INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 9, 2014)-- When Aaron Smith, 22, walked into the Emergency Room of Methodist Hospital early on the morning of June 7 with a gunshot wound, he had a good reason to lie about his name.
He claimed he was Kevin Bradley and he was the victim of a street robbery but was shaky on the details. A check confirmed instead that he was a convicted felon with an outstanding warrant for violating his home detention sentence, and his DNA and blood were all over the scene where a man had been murdered just hours before.
The body of Louis Myers was found inside a car in the 4000 block of Meadows Dr. Tests confirmed Smith had been there.
When detectives dove into Smith's criminal history, they found a man convicted of a 2009 carjacking, sentenced to 10 years in prison which became less than two behind bars. Smith was then placed on probation, which he violated, seemingly without consequences for years.
In 2011 Smith admitted violating probation and was given another year on top of the three the judge gave him for the carjacking. Included in the latest sentence was a warning that the system expected "Strict compliance" from the felon.
Smith didn't have the funds to pay Marion County Community Corrections $4,594 for his fees.
In April of 2013 Smith was arrested on cocaine and marijuana counts and charged again with violating probation. The drug charges went away and this time Smith was given 40 hours of community service, another year of probation (he was up to five now), told to get his GED and was told the judge expected, "Strict compliance," again.
Seven months later Smith violated probation once again. This time he was given 1460 days in Community Corrections and, "Executed time to be served on home detention with GPS." Again, Smith didn't have any money to pay his fees.
By May 9 of this year, Smith proved he couldn't follow the rules again and a warrant was issued for his arrest for violation of his post trial release conditions.
Smith, who seemingly roamed free living by his own rules while on probation for more than two years, was on the strees June 6th when Louis Myers died. Thirteen days later, while incarcerated inside the Marion County Jail, Smith was ordered back to prison to serve another four years of his original 2009 carjacking conviction.
The accused killer with a handful of second chances under his belt was sitting in a cell at the Putnamville Correctional Facility when he was advised of the murder and serious felon with a firearm charges he now faces.
Cases like Smith's, and Thomas Hardy who was free by mistake when he killed Police Officer David Moore and Indiana Black Expo shooter Shamus Patton who lied about looking for work while serving the rest of his sentence while in a work-release program, frustrate IMPD.
"I think the biggest frustration would probably come from the families of some of these victims who their loved one may have been alive today if the person was serving the sentence they should've served," said Lt. Chris Bailey.
"Over my career I have seen patterns of young men who start off with petty crimes as juveniles and it's progressively gotten worse as it's gotten older and to the point where they're committing murders like we have now.
"The goal when someone commits a crime is to not have them commit anymore crimes."
Mayor Ballard, Police Chief Rick Hite and Public Safety Director Troy Riggs have lobbied state lawmakers to institute mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines that would add 20 years to the sentence of anyone convicted of using a gun during a crime.
Under new guidelines adopted this summer, offenders must serve 75% of their sentences before becoming eligible for parole.