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Marion County Jail inmates charged in fellow inmate's death

An autopsy ruled 38-year-old Martin Cruz's death as a homicide due to multiple blunt force traumatic injuries.
Credit: barbraford - stock.adobe.com

INDIANAPOLIS — Several people are now facing murder charges after the death of an accused child molester at Marion County Jail in October of 2020.

Martin Cruz had been in custody at the jail since July 23, 2020 on the following charges:

  • Three counts of child molesting — Level 1 felony
  • One count of child molesting — Level 4 felony
  • Two counts of dissemination of harmful materials to minors — Level 6 felony

On Oct. 10, 2020, jail deputies found Cruz lying face down in the middle of a community-style jail cell around 10:15 p.m. with what appeared to be blood under his head.

According to arrest documents, there were 29 inmates in the jail cell at the time of the incident. Many of the inmates said they saw others beating Cruz up but refused to speak to investigators, fearing they'd face retaliation.

One day later, an inmate spoke with a detective about the incident. He said shortly before it happened, another inmate told him "it's about to go down" because Cruz was a child molester. 

The inmate reportedly told the detective that the beating lasted for two hours. He said other inmates kicked and yelled at Cruz, threatening to kill him if he made any noise. He also said they beat tied Cruz up, shoved his head in a toilet and poured bleach on him. He described the inmates "jumping as high as they could and stomping on his head."

The inmate who talked to detectives said he avoided the area because he didn't want to be caught up or involved with the beating. He said at one point after the beating was over, a guard walked past but missed Cruz, who was lying in the middle of the floor.

RELATED: Homicide investigation underway after accused molester dies from apparent jail assault

RELATED: Inmate dies at Marion County Jail

Another inmate from the same cell block spoke with the detective on Oct. 16, 2020. According to court documents, this inmate said a fellow inmate told others Cruz was a child molester and initiated the deadly beating. He also identified other inmates involved in the beating, and recalled similar events during the incident as the first inmate who spoke with the detective.

An autopsy ruled Cruz's death as a homicide due to multiple blunt force traumatic injuries. The autopsy report revealed 18 different head injuries, a dislocation in his neck, a fractured sternum, 10 fractured ribs, and lacerations to various organs.

The following people were named in the probable cause affidavit as being involved in the incident:

  • Kavon Donaldson
  • Clayton Hagan
  • Delance Hatcher
  • Jaylen Ryle
  • Jeremy Satisfield
  • David Sparks
  • Gamron Tedford
  • Lasean Watkins

Multiple other defendants, whose names were sealed, are also mentioned in documents.