Man wanted for murder arrested after 3 years on the run

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (IUSTV News) — Police have arrested a Greenwood man who was wanted for his role in an October 2020 fatal shooting in Bloomington.

Malik Bennett, 28, is in custody at the Monroe County Jail, more than three years after a warrant was issued for his arrest in January 2021.

Bennett and two other men—Jamal McFadden, and Keshawn Bass—were charged with murder and robbery, for the death of 26-year-old Damon Brown.

Police say Bass is the one who shot and killed Brown while robbing him at gunpoint during a marijuana deal. In 2023, he was convicted on all charges and handed 60 years without the possibility of parole.

McFadden was convicted of all charges in 2022 and handed an 86-year sentence before an appeal was granted which lowered the sentence to 56 years.

Bennett had an initial hearing in court on Wednesday. A pretrial conference is set for May 16.

If convicted, Bennett could face between 45 to 65 years for the murder charge, and 10 to 30 years for the robbery charge, according to Indiana Sentencing Guidelines.

According to court documents, at around 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 26, 2020, police responded to a reported shooting at the trailer park off Willis Drive. When police arrived, they found Damon Brown with gunshot wounds and transported him to a hospital where he later died.

After obtaining a search warrant, police entered the trailer and found 10 shell casings along with bullet holes in and around the door and a pool of blood in the living room.

At the scene, police interviewed several witnesses and obtained surveillance video footage from a trailer across the street. In the footage, police observed a white car pull up in front of the trailer where the shooting occurred and three men got out of the car and entered the trailer.

Court documents say they were inside for 10 minutes before two ran out the front porch and a third ran out from the back of the trailer.

Detectives later spoke with a witness, who said Damon called him before the shooting because “he was about to sell some weed to some guys that he was not comfortable with.” During the drug deal, Damon had reportedly gone to the back room and when he came back, two of the men were holding handguns, and at one point Damon told the men to “just take [the weed]” before someone shot him in his side.

According to court documents, the car seen in the footage was reported stolen out of Indianapolis. During the investigation, McFadden called police to report it was his vehicle that was stolen.

In an interview with police, McFadden said his car was stolen from a gas station in Indy while he was getting a haircut. However, after police looked at the surveillance video from the gas station and talked with the barber, they were unable to prove the car had been stolen.

Police obtained a search warrant for the phone number McFadden called both Indianapolis Police to report the car stolen and when he called Bloomington detectives. Court documents say cell records showed McFadden’s phone was in the Bloomington area at the time of the homicide. The phone then reportedly returned to Indianapolis where McFadden called 911 to report his car as stolen.

McFadden was arrested on Oct. 28, 2020, when he showed up at the Bloomington Police Department to try and pick up the vehicle.

Court documents say that police used the cell record data obtained from McFadden’s phone, as well as a photo lineup and other investigations to tie Keshawn Bass to the murder, which police arrested at his girlfriend’s house on Nov. 24, 2020.

Malik Bennett was identified as the third person involved in the case after Bennett and his lawyer called the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office in November 2020. Court documents say Bennett admitted to being the third person in the car seen in the surveillance video and wanted to give a statement about his involvement.

Detectives met with Bennett and his lawyer in Indianapolis on Nov. 19, 2020, for a recorded interview. Bennett told investigators that he was only at Brown’s trailer to buy marijuana and that Bess pulled a gun and started demanding money and the marijuana.

When shots were fired, Bennett said that he ran out the front door and claimed he never had a gun or was a part of the robbery. However, the witness who initially talked to police confirmed that Bennett was the only person who “didn’t have dread locks,” and that Bennett was the one who pointed a gun at him during the robbery.

The arrest warrant was issued on Jan. 27, 2021, and Bennett was not arrested until March 12, 2023.