Man nabbed in Indiana charged with Sebastian man’s murder

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – The man authorities caught in Indiana last month is back in Indian River County, charged with murder of Jim’s Automotive owner James Malone, of Sebastian.

Rondell Reed, 51, is being held at the Indian River County Jail as a maximum security inmate while awaiting trial on a first degree murder charge. Reed previously spent 21 years in “super maximum custody” in Texas following an escape from a North Carolina prison and shoot-out with law enforcement.

“He is very high risk,” Lt. Detective John Burdock said of Reed, one who “has pretty much nothing to lose at this point.”

According to Lt. Det. Burdock, Reed and the victim, Malone, got into an argument, during which Reed shot Malone.

He said Reed has told investigators that it was self-defense. However, authorities have evidence and statements they “strongly believe” refute the claim, Lt. Det. Burdock said.

Sheriff Deryl Loar said he believes a grand jury will review the evidence against Reed sometime the first week of June, adding that Reed is “an obvious concern” and wants to have the case resolved quickly.

Despite safety and escape concerns, Sheriff Loar said there are no current plans to transport Reed to another facility.

He said the county jail houses similar inmates as part of the “holding pattern” for the Department of Corrections as inmates travel between facilities and the courthouse.

Dive teams have recovered the victim’s cell phone in the waters near the US 1 bridge near the Indian River-Brevard county line, Lt. Det. Burdock said. They are still searching for the firearm.

According to authorities, Reed is the brother of Malone’s girlfriend. The woman, Lt. Det. Burdock said, has been cooperative with law enforcement.

Along with the murder charge, Reed faces a charge of grand theft of an automotive, having stolen Malone’s Corvette to flee the scene.

The car was discovered in Richmond, Ind., where authorities discovered Reed and gave chase. Reed crashed the vehicle and sustained injuries, according to Indiana authorities.

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