Second murder suspect charged

GREENFIELD — Prosecutors have filed charges against a second suspect they believe was involved in the murder of a McCordsville man.

Damian Coleman, 39, an accused Indianapolis drug dealer, was with 55-year-old Shannon Kitchens when the McCordsville resident was shot and killed March 1, according to court documents.

Kitchens’ body was found by a passerby hours later off the side of a rural McCordsville road.

Coleman now faces the same murder charges as Shawn Hammons, Kitchens’ friend whom prosecutors charged Monday; investigators said the pair conspired to kill Kitchens and steal the man’s money during a drug deal.

Coleman’s charges are two counts of murder; a Level 3 felony count of attempt to commit robbery while armed; a Level 3 felony count of conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in bodily injury; a Level 3 felony count of attempt to deal cocaine; and a Level 3 felony count of conspiracy to deal cocaine.

Coleman currently is being held in the Marion County Jail on an unrelated burglary charge. Officials said he likely will be transferred to Hancock County for a court appearance soon. An initial hearing had not been set at press time, officials said.

Hammons, 40, of Pendleton, told police Coleman pulled a gun on him and Kitchens while the two were trying to purchase crack cocaine, court documents state.

Kitchens recently had received a check for more than $14,000 and had that money with him when he was killed, police said.

Text messages Coleman and Hammons exchanged suggest robbery was the motive for the murder: “I want his money,” one text message read, while another asked if Coleman had a pistol, court records state.

Hammons told police he drove Kitchens to a Check ‘n Go in Lawrence so Kitchens could cash a $14,000 check. The pair arranged for Coleman to meet them there with drugs, court documents state.

Kitchens cashed the check, climbed into the front passenger seat of Hammons’ car with Coleman in the backseat, court documents state.

Hammons said Coleman pulled a gun, there was a scuffle, and Kitchens was shot, court documents state. Blood was later found in Hammons’ vehicle, police said.

Coleman called a friend and told him about the attack but said he, like Kitchens, was a victim, court documents state.

One witness said Coleman called him looking for Hammons the day after Kitchens’ death. Coleman said he and Hammons had robbed an older man; during the robbery, someone started hitting Coleman over the head and Coleman jumped from the car, court documents state.

Hammons pleaded not guilty Monday to each of the charges against him, and a judge ordered him to remain in the Hancock County Jail without bond.

Prosecutors said a warrant has been issued for Coleman’s arrest. He had not yet been transferred to Hancock County at press time.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.