SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) – Police have made an arrest in the May 24 murder of Max Levine, 25, of Kokomo.
Officials say Avory Johnson, 19, was taken into custody Monday in Hurst, Texas. He was first arrested shortly after the May shooting, but released after police dropped charges on May 28.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office declined to file charges at that time because several witnesses were not kept separately from each other.
Detectives with the Speedway Police Department kept working the case, and formally charged Johnson on August 20.
For victim Max Levine’s family, they say to hear news of an arrest, is a relief.
“My husband and I were relieved,” said Linda Bickel, Levine’s grandmother. “I was just a little teary with relief.”
“Nothing is ever going to bring Max back or replace him, but this helps. It helps explain things to his daughter, and she’s the important one,” Bickel added.
“We’ve just been trying to keep our hopes up and hope for the best, but I don’t know,” said Victoria Levine, Max’s sister. “When something like that happens… we just want justice.”
According to the probable cause, detectives interviewed multiple witnesses in the area of W. 30th and Georgetown Road that night. They told police they saw two groups fighting in the Coke Lot.
Others told police they saw a man they identified as Avory Johnson get ‘slammed onto the ground.’ They then told police the same man got up, ran about 10-15 feet from the brawl, then fired shots in the direction of the altercation.
According to court documents, Johnson told police he didn’t fire the shots.
“I feel sorry for his parents too, for the shooter’s parents, for his family,” said Bickel. “They must be going through a lot too.”
“If he had known Max, he would have never been able to kill him. Max was a friend to everybody. We’re only just beginning to see that. There were so many people who loved him, and who miss him,” Bickel added. “It’s really, really hard to believe this happened.”
Bickel said, they’re also grateful to the Speedway Police Department and the detectives, for the work they did in this case.
Levine’s mother, Janice, released a statement Tuesday evening. It reads, “With the charges against the murderer of my son, Max Levine, having been filed, our family and Max’s many friends have someone to hold responsible for his life being taken from us all. This will not bring Max’s smile, laughter, love, caring ways, and congenial personality back to the hundreds upon hundreds of family members and friends his murder has effected. His daughter will have difficulty remembering him picking her up and hugging her, the way Max smelled, his presence. The experience of sharing Maddison’s entire life with her dad was taken from both Max and her. I have been devastated by the loss of my son, as have Max’s grandparents, his brother, sister, uncles, aunts and cousins. Our lives without Max are completely changed without his love, thoughtfulness and care. Max’s friends, our families friends, through their grief, have been encouraging to my family and continue to help us through this entire time of grief. I want to thank everyone for their thoughtfulness and prayers. I have the up most faith in God serving some kind of justice for all of us, through the court system. I would like to thank Detective Lauren Roemke of the Speedway Police Department for her diligent work in solving this case. I know she has spent many sleepless hours on this case. My heart and prayers also go out to the family and loved ones of Avory Johnson. I cannot imagine how his mother must feel. The hurt and pain caused to countless lives from this one senseless momentary act of violence is unbelievable.”