A Bluffton man could spend the next 51 years behind bars after admitting he used a baseball bat to beat a man who later died.
Levi Arnold, 22, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Allen Superior Court to murder and resisting law enforcement. He will be sentenced April 19. A plea agreement calls for him to serve 511/2 years behind bars. A murder conviction is punishable by up to 65 years in prison.
There had been questions about whether Arnold could understand the case against him and help with his defense. Doctors examined him, and he was found competent in October to stand trial.
DeMarcus Walker, 44, was beaten March 7, 2020, with a baseball bat outside the Apple Glen Walmart, police said. He died about a month later. The Allen County coroner's office ruled Walker's death a homicide in July, and Arnold – who had been charged with attempted murder – was charged with murder.
Arnold, who is white, was driving in the store's parking lot and wearing a ski mask when he swerved toward Walker, who is Black, striking him, according to charging documents. Arnold then got out of the car and beat Walker with the bat, investigators said. Walker's family has said the attack was racially motivated.
Witnesses told police the beating stopped when a bystander with a gun intervened. Officers tried to stop Arnold as he drove onto Jefferson Boulevard, but he eluded police and was arrested at his Bluffton home.