INDIANAPOLIS — A man is behind bars, charged with murder for the second time in six years after police arrested him in connection to the killing of a man in July.
Najee Givens, 33, is charged with murder in the death of 25-year-old Timothy Rucker Jr., who was found dead in his home on July 17.
According to court records, Givens was charged with murder in the death of 19-year-old Terry Williams in January 2016. Through a 2018 plea agreement, the murder charge was dismissed and Givens pleaded guilty to reckless homicide.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed Givens was sentenced to six years, the maximum for a Level 5 Felony, with four years executed in prison and the remaining two years suspended, with one year served on probation. However, after violating the terms of the agreement, court records show he was ordered to serve the entire sentence in the IDOC.
A spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) confirmed to FOX59 that Givens was released from prison in October 2021 and assigned to the Indianapolis Parole District. IDOC records show Givens was on parole at the time he is accused of killing Rucker.
A probable cause affidavit shows the investigation into Rucker’s death began when police were called to a home in the 5200 block of Padre Lane, near Thompson Road and Emerson Avenue on the city’s southeast side, just after 3:30 p.m. on July 17.
Court records show officers arrived on scene and found Rucker in his living room with a gunshot wound to his face. He was pronounced dead at the scene and homicide detectives were requested to respond.
“At the time it wasn’t clear if this was a homicide or what the circumstances were, but it was certainly investigated thoroughly as if it was a homicide,” said IMPD Lieutenant Shane Foley.
Court documents show that the first person the detective spoke with is the one who discovered Rucker. She told the detective that as Rucker’s emergency contact, she received a phone call from Track Group Monitoring informing her that Rucker’s GPS monitor showed no movement for over eight hours. After she couldn’t get ahold of Rucker over the phone or Facebook, she came to his home and found him sitting in a chair with blood on his face and chest.
Foley told FOX59 witness cooperation, combined with technology and physical evidence was crucial to helping detectives piece together the case and determine a timeline of what occurred, plus anyone allegedly involved.
“Witness cooperation was key in this one, just like it is in other cases. When people cooperate, our detectives tend to do a great job and being able to identify individuals responsible for cases and make an apprehension, which is what happened in this case,” said Foley.
When asked if anyone was staying with Rucker, she told the detective a friend of Rucker’s whom he met in the Marion County Jail was “hanging out” at Rucker’s residence, court documents state.
Another person the detective spoke with told him there was a man “Rucker knew from Marion County Jail who goes by the name of ‘Nigee’ or ‘Niger’ who was recently hanging out with Rucker at his residence,” documents say. This person took a screenshot of a Facebook profile for “Nigee” and sent it to the detective, who later found the profile name to be Najee Givens.
The detective said multiple other individuals told him Rucker was spending time with a man they knew as “Nigee” or “Florida,” and he was seen at Rucker’s apartment on the night of July 16. When shown an array of photos, two people who said they were at Rucker’s apartment that night identified Givens as that man. Those two people also told the detective that Givens had a black handgun, and one of them described it as a 9mm Taurus, per court documents.
One person told the detective they arrived at Rucker’s apartment at about 1 a.m. on July 17 after Rucker invited them. This person said Rucker and a man they identified via photo array as Givens were at the apartment, and Givens “was acting very strange and paranoid and pulled out a black handgun several times,” documents state. The person said they left the residence at about 2 a.m. because they were afraid of Givens. They also said they remember the sound of an alarm going off when they opened the door to leave.
When the detective met with the crime lab, he discovered that a Red Army CR 9mm FCC shell casing was located on the floor in front of Rucker, documents say. He also found that an alarm control panel had an image of Rucker disarming the alarm at 2:05 a.m. on July 17, with another male standing behind him.
The detective searched Givens’ name in the Marion County Jail booking system and found that he was in custody due to an arrest on July 17. The arrest report showed that at about 2:30 a.m., police were called to a residence on Antigua Trail — a short distance from Rucker’s apartment.
“Interestingly enough, Givens was already in custody for an unrelated arrest that actually occurred the same morning and prior to IMPD officers responding to that address,” said Foley.
Earlier that morning, a caller said a suspicious person was knocking on the front and back doors and possibly had a gun. Police found Givens the driveway.
“Givens was sweating, very distorted, and appeared to be under the influence of narcotics,” court documents state.
One officer found a black 9mm Taurus behind the home, per documents. The occupants of the home told police they did not own a gun. IMPD took the gun and stored it in its property room. On Aug. 2, the crime lab later report came back, showing that the Red Army CR 9mm FCC found in front of Rucker’s body was fired from that same gun.
“You know, on TV you see a homicide solved within an hour and that’s just not the reality of it. Our detectives need to do a very thorough job of preserving a crime scene, the officers on scene preserve a crime scene, working with the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency to collect all the evidence to make sure that it’s done properly so that when it goes to court, we can ensure there’s justice for victims and their families,” said Foley.
“Then there’s all kinds of pieces. You see in this case, there’s witnesses, there’s GPS, there’s video images, there’s witness cooperation, there’s physical evidence, there’s all kinds of pieces that come together,” Foley added.
Neighbors said they were relieved to hear of an arrest in the case.
“This has been a pretty good neighborhood. I’ve been here about 15 years and there’s all kinds of kids in the neighborhood, they’re constantly out playing,” said one resident, who didn’t want her name to be shared. “Especially on a dead-end street you’ve got kids out riding bikes, skating, so I’ve never had anything like this in the neighborhood since I’ve been here.”
“This is happening everywhere around us right now, but for it to just be doors down that’s a little startling,” she added.
Anyone with information about this incident should call Detective Jose Torres in the IMPD Homicide Office at 317-327-3475 or email him at Jose.Torres@Indy.gov.