APD: Man's "brutal beating" death caught on tape


by KVUE News


Posted on July 18, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 18 at 9:14 PM

AUSTIN--- Police have released more information into the death of a man who died from what they call a "brutal beating." Now they say it was all caught on tape.

56-year-old Bruce Thompson is charged in the beating death of 61-year-old Ricky Martinez.

Martinez was a long-time resident of the Austin Garden Apartments on North Lamar. Police say Thompson was a transient who was looking for a victim. Adolph Young is Maintenance Engineer at the complex. He says Thompson had been in trying to lease an apartment, but was turned down since he didn't have proof of income.

They thought he'd left, when they heard someone yell call 9-1-1. Young went outside.

"That's when I looked down and saw Mr. Martinez was on his back, unresponsive, gurgling.  And so we rolled him on his side, cleared his airways the best we could," said Young.

They weren't sure what happened to Martinez. Police say surveillance video played a huge role in the arrest since you can see the entire crime on the video.  The video shows the man who tried to lease the apartment, grabbing a four-by-six board, and attacking Martinez from behind.

Young says the video shows Thompson lining the board on edge, looking at it, then drawing it up and hammering it down on Martinez's head three times in a row. Martinez had his back to Thompson, on his cell phone. Martinez died at the hospital one day after the attack. The same day police arrested Thompson.

Police were driving the leasing agent back from the station after questioning, when he spotted the suspect on his bicycle near this pawn shop off I-35.

Police were able to call in assistance, and took Thompson into custody. They're happy the arrest came so soon. Sergeant Brian Miller says, "Usually people get on a role like this, they do something of this nature, they usually don't stop, they continue to go until they get caught."

The video also shows Thompson stealing the victim's shoes and wallet.

Young wants to reassure residents the complex is safe.

"We are doing everything we can to pay attention, maybe even more so now. " He says they have the surveillance cameras, plus they're considering closing the gate during the day, requiring a security card like they do at night.

Investigators say Thompson is homeless and left identifying information at the scene.

He is now in the Travis County jail on bond. This is Austin's 11th murder of the year.