IMPD cold case hinges on killer witness

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- IMPD Cold Case detectives are frustrated with their investigation into a 2006 murder because their best witness was just convicted of killing a toddler.

The death of Mark Grooms is the latest case to be profiled on Indy’s Unsolved.

It was the day after Labor Day ten years ago when Mark Grooms, 35, was gunned down as he stepped outside of a liquor store at 1101 Burdsal Parkway.

“They were inside the liquor store, my brother and the associates he walked to the liquor store with,” said Markia Saunders.  “I heard the associates come out first, then my brother comes out last and then I heard a red vehicle pull up and shots rings out and they said that my brother was hit.”

The associates ran as Grooms fell dead in the parking lot, but one of them gave the shooter’s name to police.

“They state he’s not a credible witness so we can’t take his statement into consideration,” said Saunders, “but they know.”

With the witness’ own recent conviction for murder, IMPD investigators need a more reliable source.

“Somebody knows more than they’re saying,” said Grooms’ mother Artricia Saxton.

Grooms’ friends had been involved in a dispute during a backyard cookout hours before the victim arrived on the scene.

“I was told the fight was about something regarding a young woman,” said Saunders.

The witness told police the killer was one of the men the group fought.

Saxton said she hadn’t heard from her son all day but unknowingly watched news coverage that night of his killing.

“I didn’t know until about 45 minutes later,” she said. “I didn’t have a working phone at that time and my eldest daughter came to my house and told me and I’m like, ‘Lord, is this really real? I actually saw this.’ I mean, it was breaking news and it was my child….but he got caught up. For whatever reason it was, he got caught up.

“This is something that should’ve been solved because there’s too many people involved.”

Saunders said the death of a brother with whom she shares a partial name sometimes still leaves her sometimes paralyzed with depression.

“Not only has it happened to my family,” she said, “it has happened to others and it is still happening to others.”

IMPD’s Cold Case squad has recently reopened the killing of Mark Grooms and has begun reaching out to witnesses to the unsolved murder of ten years ago.

If you know anything that could help close this case, call Crime Stoppers at 262-TIPS.

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