INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man who had been charged with the murder of four people and was set to go to trial on July 18 has had his murder charges dismissed after the deaths of two witnesses and the discovery that DNA evidence had been compromised.
Nicholas Dunn, 40, was arrested and charged with four counts of murder in connection to a 2015 quadruple homicide on the city’s near northwest side.
On March 24, 2015, the bodies of Terry Bettis, Sherri Taylor, Tiara Turner and Davon Whitlock were found in the front room of a residence located in the 3100 block of N. Harding Street.
According to court documents, Dunn was accused of entering the home in the morning hours of March 24 and holding the three women at gunpoint. Investigators said they believed that Dunn made the three women lure in Whitlock, who had been parked outside the home.
Once Whitlock was inside, Dunn was accused of shooting and killing all four victims.
Dunn was also alleged to have fled the murder scene in Whitlock’s vehicle. The vehicle was found give blocks from Dunn’s residence.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the murder charges against Dunn on Friday due to “significant evidentiary challenges.”
Two witnesses who were part of the State’s case against Dunn died before the trial could begin. The prosecutor’s office said one of the witnesses died on Dec. 4, 2021, due to health complications. The prosecutor’s office said this witness’s testimony had been “essential” in their case.
Another factor in the dismissal was DNA evidence found to be compromised and not admissible in court. The prosecutor’s office said Dunn’s DNA profile was found on a bottle and two cigarettes located within the home where the murders occurred. Dunn told investigators, however, that he’d been to the home on several occasions and the items were found to be circumstantial and not directly connected to the crime.
“The State relied on the DNA results when making its filing decision. During the pendency of the case, the State learned that the DNA results were compromised and not admissible,” the motion to dismiss stated.
Dunn was set to go to trial for the charges on Monday, July 18.
Family of the four victims found out Friday morning the charges were going to be dropped.
”For me, I’m just crying because I felt like what do we do now?” Rashia Whitlock said. She is the sister of Davon Whitlock.
Whitlock said her and other family memeber met with the prosecutor’s office Friday morning. They thought the meeting was about the upcoming trial, instead it was to break the news charges were going to be dropped.
”There was hollering, there was crying, I think the better word everyone felt was confusion,” Whitlock said.
Tiara Turner’s aunt April Richardson said she has been through a roller coaster of emotions.
”My emotions are all over, it feels like it just happened again,” she said. “All I can think about is my niece and my other family members, what they were going through on that tragic day.”
Now, the only thing between Dunn and being out from behind bars is a surety bond of $200,000 on a separate aggravated battery charge.
”He could be out as quick as today, you never know,” said Whitlock.
Though the muder charges against Dunn are dismissed, the investigation remains ongoing as the State plans to submit the DNA results for further testing.
Local attorney Ralph Staples said he thinks the prosecutor’s office is acting in good faith.
”When they see we can’t go forward, therefore we need to dismiss,” Staples said. “The case can always be refiled, there maybe an eye witness that could come forward later on.”
The prosecutor’s office also encouraged anyone with information about the quadruple homicide to come forward and contact IMPD or Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.
As the families wait for whatever comes next, they’re still holding onto hope.
”We’re not giving up and we’re going to keep trying to find more evidence to get him prosecuted for what he did to our family members,” Richardson said.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office was not available for an interview on Friday but did send a statement.
“Our thoughts are with the families during this unimaginably difficult time. The Prosecutor’s Office remains committed to pursuing justice on behalf of the victims and their families and strongly encourages anyone with information regarding these homicides to come forward,” said Michael Leffler with the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.