I-Team 8

Judge lowers bond for IMPD officer accused of shooting girlfriend

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An IMPD Officer charged with the attempted murder of his girlfriend may get out of jail if he’s able to pay a reduced bond.

Judge Lisa Borges agreed to lower the bond of IMPD Officer Justin Beaton from $300,000 to $50,000 surety plus $2,500 cash. According to his attorney Jack Crawford, if Beaton is able to front $7,500, he could be set free but would have to wear a GPS ankle monitor that tracks his whereabouts and undergo alcohol monitoring.

Beaton is charged with attempted murder, domestic battery, pointing a firearm and obstruction of justice. Those charges stem from an August 2014 incident in which Beaton is accused of shooting his live-in girlfriend through a glass door with what she thought were blank rounds.

“Officer Beaton is looking forward to his trial. And we’re pleased that conditions were drawn to allow him to post a bond. It’s difficult because of his lack of employment.” Beaton’s attorney Jack Crawford told reporters Wednesday.

Officer Beaton, a ten-year veteran of the force, has been in jail since Friday following his arrest.

Crawford said he was notified Wednesday morning by IMPD of a termination hearing for Officer Beaton. When asked if he would fight Officer Beaton from being fired from the department, Crawford declined to comment.

Beaton’s personnel file, obtained by I-Team 8, showed that he has several awards and letters of commendation since joining the department. But last year, he was suspended for two days without pay for a violation of departmental policies. The allegations surrounding that suspension is unclear.

In court Wednesday, Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Arvin argued against Beaton’s bond being lowered, saying the victim is afraid of Beaton, his alcohol use and that fact that his Indianapolis home is a mile and a half away from where she is currently living.

During Wednesday’s proceeding, the victim sat in court, flanked by family members. At times, she was visibly shaking. She and her family members left without speaking to reporters and hiding her face from cameras.

When asked if his reduced bond was a concern, the victim’s family members declined to comment.

Arvin, however, did weigh in.

“It’s concerning in all cases. It’s concerning anytime we might have someone who might be released and be out and we’ve had an incident like this,” Arvin said.

In court, Beaton did admit to struggling with alcohol.

“I believe I struggle with alcohol,” Beaton said, adding that he has since sobered up.

On cross examination, Arvin said, “Since Friday? When all those bottles were pulled from your house?”

Beaton replied: “No, before that.”

According to the probable cause affidavit, the woman says that on Aug. 30, 2014 Beaton began drinking around noon and wanted to go to the “gun show that was at the fairgrounds.”

The records go on to state that the woman says once Beaton “sobered up enough,” he drove his police car to the gun show where he purchased a .38 special handgun. The two then discussed going swimming at a relatives’ home but instead stopped by the house they shared because she claims Beaton wanted to “check out this gun” and “was pulling blanks out of the closest and he wanted to shoot off the gun.”

The court records go on to state that the woman says she was standing on the front porch smoking when, “I looked up at the glass door and the barrel of the gun was there and then the next thing I know I had like a real odd ringing in my ear and I couldn’t hear and I fell backwards…  I was bleeding and said ‘you just shot me.'”

A detective and physician later determined that the woman had in fact suffered a gunshot injury, the court records state.

When asked by authorities why she changed her story, the woman said “she couldn’t do it no more” and went on to accuse Beaton of drinking heavily and chasing her around the house last week, demanding the return of a bottle of alcohol she reportedly took from him. The woman claims she returned the bottle to Beaton and left the house.

Beaton and the woman have a seven-month old child together. Judge Borges issued a no contact order for the child, the victim and her relatives, meaning Beaton is not to have any contact with them. If released, Beaton will likely stay with his aunt and uncle, Mark Swearingen, an attorney, who testified he would feel comfortable with Beaton living with him and his wife in another county.