covered in blood and the license plates has been taken off, court records showed.

Detectives later interviewed both Ho’s girlfriend and Higgins. During his interview, police said Higgins admitted to killing Ho.

Police believe Higgins got an Uber ride back to Troy from Kettering, McKinney said.

Higgins’ bond was set at $1,515,000. McKinney said it is too early to tell whether the case will be a death penalty case.

Higgins is scheduled to appear in court for hearing regarding the court ordered mental evaluation on May 3.

Higgins is being held in the Miami County Jail.