An Indiana man thought he was going to meet a woman he spoke with online, but instead walked into a trap that cost him his life, police said.
When Lafayette man Willie Smith, 55, arrived at the Flora home Wednesday, the woman was waiting inside for him. A young man, 22-year-old Tyrone Leftridge, was also waiting, WLFI reported, hiding with a baseball bat, Flora police said.
Leftridge had been impersonating the woman on a dating app called MeetMe, police said, and lured Smith to the home by promising to have sex with him for $80, WLFI reported.
Investigators believe Smith withdrew $120 from an ATM in Lafayette, based on a receipt found at the scene, according to the outlet.
The woman told Smith she wasn’t going to have sex with him, and Leftridge rushed out from a nearby garage and hit Smith with a baseball bat, WXIN reported. The woman ran away, but saw Leftridge later on with money, a wallet and a cellphone.
Willie was discovered in the house with head injuries, according to the outlet, and was taken to a hospital.
He died Friday, according to the Flora Police Department.
Leftridge admitted to police that the plan was to rob Willie, but claimed that some other man attacked him. But in a phone call the next day between Leftridge and another inmate, he says he hit Willie because the man had a knife, the TV station reported.
The woman told police she never saw Willie holding or carrying any weapons, and when she declined to have sex with him, he wasn’t rude and he didn’t touch her, the outlet reported.
Willie was an organ donor and on Father’s Day, shortly after his death, doctors saved his organs for transplant, WXIN reported. His daughter, Jannette, said it was a final heroic act in a good man’s life.
“He was a great guy. He didn’t deserve this, but in this, he is a hero,” she told the station. “He did donate, he did save two peoples’ lives today, and hopefully he’ll be able to save a few more.”
Leftridge was arrested Wednesday on charges of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, and aggravated battery, according to police. His bond is set at $500,000.
“Additional charges are likely, pending the results of Smith’s autopsy scheduled early this week at the Marion County Coroner’s Office,” Flora police said in a statement.
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