INDIANAPOLIS — The first witnesses began testifying before jurors on the opening day of the Tyler Newby murder trial in Marion Superior Court.
Newby is accused of killing Dorian Murrell on May 31, 2020, the second night of the downtown riots in Indianapolis, near the intersection of Pennsylvania and Market Streets.
Newby told investigators that he shot Murrell in self-defense.
Anthony Eads testified that by pulling the trigger his friend, “saved our life that day.”
Eads told jurors that he and Newby had walked around downtown Indianapolis that night to observe protests that deteriorated into riots.
Both Eads and an IMPD officer who also testified used the word “chaos” to describe the atmosphere.
Eads said that just after two a.m., as he and Newby rounded the corner near the Hilton Garden Inn just off Monument Circle, “minding our own business,” they were confronted by a group of eight-to-ten people.
“’Oh, no, I’m not going home tonight,’” Eads told the jurors he thought as three men backed him up against the wall of the hotel. “They were fixing to take what I had.”
What Eads had was a spent tear gas canister that got the group’s attention.
Eads said he then heard a gunshot and spotted Newby on the ground surrounded by four people.
One of them was Murrell who stood over Newby and clutched his stomach before running away.
Eads and Newby also fled down an adjoining alley when they heard screaming and saw people with rifles.
“’These white boys, get ‘em, shoot ‘em!’” Eads told the jury he heard. “There was a lot of people and I was in fear of my life.”
Eads testified that he later met up with Newby and within twenty minutes they turned themselves in to a Marion County Sheriffs reserve deputy and handed over Newby’s gun.
“I thought I was gonna get beat up,” Eads told the jury. “He (Newby) acted in self-defense.”
Self-defense is the heart of Newby’s claim as to why he pulled the trigger that morning.
In his opening statement, Defense Attorney John Keiffner said his client always carried a gun, not just that night, because, “this city is dangerous.”
Deputy Prosecutor Kristin Orr told jurors that Newby’s action did not constitute self-defense and asked for guilty verdicts to both Murder and Voluntary Manslaughter charges.
Security was tight in the courtroom of Judge Angela Davis as members of both Murrell’s and Newby’s families were searched for weapons before entry.
The State has listed some of Murrell’s associates who were with him that night before the shooting as potential witnesses.
Keiffner told Fox 59 News that he has not yet decided whether his client will take the stand in his own defense.
The trial is set to be concluded Thursday.