FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A homeless man accused in the beating and drowning death of a Decatur woman at a Fort Wayne motel a year ago has pleaded guilty.
Ajaylan M. Shabazz has agreed to plead guilty to a charge of Level 3 felony Aggravated Battery in the death of 35-year-old Tiffany I. Ferris, was found inside a room at the Suburban Extended Stay hotel at 3320 W. Coliseum Blvd. on May 10.
A plea agreement with Allen County prosecutors drops a higher charge of Murder against Shabazz, and calls for a judge to impose a “proper” sentence.
Police and medics were called at 8:45 a.m. that day to the motel near Interstate 69 and Goshen Road on an unknown problem. Inside a room, police found Ferris’s body in the bathtub, with “obvious signs of physical abuse to her body,” according to a probable cause affidavit.
According to court records, Ferris was in a storage room of the hotel with Shabazz, Terry Smith and another woman. In documents charging Smith, the other woman said Smith became upset with Ferris for stealing and using his drugs and began to assault her – “striking her repeatedly on the head, standing on her neck and kicking her.”
In documents charging Shabazz, though, witnesses recalled conversations in which Shabazz claimed the other woman beat Ferris, possibly with brass knuckles, because she would not stop talking about Shabazz.
One witnesses said Shabazz told him he and Smith carried Ferris from the storage room to the bathtub, where the other woman held her head under water.
Police noted in the probable cause affidavit that Ferris’s DNA was found on Shabazz’s shoes.
Smith is charged with Murder in the killing. He’s set to stand trial in July, according to court records.
Shabazz will be sentenced July 15.