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Suspects in beating face murder charges

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Jerome Walden was beaten so severely on June 24 that he went into a coma and never regained consciousness before he died Friday. The men charged in the beating will now face murder charges, prosecutors say.

Tracy L. Smith, 33, and Demarcus Dontravious Lewis, 20, remain in Dougherty County Jail on aggravated assault and battery charges in connection with the beating of Walden, said District Attorney Greg Edwards.

"We will be adding homicide charges to the aggravated assault charges," Edwards said. "Probably the charges will include felony murder and could include malice murder."

Tuesday evening, a third suspect -- Calvin Brooks -- was arrested, said Phyllis Banks, Albany Police Department spokeswoman. There was no other information available on Brooks, but Banks said police were seraching for a fourth suspect who they believe was involved in the beating.

In felony murder, a murder takes place during the commission of a felony, such as an aggravated assault, Edwards said. In general, it means the assailants did not set out to kill as part of the felony, but the victim died as a result of the felony being committed.

Malice murder occurs when assailants intend to kill, Edwards said.

The continuing investigation could prove intent to kill during the attack.

The initial police report stated that Walden was attacked with a board that had nails sticking out of it while he was in an alley on the 1200 block of West Highland Avenue. When officers arrived, Walden was unconscious.

Walden, 45, was taken to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital with swollen eyes, head and chest abrasions, a punctured lung, possible broken ribs and head trauma.

"He was taken to a hospice near Westover Boulevard from the hospital," Edwards said. "That is where he died."

Anyone with additional information should call Crime Stoppers at (229) 436-TIPS (8477) or investigations at (229) 431-3288. The Spanish speaking APD-COP Tip Line is (229) 434-2677.

Crime stoppers is an anonymous tipline. People with information could become eligible for cash rewards.