INDIANAPOLIS – A jury acquitted a man in connection with a 2022 murder case.
Jurors found Erik Hale not guilty this week on charges of murder, aggravated battery, criminal recklessness and unlawful carrying of a handgun, according to court records.
Hale, 39, had been charged in the death of 52-year-old Pamela J. Garruto. She was one of two people found shot at the intersection of East 34th Street and Brouse Avenue on Sept. 11, 2022.
Garruto died at the scene while the second individual was taken to an area hospital. Garruto was the girlfriend of Hale’s roommate, according to investigators.
The shooting happened while Hale was supposed to be on GPS monitoring in a separate case. However, he failed to report to Marion County Community Corrections and was not being monitored.
Investigators were able to track Hale’s phone to Switz City in Greene County in the days after the shooting. He stayed with a woman and eventually stole her truck in Speedway, police said. Investigators located the truck and placed a tracker on it; the vehicle ended up at a salvage yard.
Police later used Hale’s cellphone to track him to a gas station and arrested him without incident on Oct. 4. He changed his story multiple times during questioning, eventually telling police he was “homeless and travels around a lot.” He was unable to provide a sold alibi, according to court documents.
Hale’s father told police his son showed up at his home on Sept. 14 and told him he’d killed Garruto. Hale’s father also told police his son had called him shortly after the shooting and asked him to “pray with him.”
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office filed formal charges against Hale in October 2022.
The three-week manhunt for Hale involved the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Marshals and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.