INDIANAPOLIS – It took more than a year for murder charges to be filed against an Indianapolis man accused of beating his victim to death with a brick in September 2021.
Footage from surveillance cameras and the suspect’s distinctive clothing led investigators to arrest 39-year-old Markeiss Armstrong in connection with the death of 34-year-old Atlas Wedlow Jr. He is charged with murder.
Police found Wedlow near N. Pennsylvania Street and E. Ohio Street around 1:40 a.m. on Sept. 21, 2021. He’d suffered multiple injuries and died at the hospital about a week later.
According to the probable cause affidavit, the investigation pointed to Armstrong as a potential suspect early on. It took police months to build their case and comb through surveillance footage to make a positive identification. An arrest warrant was issued on Dec. 21, 2022; the Marion County Sheriff’s Office located Armstrong on Dec. 22, 2022.
Before his arrest in connection with Wedlow’s murder, Armstrong landed in police custody multiple times for various offenses in Indianapolis, according to court records.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office said detectives have worked to build their case against Armstrong since Wedlow’s death more than a year ago. The case was submitted earlier in December 2022 and charges were subsequently filed last week.
According to the probable cause affidavit, officers responded to a report of a person down near the Sales Force building. They identified Wedlow from an ID card found in the pocket of some clothes lying nearby.
Wedlow’s injuries were inconsistent with gunshots or a fall, police said. Detectives reviewed surveillance cameras that showed a man wearing a Cincinnati Bengals hat, prescription eyeglasses that appeared to be broken and a New Orleans Saints jersey. He also wore a black and tan vest jacket with a Native American chief’s head and black sliders with “PUMA” written in white letters.
The man, later identified by police as Armstrong, walked from East Ohio to North Pennsylvania Street. About 100 yards behind him, Wedlow was seen walking along the same path. Wedlow appeared to be yelling at someone, according to court documents.
Armstrong stopped at the Denison parking garage’s north entrance and appeared to look in Wedlow’s direction. He then picked up a brick from the base of a parking sign and hid, leaving behind a red and black duffel bag. When Wedlow approached the parking garage entrance, Armstrong “emerged from the void and hit” Wedlow several times with the brick, according to court documents.
Wedlow fell on the ground, motionless. Armstrong stomped on his forehead and kicked him in the face, according to court documents, before spiking the brick into Wedlow’s face. With Wedlow still down, Armstrong kicked him one more time, gathered his bag and walked off.
The attack happened around 12:50 a.m.
Wedlow lay on the ground for more than 10 minutes before he started to move. Footage showed he could sit but was incapable of standing. Over the next hour, he crawled to the area where police found him at N. Pennsylvania Street and E. Ohio Street. He was then taken to Eskenazi Hospital, where he later died. The coroner ruled his death a homicide and determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.
Detectives reviewed the surveillance footage on Sept. 30, more than a week after the attack. They identified Armstrong as a possible suspect on Oct. 2; his clothing matched that of an individual police had dealt with during a previous run; officers specifically pointed to broken prescription eyeglasses and a Cincinnati Bengals hat seen during video of the Aug. 24, 2021, encounter at the Indiana Convention Center. The footage helped police identify Armstrong as the suspect in Wedlow’s death.
Armstrong’s criminal record is lengthy and includes an Oct. 5, 2021, arrest at a Greyhound bus station in Washington, D.C. It happened about a week after Wedlow’s death, although police didn’t learn about it until Oct. 15. Armstrong had returned to Indianapolis on Nov. 15, 2021, when police learned he’d been sleeping in a parking garage at S. Illinois Street and W. Maryland Street.
In video footage obtained from March 25, 2022, Armstrong was seen retrieving items from a garage; he was wearing a black and tan vest jacket with a Native American chief on it as well as black sliders with “PUMA” in white lettering.
Indianapolis Metropolitan police later arrested Armstrong on March 26, 2022, in connection with an incident at the Circle Centre Mall in which he was caught on camera “fighting with multiple people in the mall.” He wore the same black and tan vest jacket, police said. He had been previously accused of exposing himself at the mall and arrested.
According to jail records, Armstrong was booked and released six different times in 2022 alone. Offenses ranged from battery to disorderly conduct, resisting, obstructing traffic and public nudity. It wasn’t until Dec. 22, 2022, that he was booked in connection with Wedlow’s September 2021 murder.
Armstrong had his initial hearing in the murder case on Tuesday. He has a pretrial conference set for Feb. 23, 2023, with a jury trial scheduled for March 2023.