Baton Rouge police arrested a man Wednesday in the beating death of a 31-year-old man in a vacant home last week.
Police booked Jeremy Brown, 28, 2727 Osceola St., into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on a count of second-degree murder, Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a police spokesman, said.
Authorities said Brown and Shaun Hartley, 31, had some type of argument before the beating, in which Hartley, 2424 Madison Ave., suffered blunt-force trauma to the head, neck and torso.
Detectives do not expect to make any other arrests in the case, nor do they believe Hartley’s death had anything to do with his serving as a key witness in the upcoming murder trial of Shingo J. Edwards, McKneely said.
According to police reports, Edwards is accused of fatally shooting Keith Matthews inside a vehicle in January.
Hartley, who at one time lived with Edwards, said he overheard the shooting and saw Edwards flee from the shooting scene, the reports say. Once Edwards found out, he repeatedly threatened to kill Hartley if Hartley told police about the shooting, police documents show.
When Hartley told investigators in March what he knew about the shooting, he asked to be placed in the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Victim Assistance Program, police records show.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III confirmed Wednesday that Hartley did receive benefits and services from the program at the time, but said he could not go into detail about those services.
Moore also said he’s been told by police detectives that Hartley’s death had nothing to do with him being a witness.
Hartley’s death came a week after he was released from Parish Prison, where he had been held for more than a month after a prostitution arrest.
A spokeswoman for Hartley’s family said she does not believe something as petty as an argument would have led to Hartley’s gruesome death.
“I do believe that it’s not a coincidence,” said Juanita Bates-Washington, Hartley’s aunt. “He was a witness in a criminal murder trial and he’s dead today, within five days after his release.”