INDIANAPOLIS — A Marion County judge on Thursday sentenced Tyler Newby to a year on home detention for killing a man during riots that consumed Downtown Indianapolis in May 2020.
"You weren’t out there casually walking," Marion Superior Court Judge Angela Dow Davis told Newby. "You shot him before he did anything to you."
Downtown was in a state of chaos that night amid social unrest and outrage over the killing by police of George Floyd in Minnesota.
Newby chose to carry a gun out on those dangerous streets two times that night, the judge said.
"You did put yourself in that situation," Dow Davis said. "The fact of the matter is (Murrell and his associates) did not come up and rob you... The court did not find self-defense."
Prosecutors had charged Newby with murder but Dow Davis found him guilty of reckless homicide after a bench trial last month.
The judge on Thursday sentenced Newby to a year on home detention followed by four years of probation. She also handed him a suspended prison sentence of five years. The violent felony conviction means Newby is ineligible to ever again carry a firearm.
According to evidence in the case, Newby and a friend were walking and checking out the damage when they encountered Murrell and several others near Market and Pennsylvania streets about 2:30 a.m. May 31, 2020.
Murrell, 18, pushed Newby to the ground, according to the evidence. Newby was on his back when he pulled a gun and shot Murrell. Newby and his friend fled the scene and Newby handed himself over to a law enforcement officer a short time later.
The first witness to take the stand Thursday was Murrell's mother.
"I try to make myself understand why Tyler Newby went out of his way to go Downtown to take my son’s life," Shavon Davis testified. "I am a firm believer in the Lord, so I forgive you for killing my son."
Murrell and his partners that night "arrived Downtown not with the intent to participate in the protests but to commit crimes," Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Detective Stephen Smalley testified. "They were on foot circling a small area... robbing people they encountered on the way."
Murrell and three others had a firearm and used "overwhelming force" to commit four robberies on nine victims, Smalley said.
Smalley testified that Chris Beaty, a former Indiana University football player, interrupted the group committing one of those robberies near Talbot and Vermont Street. Someone in Murrell's group shot Beaty to death, the detective testified.
Marcus Jayon Anderson, Alijah Jones and Nakeyah Shields have been charged with armed robbery and murder in the killing of Beaty. Had he lived, Smalley testified that Murrell would be facing the same robbery and murder charges.
Defense attorney Denise Turner asked Smalley what punishment he thinks is appropriate for Newby.
"I don’t think he belongs in jail," Smalley answered. "Looking at the facts from the lens of my case, it looks like self-defense."
Friends testified that Newby was a dependable, loving and peaceful man and a good father to an 8-month-old girl. Those who knew Newby carried a gun testified that he was always responsible.
The victim's loved ones said Murrell had a family who loved him too. He was also a son, a grandson and a father. He was deeply loved, they said.
Whatever Murrell was doing that night, his loved ones said Newby had no right to take his life.
"It’s not only a tragedy for us but also for his family as well," Murrell's grandmother Artonia Armstrong said. "Us, as parents and grandparents, we try to raise our children … to be decent citizens and good-hearted people.
"Unfortunately when they get to a certain age… a lot of things they chose to do in their lives we have no control."
Armstrong said she has leaned heavily on her Christian faith in the days since her grandson died.
"The hardest thing I ever had to do in my life was pray for (Newby)," Armstrong testified. "Tyler, I forgive you. I pray that you will allow God to come in and talk to you and change your mind and your heart."
Deputy Prosecutor Kristin Orr then asked Armstrong if there was anything else she wanted to tell the judge.
"I’m just asking everybody in this court, as human beings we need to start thinking more before we act," Armstrong said. "Because now we are sitting in a court room with my grandson not here."
"Whatever we do in life there are consequences."
More: Tyler Newby convicted of reckless homicide for killing man during the 2020 Downtown riots | Man charged with deadly shooting during Indy riots told police 'I just shot somebody', docs say | 'I just want justice:' Mother of Indianapolis shooting victim wants answers after suspect makes bond| 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.