Suspect charged with murder in Flora beating death of man who responded to dating app

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FLORA, Ind. — Willie Smith was 55, his kidneys were failing and his family said he was beginning the process of signing up for an organ transplant.

Instead, Smith’s organs were donated on Father’s Day after his death as the result of a beating in Flora last week.

Jannette Smith said she was told by investigators that her father withdrew $120 from an ATM in Lafayette last Tuesday and traveled to Carroll County to meet a woman.

Willie was discovered in a house suffering from head injuries.

Tyrone Leftridge, of Lafayette, has been charged with murder, aggravated assault and robbery.

Jannette said Leftridge called her family from jail Friday and denied killing her father. She said Leftridge pointed the finger at two women who he said were with him at the time of the robbery.

Court documents show Leftridge eventually admitted to police what happened. He allegedly told police the plan was to lure Smith to the location. When Smith arrived, Leftridge was hiding behind a garage. He reportedly heard another man attack him. At that time Leftridge told police he wanted to leave the police station. He was detained shortly after.

The next morning, police listened to a phone call between Leftridge and an inmate in which he allegedly admitted “he had hit the guy with a baseball bat because he had a knife.”

Police spoke with a woman who told them Leftridge used a social media app called MeetMe to set up a situation where she would have sex with a man for $80, but she told him she was not a prostitute and was not going to have sex.

When the man arrived, expecting to have sex, she informed him he was not going to and said the man was not rude about it and did not touch her. She did not see any weapons.

At some point, Leftridge came funning out from behind a garage and hit the man with a baseball bat, according to court documents. The woman turned and ran away and Leftridge later showed up with cash, a wallet and a cell phone.

An autopsy showed Smith died from blunt force trauma to the head “from an injury sustained by Leftridge during the commission of the robbery,” according to court documents.

Jannette said her father lived long enough after the attack to have his organs donated.

“He was a great guy. He didn’t deserve this, but in this, he is a hero. He did donate, he did save two peoples’ lives today, and hopefully he’ll be able to save a few more, and he didn’t deserve this.”

Leftridge had an initial hearing in Carroll County Circuit Court Monday afternoon.

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