IMPD officer maintains innocence of attempted murder, domestic battery charges

Ofc. Justin Beaton
An Indianapolis police officer arrested Friday for attempted murder, domestic battery and other charges maintained his innocence during his first court hearing Monday.

Ofc. Justin Beaton was taken into custody by IMPD's Special Investigation Unit on preliminary charges of attempted murder, domestic battery in the physical presence of a child, pointing a firearm and obstruction of justice - all felonies. He has been in custody in lieu of $300,000 bond ever since.

Beaton's attorney requested a second hearing for Wednesday to potentially lower that bond amount. Regardless of the final amount, if Beaton makes bail, he will stay in home detention with a GPS and alcohol monitoring and remain under a no contact order involving both the victim and all witnesses involved in the case.

No family members were in court for Monday's court hearing.

Investigators say Beaton fired a blank round at his live-in girlfriend's head while their 7-month-old baby was in the room. The incident happened last August, according to court documents. A neighbor had called 911 to say they saw blood all over the couple's driveway. Nikki Payne was hospitalized after the incident and investigators claim Beaton forced her to lie and say her injuries happened in an accident.

Court documents show a trail of complaints against Ofc. Beaton. In January and February 2014, Beaton was accused of pointing a gun at his then-pregnant girlfriend.

Payne's family has since moved all her belongings out of the house the couple once shared.

"I'm proud of my daughter. She's scared, but I'm glad she turned him in," said Payne's mother, Diana Skojac.

Payne went to police this week to recant the story she told investigators in August after she ended up in the hospital with severe facial injuries.

"I was worried, but I just couldn't get her to come to and when somebody doesn't tell you the truth, then it's sad," said Skojac.

Now investigators say the truth is out, alleging Beaton shot Payne with a blank round as she stood outside the front door of their home.

Eyewitness News was there when Beaton, his father and grandfather - all IMPD officers - were recognized by the department for three generations of serving on the force. Payne's mother said there was another side to Beaton, though, that came out when he drank.

"He was a manipulator that you thought he was an excellent guy, but he could get over on you, 'But Justin's not like that'," said Skojac.

When she got home, Payne told investigators Beaton's drinking continued with him threatening to take their son away if she told police what really happened.

"My daughter was breaking down and she was having a nervous break-down and going crazy because of his drinking and his threats and she couldn't take it anymore," Skojac explained.

Payne told police this week, "I get scared honestly that he's probably gonna try to kill me."

With Beaton's arrest, that fear is over.

"It's like an elephant lifted off of her shoulder. She can sleep now at night, until hopefully he doesn't get out," said Skojac.

Ofc. Beaton has been with IMPD for nine years and is currently assigned to the operations division of the East District. He has been suspended without pay, pending termination.

His attorney said when Beaton gets his day in court, he will prove he is innocent and expects to go back to the force to continue his family's three generations of service at IMPD.

That day in court will come May 5 at 9:00 a.m.