2 men accused in Center St. murder formally charged

(Provided Photos/Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office)

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Two Lafayette men accused in the murder of a 52-year-old man were formally charged Wednesday.

Wesley Hampton, 39, and Aarron Vance, 35, both of Lafayette, are accused in the Jan. 16 death of John Byler, who was found with a gunshot wound at an apartment on Center Street in Lafayette.

Hampton and Vance have been charged with murder, burglary (three counts), attempted armed robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, armed robbery, theft and attempted theft. Hampton was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

Prosecutors plan to file habitual offender charges against both men, stating prior felony convictions for both.

According to court documents, the men went to Byler’s apartment to get some spice. Vance told police while they were inside, a fight had taken place. He said during the altercation, Hampton shot Byler.

The probable cause affidavit states officers showed Vance a picture of the gun recovered from Hampton’s vehicle and Vance told police it looked like the gun Hampton used to shoot Byler.

Documents state witnesses, who were inside the apartment at the time of the incident, told police the men pushed their way inside wearing masks and demanding drugs and money. They said one man struck someone with a tire iron-like object; then went to the back bedroom, fought with Byler and shot him.

Court documents state Hampton’s girlfriend initially claimed he was with her the morning of the shooting, but then admitted to police Hampton was not really with her and showed up later that morning. She told police Hampton said he and Vance “went to get some spice and he shot a guy.”

Byler was pronounced dead at a Lafayette hospital. He died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Hampton and Vance remain in the Tippecanoe County Jail without bond.

Lafayette police said the investigation is ongoing. They said Wednesday investigators are looking for other persons of interest in the case.

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