INDIANAPOLIS — A Marion County jury has found three people guilty of killing former Indiana University football player Chris Beaty during the 2020 riots.
Marcus Jayon Anderson, Alijah Jones and Nakeyah Shields were found guilty late Thursday evening after being accused of committing a string of armed robberies in Downtown Indianapolis amid the chaos, unrest and looting that followed demonstrations protesting the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The jury heard four days of testimony and began deliberating at 4:53 p.m. Thursday. The verdict was read at 2:54 a.m. Friday, according to the Marion Superior Court.
Judge Shatrese Flowers scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 21.
The suspects shot Beaty when he interrupted a robbery outside his apartment building near Talbot and Vermont streets on May 30, 2020, prosecutors say.
"They robbed a lot of people," Deputy Prosecutor Zachary Lanning told the jury during closing arguments. "They did it with a gun and it concluded with the murder of Chris Beaty."
Prosecutors used social media and surveillance video to link the suspects to the crimes. Cameras followed the suspects as they moved through a three block area and robbed eight victims and killed Beaty in about 19 minutes. Beaty was beaten and shot four times in the back, prosecutors say.
Prosecutors showed jurors electronic messages between the suspects linking them to the crimes, including a June 2 Facebook exchange in which Jones told Anderson to leave town.
"You need to lay low, get out of town or something," Jones wrote in the message. "I just seen the report from that dude."
"What dude," Anderson responded.
"N---- from the alley," Jones wrote.
Jones then sent Anderson a photo of a Facebook post on the killing of Chris Beaty.
Molly Crow, Anderson's lawyer, told jurors there were so many crimes happening in downtown that night that police couldn't keep up.
Gunshots rang throughout the city, Crow said. She pointed to a social media video taken by a robbery victim in which you can hear someone firing "multiple clips" of bullets.
"You can't tell me there was one group of people out there with one gun doing all the crimes downtown," Crow said. "Someone empties multiple clips in the video and we’re just supposed to ignore it?"
Defense attorneys say prosecutors did not prove the defendants fired the bullets that killed Beaty.
"We have to be OK, sometimes, with not having answers," Crow said.
Beaty was a business owner, former IU football player and Cathedral High School graduate. His family created scholarships to both schools in his name.
Prosecutors say a fourth suspect, Dorian Murrell, was shot to death near Market and Pennsylvania streets about 2:30 a.m. May 31, 2020, just hours after Beaty's killing.
Social media video taken shortly after Murrell's shooting showed clothing worn by Anderson, Jones, Shields and Murrell matched clothing worn by robbery suspects in a series of surveillance videos. Those videos show the suspects had removed or traded items of clothing as they moved through downtown.
Tyler Newby was convicted of criminal recklessness in Murrell's death and in November was sentenced to a year of home detention in Murrell's death.
Police have been unable to identify a fifth suspect seen on some of the videos.
Anderson, Jones and Shields each were also found guilty of multiple counts of armed robbery.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears released the following statement after the sentencing.
“Today we are thankful for this verdict and grateful to the Beaty family for the dignity, grace, and patience they have continuously displayed throughout this difficult process. Chris tragically lost his life while caring for others and his city. His death was felt by many throughout Indianapolis, Bloomington, and beyond.
In a time of unrest and doubt, his legacy inspired many to live each day to the fullest, look out for others, and to do the right thing. A legacy that is just as relevant as it was three years ago — may we all continue to ‘Live like Chris’ and make our community a better place.”
More: Trial underway for 3 accused of killing former IU football player during the 2020 Downtown riots | Tyler Newby sentenced to home detention for killing man during the 2020 Downtown riots | Tyler Newby convicted of reckless homicide for killing man during the 2020 Downtown riots| IMPD: Arrest made in downtown weekend murder| Man charged with Chris Beaty killing in downtown Indianapolis | Two more people charged in connection with 2020 murder of Chris Beaty | Mother of Chris Beaty files wrongful death lawsuit against City of Indianapolis, IMPD
Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @vicryc.