Indianapolis man, 36, is charged with murder for ‘dragging drunk female friend, 50, out of his car after heavy boozing session and leaving her in snow to die’
- Justin Holman, 36, charged with reckless homicide in February 19 death of Shanel Smith, 50
- Smith, a mom-of-two, was found dead in a snowbank behind Indianapolis laundromat 10 hours after Holman allegedly dragged her from his car
- Surveillance video apparently caught Holman removing Smith from his car and leaving her unresponsive in the cold
- Smith’s blood alcohol level hours after her death was more than three times the legal limit in Indiana
- Holman allegedly told detectives he and Smith had been hanging out and drinking in his car, but then she fell asleep and would not leave
Justin Holman, 36, has been charged with reckless homicide in the February 19 death of Shanel Smith, 50 (pictured), who was left to die in a snowbank in Indianapolis after heavy drinking
An Indianapolis man has been charged with homicide more than four months after he allegedly dragged a severely inebriated female friend out of his car and left her to freeze to death on mound of snow.
The incident resulting in the death of Shanel Smith, a 50-year-old mother-of-two from Indianapolis, took place back in mid-February, but 36-year-old Justin Holman was not charged until June 29.
Holman allegedly told police he didn’t remember why he decided to leave Smith alone in the cold behind a laundromat after removing her from his car when she wouldn’t wake up.
Holman was booked into the Marion County jail on July 1 on a charge of reckless homicide, which is punishable by one to six years in prison. He was freed on Tuesday after posting $3,000 bond.
Marion County does not release inmates’ booking photos to the public, and Holman has not commented on the charges he faces.
The case began unfolding back on February 19, when police found Smith lying dead on her back in a snowbank behind a laundromat in the 9900 block of East 38th Street.
An autopsy determined that Smith died of ‘environmental cold exposure,’ but her death was ruled a homicide because surveillance video showed Holman allegedly intentionally leaving the unconscious victim alone in the cold.
In the video, which was first obtained by Indianapolis Star, a man is apparently seen dragging Smith out of the passenger seat of a black Pontiac and ditching her in the snow. He then throws the woman’s belongings next to her and drives away.
Police discovered Smith dead from exposure to the cold behind this laundromat on East 38th Street in Indianapolis
Smith reportedly could be seen moving for the first few minutes, and then again two hours later when she sits up. She then reclines in the snow, never to stir again.
A toxicology report that was released months later indicated that Smith’s blood alcohol level hours after her death was .297, which is more than three times the drink drive limit in Indiana. Police used surveillance video from the street to track down Holman a day later.
During an interview with detectives, Holman allegedly said that he and Smith had been ‘hanging out and drinking’ in his car near a liquor store. He said the woman had dozed off and would not wake up, so he pulled her out of the car and left at around 4pm.
When pressed to explain why he abandoned his friend behind the laundromat, rather then in front of the business where she could have been found by passersby, Holman was said to have replied that he did not remember.
Smith’s blood alcohol level hours after her death was more than three times the legal limit in Indiana. She is survived by her two children
Despite having been identified as a suspect just hours after Smith’s death, Holman was not arrested until July 1, with police attributing the months-long delay to investigative procedures.
Smith’s family said they were pleased to learn of Holman’s arrest, but the father of the woman’s two children said he thinks the charge against him is too light.
‘My kids will never be able to see their mother even again because of what he’s done,’ John Wallace told the paper.
Holman is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on October 5.