FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A 32-year-old man was charged with murder in a Sunday night homicide at the Traveler’s Inn on East Washington Boulevard.
Kevin G. Harris was booked into the Allen County Jail early Monday morning. He was set to appear in court later Monday.
The victim was identified as 48-year-old Terry E. Coleman of Louisiana. The Allen County Coroner’s Office said Coleman died of a stab wound to the neck and his death was ruled a homicide.
When police responded to a room at the Travelers Inn on East Washington Boulevard Sunday night, they found a man unconscious and lying in a very large pool of blood.
In the room, where the victim was pronounced dead 15 minutes after police arrived around 8:45 p.m., crime scene technicians found a knife in the open position, tossed into a corner by the air conditioning unit. There was also a large body-sized hole in the wall, a damaged clothing rack and a broken toilet, court documents said.
Several hours later, Kevin George Harris, 32, was booked into the Allen County Jail and charged with murder. He will appear Monday in Allen Superior Court.
Police were called to the room by a woman who’d been contacted by Harris just after 8 p.m.
“Terry is dead,” Harris reportedly told her, prompting her to immediately go to Travelers Inn and call 911, according to a probable cause affidavit written by homicide detective Liza Anglin.
It was Harris who told the woman that he’d found Coleman ”lying in the pool of blood.” Harris, he described as “his brother,” said Coleman looked “battered” and he noticed there were holes in the wall “as if there’d been a struggle.”
Harris said he was “terrified by what he’d seen” and held up a necklace the woman recognized as the one Coleman always wore, court documents said.
During a police interview, Harris denied any involvement with weapons or holding on to one while he “sparred” with the deceased. He said he didn’t even see a knife that belonged to Coleman.
Then he changed his story and said he saw a knife on a bedside table. When Anglin told him that video surveillance showed that only he and Coleman entered and only he exited the room on hotel surveillance, Harris said that Coleman wanted Harris to kill him and then stuck a knife in his own neck. Harris claimed that he removed the knife from Coleman’s neck, wiped it off and tried to “plug the hole.” He took the knife with him when he left the room. Anglin told him there’s no evidence that he returned to the room.
“So what,” was his reply.
Video evidence showed Harris and Coleman entering the room at 2:39 p.m. and Harris leaving the room alone at 4:57 p.m.
Harris then told Anglin that he saw Coleman in a “crumpled position with a bleeding neck wound,” and repositioned Coleman’s body and left him without calling 911. The two had been sparring.
Harris said he and Coleman had been in the military and were in the room exchanging stories and recalling time they spent during their tour together. Coleman was his “sergeant gunner,” he said and called him that throughout the interview with Anglin.
As the interview rolled on, Harris said Coleman wanted to “spar” with him and they began to spar on the floor in front of the bed. Coleman, at one point, went to the bathroom and smashed the toilet tank lid then flailed his arms around to demonstrate he was protecting Harris.
Harris said he’d had to grab the victim and restrain him. When Coleman continued to spar with Harris, Harris decided to use enough force to “show that he was dominant.” Once Coleman realized that Harris was defeating him, Coleman stopped fighting with him. Harris said he sat on the bed holding his head and rocked back and forth before leaving the room to go to the gas station to get cigars.
He said he returned an hour later to find Coleman crumpled up against the bed, his arm behind his back in a “chicken wing” position, one leg bent and the other straight out. Harris said Coleman wasn’t breathing so he repositioned him with his legs straight and his arms along his side and closed his eyes.
He tried to call the witness he got hold of later and left the room to go to McDonald’s to charge his phone. He didn’t call 911 because he wanted to get his thoughts together and calm down, court documents said.
At 4:57 p.m., when Harris is seen on tape leaving the room, he is carrying something, something he didn’t carry in, court documents said. No one else entered the room until the woman and the police.
The coroner’s office is still working to identify Coleman’s family of his death. The office said it traced him from Louisiana to Jacksonville, Florida to Fort Wayne sometime before May 2021. Anyone with information about Coleman’s family is asked to call the Allen County Coroner’s Office at (260) 449-7389.