Indianapolis, IN – Although charged with murder, an Indiana judge found Tyler Newby guilty of reckless homicide for killing unarmed teenager Dorian Murrell during the George Floyd Uprising on May 31, 2020 in downtown Indianapolis. The family of Murrell says Newby’s conviction is “a step in the right direction,” but the “decision from the judge of a lesser charge going against evidence and statements that support murder is concrete proof of systemic racism in the court system of Indianapolis.”
“Tyler Newby and Anthony Eads were looking for trouble. They went to a protest with a firearm to cause trouble. They both then lied to cover up the truth about the murder and details of the crime.”Statement from the family of Dorian Murrell
The family of Dorian Murrell, who was Black, pointed to several inconsistencies on the part of the prosecution and courts in which they claim Newby, who is white, received preferential treatment. “From the start of this case there has been problem after problem when dealing with the Prosecutor’s Office,” said the family. Read their full statement here.
Newby came into Indianapolis with a friend from his home in the Indiana suburbs armed with a gun during a fiery night of racially charged mass protests. At some point around 2 a.m., Newby was pushed to ground by someone and he shot the nearest person to him. That person happened to be unarmed 18-year-old Dorian Murrell, who died on Market Street a few hundred feet from Monument Circle.
Newby turned himself in to police a few hours later and claimed self-defense. He has been out of jail on a controversial bond since Aug. 2020 until being remanded to custody after Judge Angela Dow Davis convicted him of reckless homicide on Oct. 17, 2022. Newby is slated to be sentenced on Nov. 10, 2022.
It’s taken nearly 30 months for this case to be decided upon, and since Newby was detained and charged with murder on June 4, 2020, over a dozen hearings and jury trials have been canceled and rescheduled.
Weeks before a scheduled August 2021 trial, an additional charge of voluntary manslaughter was given to Newby. The new charge caused the Aug. 2021 trial date to be moved to October, when a jury trial finally commenced. Murrell family advocate Mmoja Ajabu called it a “kangaroo court.” Ajabu, the first Black Panther Party member in Indiana decades ago, said that the trial was “designed to get Tyler Newby free from murder.”
The Oct. 2021 jury trial ended in a hung jury with a 6-6 decision. The family says the trial “was fumbled” with the Marion County prosecutors “not properly present[ing] evidence of all charges.”
This past summer, the new jury trial date set for July 5, 2022 was rescheduled to August 2, however before the trial could begin, the state’s request to waive a jury trial was granted and a bench trial was scheduled. Bench trials are presided over by one judge who makes the ruling, rather than a jury.
The bench trial took place on Oct. 17, 2022, with Judge Davis finding Newby guilty the same day of the lesser charges of reckless homicide, a level 5 felony which carries a sentence of 1-6 years in prison. Murrell’s family said they doubt Newby will “get the maximum penalty of six years.”
“The life of Dorian Murrell was stolen and is worth more than a maximum of six years.”Family of Dorian Murrell
On the other hand, sentencing decisions for murder convictions in Indiana are usually hefty with the guidelines calling for 45-65 years in prison, life with no parole, and even the death penalty. Murder charges in Indiana are classified in the homicide category, which is also where reckless homicide is placed, along with voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
“The ongoing problems and unusual handling of this case has caused us to raise multiple complaints of concerns during this two-year litigation process. There is key evidence that will convict Tyler Newby and Anthony Eads of Murder; evidence that the prosecutor did not use or represent during trial.”Family of Dorian Murrell
Even with a lesser conviction than they had hoped for, the family still has gratitude in their hearts. To celebrate Dorian Murrell’s life and to give thanks to their supporters over the last two years, the family is planning a balloon release on November 10 at 5 p.m. near the place he was killed in Indianapolis’ Monument Circle.
“He was an awesome kid … He could walk into the room and light it up with his smile,” said Artonia Armstrong, the grandmother of Dorian Murrell. Armstrong said, “When you lose someone you love, it doesn’t get easier, you just learn to live with it.”
Last summer, Unicorn Riot heard from Dorian’s cousin Corey about the inconsistencies in the case, and we later visited Indianapolis, when Murrell’s family and advocates held a press conference in front of the courthouse. On another day, we covered an open carry march demanding justice for Dorian.
Unicorn Riot's Coverage of Dorian Murrell - Killed by Tyler Newby:
- Tyler Newby Sentenced to One Year Home Detention for Killing Dorian Murrell - November 15, 2022
- Dorian Murrell’s Family Call Lesser Conviction of His Killer ‘Concrete Proof of Systemic Racism’ - October 28, 2022
- Tyler Newby Trial for Killing Unarmed Teen Ends in Hung Jury - November 30, 2021
- Open Carry March for Teenager Killed in Downtown Indy - August 23, 2021
- Charge Added to Dorian Murrell’s Alleged Killer as Family Speaks Out - July 23, 2021
- Dorian Murrell: Killed During George Floyd Protests, Family Seeks Answers - July 5, 2021
Statement from Dorian Murrell’s Family Responding to Reckless Homicide Conviction of Tyler Newby
We the family of Dorian Murrell would like to release our response to the lesser conviction of Reckless Homicide and not Murder of Dorian Murrell.
From the start of this case there has been problem after problem when dealing with the Prosecutor’s Office about this case. The first trial was fumbled and Prosecutors did not properly present evidence of all charges during trial to convict Tyler Newby, and in October of 2021 the trial was declared a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict.
There has been multiple biased decisions made in favor of Tyler Newby beginning with him receiving a Bond for Murder in the State of Indiana. The ongoing problems and unusual handling of this case has caused us to raise multiple complaints of concerns during this two-year litigation process.
There is key evidence that will convict Tyler Newby and Anthony Eads of Murder; evidence that the Prosecutor did not use or represent during trial. Being found guilty is a step in the right direction but Tyler Newby and Anthony Eads were looking for trouble. They went to a protest with a firearm to cause trouble. They both then lied to cover up the truth about the murder and details of the crime.
This decision from the judge of a lesser charge going against evidence and statements that support murder is concrete proof of systemic racism in the court system of Indianapolis. The life of Dorian Murrell was stolen and is worth more than a maximum of six years. We now have doubt that Tyler Newby will even get the maximum penalty of six years at sentencing on November 10, 2022.
We the family would like to thank everyone for their support and efforts to get #JusticeforDorian over the last two years.