INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — At least seven people have been charged with murder in the fatal beating of an inmate at the Marion County jail.
Martin Cruz, 38, died in October while in custody on child molestation charges, allegations that might have fueled the attack by other inmates, the Indianapolis Star reported Wednesday.
Court documents obtained by the newspaper describe an organized assault against Cruz, who was kicked and beaten. His head was shoved into a toilet. An autopsy found numerous injuries, including broken ribs and a dislocated neck.
The suspects charged in the case are: Kavon Donaldson, Clayton Hagan, Delance Hatcher, Jaylen Ryle, Jeremy Satisfield, David Sparks and Gamron Tedford.
All were charged with murder except for Satisfield, who was charged with aggravated battery.
An internal investigation is pending.
There were at least two dozen inmates in the community-style cell block at the time. Many said they witnessed the attack but declined to talk to police.
Cruz had been in custody for about three months. He denied the charges.
The Marion County Sheriff’s office issued this statement:
We thank the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, MCSO Criminal Division, and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for their thorough investigation into the October 10, 2020 murder of Martin Cruz. Factors including the pandemic have resulted in the Marion County Jail housing an extraordinary number of inmates charged with murder, over 180 in total. In June of 2019, that number was 124, nearly sixty fewer. We look forward to the opening of the new Adult Detention Center in January and believe that with modern correctional architecture and cutting-edge technology, violence in the jail will be reduced. In the interim, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office remains committed to keeping both inmates and staff safe from harm.