INDIANAPOLIS — A security guard has been found not guilty after he was charged in connection with the death of Naytasia Williams in 2020 at an apartment complex on the northeast side of Indianapolis, according to online court records.
Melvin Hall II was charged with murder in September 2020 in connection with the death of Williams, 25, at the Towne and Terrace, a housing complex near East 42nd Street and North Post Road.
A jury trial began Monday morning, according to online court records. The jurors reached a verdict on Tuesday and were then dismissed. An order to release Hall from custody on the murder charge was also filed Tuesday.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in September, detectives learned there was a verbal argument between Williams and another person at the apartment complex while Hall and two other security guards stood near Williams' car.
Williams was sitting in the driver's seat with the car idling when Hall allegedly drew a firearm and fired three shots at her, according to the affidavit. Hall didn't provide any verbal warning before firing the shots.
Hall was a private security guard hired by the housing complex, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Tina Williams, Naytasia's mother, is taking legal action following the incident.
"My daughter was a very loving individual,” Tina said. "It's very hard being used to being with your child every day for the past 26 years. It's a routine you just never want to let go."
On Wednesday, an attorney for Hall released the following statement.
Though Melvin Hall was proven to have acted in self-defense, this incident was both tragic and avoidable. As early as January 2018, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department had knowledge that Naytasia WIlliams was violent and suicidal and that her family wanted her to get professional help. IMPD seized a handgun from Ms. Williams in January 2018. Four months later, an IMPD sergeant filed to have Ms. Williams declared a “dangerous” person under Indiana’s “red flag law” and requested a court order to keep her from retrieving her seized firearm. It is not known when or whether the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office moved forward with the sergeant’s request.
On the night in question, four separate witnesses testified that Ms. Williams was upset and made a number of threatening statements to a crowd that had gathered at the location of the incident. Her threats included her stated desire to shoot people. Ms. Williams stated she had no bullets in her gun because she had “emptied a clip on her cousin.” However, her gun was actually loaded with one round in the chamber and four in the magazine. In addition, an empty clip was found on the driver side floorboard of Ms. Williams’ vehicle. The evidence proved that when Ms. Williams got into her car, she began moving her gun around inside the vehicle while continuing to express a desire to shoot “everyone.”
When Ms. Williams entered her vehicle after making multiple threats to people in the crowd, Mr. Hall, a licenced security guard through the State of Indiana, was standing directly outside Ms. Williams’ vehicle. Mr. Hall’s back was against a guardrail with no ability to retreat or escape and within four feet of Ms. Williams’ front passenger window. As Ms. Williams rolled her window down and continued to make threats at everyone present, Mr. Hall shined his flashlight into her vehicle and saw Ms. Williams’ moving her gun towards him. Mr. Hall responded in self-defense for the safety of himself and others. A jury of Mr. Hall’s peers listened to the evidence and found that Mr. Hall’s use of self-defense and defense of others was proper under the circumstances.
An attorney for Williams responded to Hall's attorney in a statement:
Speaking for Tina Williams, the mother of Naytasia Williams, we strongly dispute the characterization of Naytasia Williams as dangerous, suicidal and violent. It is easy to bash a victim in the defense of a criminal prosecution when the victim cannot speak for herself. Her life was needlessly and tragically taken away by Melvin Hall, Jr. and his actions were reckless, negligent and unjustified. A reasonable, properly trained security guard would not have pulled the trigger to end the life of Naytasia. Often the decision is made to attack the victim in an attempt to divert attention away from the actions of the accused. Naytasia’s character has been maligned to make it look like she was a violent, menace to society, but nothing could be further from the truth. Naytasia was a beloved daughter and a young woman of 26 years old that had her entire life and dreams ahead of her. She was a popular local artist and model and had just come out with her own CD. She helped to inspire and motivate youth to make something of their lives. On August 28, 2020, her life was cut short by the actions of Melvin Hall, Jr. who failed to exercise his responsibilities as a security officer in a reasonable and prudent manner. He rushed to pull the trigger and end Naytasia’s life when he many other options that would not have ended in her death. He was the one that did not act in a manner that protected the safety of our community including Naytasia. We are confident that justice will be achieved in the civil lawsuit and that Naytasia did not die in vain. When the total picture is brought to light, all will see how senseless this killing was and hopefully this civil case will serve as an example that all security guards, including Melvin Hall, Jr., should be held accountable for their negligent and reckless actions.