Docs: Indy murder suspect attacked man with a brick, stomped on his head
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A homeless Indianapolis man charged with the death of a man found severely injured near Monument Circle in 2021 beat the victim with a brick and stomped on his head, court papers say.
Markeiss Armstrong, 39, was arrested Thursday for the September 2021 murder of 34-year-old Atlas Wedlow Jr., the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department announced Monday.
Armstrong is accused of attacking Wedlow outside a parking garage on North Pennsylvania Street on Sept. 21, 2021, causing injuries that led to Wedlow’s death eight days later.
According to a probable cause affidavit, IMPD officers responding to a report of a possible person shot at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Ohio Streets just before 2 a.m. found Wedlow injured on the west sidewalk of North Pennsylvania Street.
“Mr. Wedlow had injuries to his face that were inconsistent with gunshot injuries,” Det. Dustin Keedy wrote in the probable cause affidavit. “Medics transported Wedlow to Eskenazi Hospital. Wedlow was tentatively identified by an Indiana ID card found in a pant pocket of the clothing found nearby.”
Officers began reviewing surveillance footage from a nearby office building and learned that the attack had been captured by security cameras.
Court papers say surveillance video from about an hour before the attack shows a man walking from East Ohio Street to North Pennsylvania Street while carrying a red and black bag. The man was later identified as Armstrong, according to police.
A few moments later, Wedlow is seen walking about 100 yards behind Armstrong.
Wedlow appeared to be yelling as he walked, which drew Armstrong’s attention, according to police.
Armstrong stopped and turned toward Wedlow before going to pick up a brick, court papers say.
“Armstrong walked to a nearby mobile parking sign, picked a large brick from the sign’s base, and continued walking south,” Keedy wrote.
The video shows Armstrong putting his red and black bag on the ground near the wall of the parking garage and hiding next to a pillar, police say.
As Wedlow approached Armstrong’s bag, he stopped and turned toward the wall, according to Keedy.
“Armstrong emerged from the void and hit Wedlow in the face with the brick while holding it. Wedlow fell back to the ground, motionless. Armstrong then stomped on Wedlow’s face and head and then kicked his face/head. Armstrong stood over Wedlow and spiked the brick into his face. The brick rolled to Wedlow’s feet. Armstrong walked around Wedlow and kicked him again,” Keedy wrote.
After the attack, Armstrong picked up his bag, kicked the brick toward the street, and walked away, leaving Wedlow bleeding on the sidewalk.
Wedlow lay on the ground for more than 10 minutes before he started to move, according to police. He was able to sit, but not stand up. Over the next hour, he crawled to the area where he was found by police after someone spotted him and called 911.
Wedlow was taken to the hospital, where a doctor advised relatives that his injuries did not appear to be caused by a fall.
Court papers say the doctor encouraged his sister to file a police report for assault, which officers handled several hours before Wedlow’s death on Sept. 29.
The Marion County Coroner’s Office determined at autopsy that Wedlow’s death was a homicide caused by blunt force trauma injuries to the head.
On Oct. 2, 2021, Det. Keedy sent photos and a video of Wedlow’s attacker to other IMPD officers and asked if anyone could identify him.
Within 25 minutes, two officers identified Armstrong as the suspect, court papers say.
One of the officers said Armstrong “always had a bag with him when encountered, and further explained that Mr. Armstrong wears glasses where the right arm of the glasses are broken, matching the glasses in the photos,” according to Keedy.
On Oct. 15, 2021, Armstrong was arrested at a Greyhound bus station in Washington, D.C. During his arrest, court papers say he told police he was from Indianapolis and had arrived in the area the week before. The next known time he returned to Indianapolis was in Nov. 2021, according to Keedy.
The investigation into Wedlow’s murder continued into the spring of 2022. On March 26, Armstrong was arrested for fighting with “multiple people” inside Circle Centre Mall in an incident not related to Wedlow’s death, court papers say.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office issued a warrant for Armstrong’s arrest on Dec. 21, 2022, and he was arrested for murder the next day.
The probable cause affidavit did not say if the two men were known to each other before the attack and a possible motive was not provided.
Armstrong was being held Tuesday in the Marion County Jail without bond.
A pretrial conference is set for February with a jury trial scheduled to begin in March.