Man's beating death caught on camera

Man's beating death caught on camera

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An Austin family is mourning the loss of a man who police say was viciously beaten to death.

Ricky Martinez was the fun uncle with the infectious smile and laugh. In photos he was always in the middle. He was the center of attention.

"He was something else. He was hilarious," said niece Anna Rostro.

The 61-year-old former restaurant worker didn't have children of his own. His nieces and nephews were his kids.

Niece, Anna Rostro, was one of the family members who rushed to the hospital Monday after Martinez was found bleeding from the head at his North Austin apartment complex.

"At first we thought he'd fallen until the doctors and the nurses were explaining to us his injuries that it was not an accidental fall."

Police say that morning, Martinez walked out of his apartment and sat on the steps of the leasing office to have a cigarette.

A surveillance camera captured what happened next.

"He is approached by the suspect, Bruce Thompson," Sgt. Brian Miller said. "Thompson is observed picking up a large wooden board, which is in the area of Mr. Martinez. He takes that board over to Martinez and hits him in the head several times."

Martinez is knocked unconscious. Police say before leaving, Thompson stole his shoes and wallet.

"It was definitely a brutal crime. It was pretty horrible," Miller said.

Martinez died the next day.

Thompson was arrested and charged with murder. He is in the Travis County jail with a $500 thousand dollar bond.

"I try not to think about it because I get angry," Rostro said.

Rostro says her uncle survived two open heart surgeries. She says the family always thought if they lost him it would be because of health reasons.

"And this is what killed him. That's what hurts the most," Rostro said.

A memorial service will be held for Martinez on Friday.

Thompson as we've learned has been arrested 69 times since 2001. He had just finished parole for a theft conviction on June 30.

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