Man found guilty of murder

INDIANAPOLIS — A Morgantown man has been convicted in the murder of a Columbus native stabbed to death near the Indianapolis International Airport a year ago.

Harley Sims, 25, will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in Marion Superior Court Criminal Division 3, according to court documents. He faces 45 to 65 years in prison, according to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.

Sims was convicted in the Jan. 2, 2014, death of Kristopher A. Griner, 31, formerly of Columbus, following a two-day jury trial that concluded Tuesday in Indianapolis, according to the court.

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office said Sims, Griner and a woman who was Griner’s friend were riding in a pickup truck during a snowstorm.

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During the trial, the prosecution claimed Griner was becoming increasingly agitated as he was detoxing from heroin addiction, and that Sims became angry at Griner’s demeanor, said Michael Leffler, communications specialist for the prosecutor’s office.

The case’s probable-cause affidavit said the female passenger told police that Griner was elbowing her, telling her he needed to get more heroin.

Sims pulled into the Hyatt Place Indianapolis Airport Hotel parking lot at 5500 W. Bradbury Ave., where Griner was becoming even more agitated, according to a probable-cause affidavit. Sims then attacked Griner, stabbing him in the neck with a knife, according to the affidavit.

Jurors viewed hotel surveillance video that showed Griner sit down briefly in the lobby before slumping to the floor just before 2 a.m., Leffler said.

Griner died a half-hour later at the nearby Eskenazi Hospital emergency room.

Sims was arrested about a week after the incident by Indianapolis Metropol-itan Police, according to court documents.

After the truck was located, detectives took a statement from the female who owned the truck and from Sims, and a search warrant was issued for the vehicle.

The female told police she did not know that Griner was dead and did not call police because she was afraid of Sims, according to the affidavit. Police found a large folding knife in a paper bag hidden inside the truck’s glove compartment, according to court documents.

Griner attended St. Peter’s Lutheran School, Northside Middle School and Columbus North High School. He had two children, a daughter and a son, according to his family.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.