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Family to conduct vigil

ALBANY — Family members of a deceased crime victim are holding a candlelight vigil Sunday to honor his memory.

A vigil for Jerome Walden will be held at 7:30 p.m. on the one-year anniversary of the beating that led to his death in the alley of Poplar Street and Highland Avenue, the site where he was found, officials with the Albany Police Department said on behalf of the family.

Walden was beaten there on June 24, 2011. He was sent to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital for a few weeks before succumbing to his injuries while in hospice care, officials said.

Since the incident, one man has been arrested and convicted on aggravated assault and aggravated battery charges, and two others are waiting to be tried on those charges. Tracy Lashawn Smith, Demarcus Dontravious Lewis and Calvin Brooks were indicted in September for felony murder, aggravated assault and aggravated battery after being suspected of being among a group of men who beat Walden with a board that had nails sticking out of it.

Police responded to the scene on the day of the incident to reports of a man down and found Walden unconscious. Initial reports from witnesses stated he was beaten by the suspects after having been chased through a house.

Walden was sent to the hospital with injuries including swollen eyes, head and chest abrasions — including a punctured lung — and possible broken ribs and head trauma.

The three men are now waiting to be tried on the murder charge. Jurors deadlocked on that charge during Smith’s trial in December, and Dougherty Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette declared a mistrial.