Man who beat ‘mentally slow’ man to death with microwave sentenced

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The man who beat a “harmless” Fort Wayne man to death with a microwave at a west-side motel has been sentenced.

Justin D. Littlejohn on Friday was sentenced to 85 years for the Dec. 28 murder of Randy Lee Dial inside a room at the Economy Inn at 3340 W. Coliseum Blvd. A judge ordered Littlejohn serve 65 years for the murder and another 20 years because he was found to be a habitual offender.

Fort Wayne Police and medics were called before 5 p.m. that late December day to the hotel, and arrived to find Dial badly beaten. He was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. He would die a day later.

The Allen County Coroner’s Office said Dial died of blunt force injuries to the head. Just after the coroner’s office released its ruling, the Fort Wayne Police Department announced it had arrested LittleJohn.

A witness told investigators he saw Littlejohn punch Dial, the renter of the hotel room who one witness described as “mentally slow,” in the face at least twice, according to a probable cause affidavit. Another witness said he saw Littlejohn walk into the hotel room Dial was in, unplug a microwave in the room and beat Dial with it on the head, then punch him five times, the affidavit said. That witness said Dial went to the bathroom to clean up but kept falling, the affidavit said.

One witness told police she was in the room when Littlejohn came in, “in a bad mood,” the affidavit said. She said Littlejohn grabbed Dial by the face and threw him on the bed. The woman said Littlejohn then kicked Dial in the face before he grabbed the microwave and beat Dial with it until its door came off, according to the affidavit. She said Littlejohn then took the glass plate from the microwave and broke it across Dial’s face, the affidavit said.

Another witness also described the beating, according to the affidavit.

Police then interviewed Littlejohn, who said he got into a “tussle” with Dial, who he said tried to lift him up. At that point, Littlejohn said he punched Dial in the face and knocked him out, according to the affidavit. Littlejohn admitted to hitting Dial again as he was on the floor, as well as with the microwave, the affidavit read.

Littlejohn told investigators that he “got very angry and was out of control,” according to the affidavit. He admitted to police he went “too far,” referring to the microwave attack, and said Dial was “harmless.”

In court Friday, Allen County Judge Fran Gull called the crime “horrific,” and said Littlejohn “showed no mercy” and “took advantage” of Dial.

Dial’s mother, Susan Dial, told the court that her son suffered from a mental illness and would have had a “great life” if not for that.

“No amount of jail time will bring back our son,” Susan Dial said.

Littlejohn, meanwhile, called Dial his friend, and said he’s haunted by the incident.

“What I did to Randy bothers me every day,” said Littlejohn. “I never had to the intent to kill him. He was my friend.”

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