Last week, 61-year-old Ricky Martinez was beaten to death for his shoes and wallet. FOX 7 has since learned the man arrested for the crime was a UT grad with what once was a promising life. An old friend of his shares his story in hopes of preventing others from spiraling out of control.
Bobby Finely had to take a second look at the TV last week, when the mug shot of Bruce Thompson popped up.
His once good friend had been arrested for murdering 61-year-old Ricky Martinez and then stealing from him.
"This was not the guy that I grew up with and I do not know what happened," Finely said.
Finely remembers Thompson as a high school kid with a good home life. Thompson went onto graduate from UT with the highest honors. But then finely says drugs and alcohol took all of that away.
"Alcohol was his number one problem." Finely said
The last time he saw Thompson was in 2006. He says Thompson needed money and a place to stay. Finely gave him all he could.
"I'm one of these people who thinks they can fix things," Finely said.
Their last correspondence was through letters from jail. Travis county court records show Thompson had been arrested 69 times since 2001.
Finely was at a loss of what to do.
For that we turned to Austin Recovery.
"It can be really scary for a lot of families when they see someone that they love who is battling with addiction," said Sarah Hartford, Austin Recovery Director of Admissions. "One of the things that we really recommend that families do is reach out and actually talk to a professional about their specific situation."
Director of admissions Sarah Hartford says the worst thing is to ignore the problem.
"I think it's really important that people know there is absolutely hope and people do get better," Hartford said.
Finely only wishes Thompson would've gotten better. Then, maybe an innocent man would still be alive.
"If you have a child that is having trouble with drugs in alcohol that you need to get them away from where ever they're at and make the investment in that child because if you don't," said Finely. "A perfectly normal child will end up facing capital murder."
If you or someone you love is battling addition call the Austin Recovery Admission Hotline at 512-697-8600.