Man charged with murder claims self defense; COVID-19 delays bond hearing

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INDIANAPOLIS — Tyler Newby, 29, is charged with murder but insists he was defending himself when he shot and killed Dorian Murrell, 18, on May 31 in Downtown Indy during the weekend of mayhem.

The shooting of Murrell was one of several that weekend. Before Murrell was shot and killed around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, police reports show a woman reported she was robbed inside her vehicle in a parking garage on E. Michigan Street and N. Pennsylvania Street at 11:30 p.m.

At 11:35 p.m., a man was shot on E. New York and Alabama Streets. Five minutes later, someone reported a carjacking at Talbott and Vermont Streets. Then, at 11:45 p.m. beloved Indy business leader Chris Beaty was fatally shot at Talbott and Vermont Streets.

As for the case involving Murrell and Newby, prosecutors are calling it murder while Newby’s attorney asserts it is self defense.

Witness statements claim a group of people approached Newby and his friend downtown that night. Some sort of an issue arose between them before Newby claims he was shoved from the back to the ground.

Court documents indicate when he rolled over, a man later identified as Murrell, was standing over him. Newby stated he thought Murrell was going to start punching him. He fired one fatal shot, killing Murrell. Witness statements claim Murrell did not have a weapon on him at the time.

Court documents state right after Murrell was shot, Newby found a nearby reserve deputy and told that person he just shot someone. He then handed his handgun to the deputy, and he and the friend he was with went downtown to give a statement. Then, Newby was arrested.

“It is really disturbing that such a clear-cut case of self-defense has been filed as a murder charge,” John Keiffner, Newby’s attorney, said. “That’s what makes it so incredibly frustrating for Tyler Newby and his family that he cannot be heard even on the preliminary issue of bond.”

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears declined our interview request for this report. Newby has been behind bars since May 31, and he will not have a bond hearing until August 10.

His initial bond hearing was continued as the detective on this case was on vacation at the time; the other reason is because of the ongoing pandemic.

“We fully realize that is not something that the court is intentionally doing,” Keiffner said. “That is simply a function of the emergency nature with which the courts are operating right now.”

Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings spoke generally about court procedure. He said murder defendants are not entitled to a bond under state law, but they can request a hearing.

“I mean we have a number of murder defendants in our jail that since March when the rules changed and the courts,” Cummings said. “We stopped having trials and very few hearings for a number of months.”

Newby’s attorney doubts the other people allegedly in the group who initially approached Newby have been interviewed yet. He has questions for the prosecution.

“The prosecutors office could take an honest assessment of this case and look at the statements that have been taken, a deposition occurred today, and take a look at the evidence in this case and re-evaluate their position here,” Keiffner said.

Newby’s case is set to go to trial in September. All of those other crimes, including Beaty’s death, are unsolved.

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