Crime Watch 8

Docs: Man charged with reckless homicide after leaving drunk woman in snow

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis man has been charged with reckless homicide after police say he was seen dragging a drunk woman out of a car and leaving her in the snow where she froze to death in February.

Justin Holman, 36, of Indianapolis, was charged with reckless homicide in June.

Police were called to the 9900 block of East 38th Street just before 2 a.m. on Feb. 19 on reports of an unresponsive person. When they arrived to the scene, they found Shanel Smith, 50, dead in the snow.

Authorities say Holman was seen on surveillance video on the afternoon of Feb. 18 driving a vehicle behind the laundromat in the area. A suspect matching Holman’s description was seen dragging Smith out of a rear passenger seat and leaving her in the snow, according to court documents.

The suspect was also seen tossing Smith’s belongings, including her jacket, hat and gloves, out of the car before driving away.

Smith was seen on video moving her legs and arms for several minutes after she was left in the snow. About two hours later she was seen sitting up and trying to move before she laid back down, court documents show.

Smith was in the snow for approximately 10 hours before she was found.

Investigators were able to identify the vehicle in the surveillance video and trace it back to Holman.

Holman was then brought in for questioning and he admitted to hanging out and drinking with Smith during the day on Feb. 18. According to court documents, he also admitted to dragging her out of the car because she “fell asleep and he needed to get home.”

Holman told investigators he didn’t remember why he decided to pull around the back of the laundromat and leave Smith in the snow or why he decided not to leave her in front of the 24-hour laundromat where people were.

On April 29, Smith’s death was ruled a homicide caused by environmental cold overexposure. Her blood alcohol content was .297, more than three times the legal limit.

Holman has since bonded out of jail. His jury trial is scheduled for October.

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