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Man arrested for murder in Indianapolis beating has history of battery

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Posted at 7:06 PM, May 16, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — A cross marks the front yard of the home where police say 56-year-old Bryan Ward was beaten.

The beating ultimately lead to his death.

Court documents show Ward was beaten, stripped naked, and dragged onto the front porch.

He was taken to the hospital where he went into cardiac arrest and later died.

Two men were arrested on a murder charge.

His family is frustrated, saying he should have never been killed.

"100% preventable. The guy had done it before and he did it again, because you guys let him out," Keirsten Puckett said.

One of the suspects arrested had a long history of battery.

WRTV isn't naming the man until formal charges are filed.

He was charged in 2018 with a nearly identical crime.

Court documents in that case show he was arrested for involuntary manslaughter and aggravated battery among other things for beating a man in a hotel lobby.

That man also went into cardiac arrest and died.

In that crime he was charged with:

  • Aggravated Battery (plea agreement)
  • Involuntary Manslaughter (dismissed)
  • Battery (plea agreement)
  • Criminal Confinement (dismissed)
  • Battery with Bodily Injury to a Public Safety Officer (plea agreement)
  • Escape, while escaping inflicts bodily injury on someone (dismissed)
  • Escape, knowingly or intentionally violating home detention order (dismissed)
  • Resisting Law Enforcement (dismissed)

He reached a plea deal with prosecutors having the involuntary manslaughter charge dropped.
He plead guilty to aggravated battery and was sentenced to 16 years.

WRTV obtained court documents that show he had 4-years suspended, meaning he needed to serve 12.

The court ordered 8 of those to be behind bars, 4 in community corrections.

He had one year of time served when he was sentenced meaning he supposed to spend 7-years in prison.

Under Indiana Law, convicts can serve 75% of their sentence for good behavior.

In the 2018 case, the suspect should have spent around five years and three months of the 7-year sentence.

However, he was released nine-months before that.

"The criminal justice system failed," Amanda Bauer said. "You let a monster back on the street and now another man is dead."

WRTV asked the department of corrections why the suspect was out and are still waiting for a response.

In 2017, the same man was also charged with domestic battery.

In 2016, he was charged with battery against a public safety officer as well as domestic battery in the same case.

"So many people's lives are changed because they let him out. They should have never let him out," Puckett said.

Court documents show when Ward was beaten, the suspect said, "This is what I do. This is who I am. I am going to take care of it."

In the 2023 case, court documents show Ward tried to escape the two men, but they chased him down.

Ward was beaten inside and out of the home while the suspects repeatedly shouted their intent to kill him, documents say.

"Bryan shouldn't be dead," Puckett said. "Nobody did anything until it was too late."

The Family remembers Ward as a man who would do anything for anyone, and loved his truck and best friend, dog Spike.