Man gets 30 year prison sentence for Lafayette shooting death

Aaron Vance, 37, will serve a 30 year sentence in connection to the death of John Byler in Lafayette.

Posted: Apr 12, 2019 6:38 PM
Updated: Apr 12, 2019 6:40 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A family in Lafayette is getting some closure after two years of grieving the death of John Byler.

In January of 2017, Byler was shot in an apartment on Center Street. 

According to court documents, Wesley Hampton, Aarron Vance and allegedly Adam Worthington were trying to burglarize the apartment that day. They were masked and demanded drugs and money. 

Vance, 37, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Friday but not for the murder of John Byler. He pleaded guilty to burglary resulting in serious bodily injury.

It was a deal Judge Sean Persin reluctantly accepted saying, "This is not fair." However, he explained that he would accept it so the victim's family doesn't have to endure the pain and stress of a trial. 

In court, a social worker talked about Vance's rough childhood. Vance told the social worker he was physically and sexually abused. He said he started dealing, manufacturing and using drugs as a small child. The social worker said quote, "he never stood a chance."

Ultimately, the judge said his lengthy criminal history gave Vance plenty of opportunities to turn his life around. He was shot twice and that still didn't inspire him to change. Judge Persin said, "He knows what being shot is like, he's been there, and this occurs? It's shocking."

Though it's said to have been Vance's gun, Vance claims Hampton was the one who pulled the trigger.

Byler's mother didn't care. She looked Vance in the eye and told him he was just as guilty for the murder of her son.

She also noted how she took offense to the fact Vance was smiling, laughing and waving at his friends and family before the sentencing hearing started. Vance later apologized in his statement to the court, claiming he didn't mean to offend, he just hadn't seen his family in a really long time. 

Byler's sister talked about how much pain this has caused her family.

Vance has been shot twice before this incident. Byler's sister said, "Sadly he survived."

She said that shooting should have been a wake up call for him to change his life, but it wasn't.

Byler's dream to travel the world and that opportunity was taken from him.

In Vance's statement to the court, he said he never intended for John Byler's death and claimed he was in a drugged blur. "I hope you can forgive me," said Vance. "I am very religious and I care about my soul and I want to make it into heaven."

After the sentencing, News 18 asked Byler's family for a comment. They sent us the following in an email: 

"We are very pleased that Judge Persin pronounced the maximum sentences allowed under the plea agreements for Wesley Hampton and Aarron Vance, two of the men responsible for the robbery and murder of our brother and son John Byler. Both of these individuals have an almost lifelong history of committing crimes, including violence against others. Both have a long history of continuing to commit crimes while incarcerated for other crimes and while on probation or parole, demonstrating their flagrant disrespect for the law. Both were found to be habitual offenders. Judge Persin evaluated the crimes to which Hampton and Vance pled guilty, along with mitigating and aggravating factors presented by the defense and prosecution and correctly decided that they need to be incarcerated for as long as possible within the confines of the plea agreements. With this sentence, Judge Persin has made Lafayette and surrounding areas a bit more safe. We would like to thank the Lafayette Police Department, who worked tirelessly on the investigation. The police place themselves in danger on a daily basis while trying to maintain law and order, including their contribution to maintaining the safety of the community citizens. While many staff from the police office contributed to resolution of these cases, we would like to say a special thanks to Detective Sherry, Detective Dempster and Detective Taul. We would also like to thank the Prosecutor's office who worked tirelessly on their investigation and preparation of the cases for trial initially and ultimately for the sentencing hearings including, but not limited to Natasha Corbett, Pat Harrington, and Cassidy Laux. And finally, thanks to the Victim Specialists Jessica Dykhuizen and Echo Harrington for their support through this process.

If the community has the opportunity, please take the time to let the police and prosecutor staff know your appreciation of the work they do on a regular basis.

A third person has been arrested for his involvement in the crimes against John. If anyone has more information about the commission of the crimes that occurred on January 16, 2017, please contact the Lafayette Police Department.

Finally, John was known for his acts of kindness toward others. In remembrance of John, please engage in an act of kindness toward someone else and continue to pay it forward."

West Lafayette
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 57°
Kokomo
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 53°
Rensselaer
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 55°
Fowler
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 55°
Williamsport
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 57°
Crawfordsville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 55°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
57° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 57°
Delphi
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 54°
Monticello
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 54°
Logansport
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 54°
Dry Weekend with Coldest Weather of the Fall So Far on Sunday Night
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 175893

Reported Deaths: 4286
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion27107796
Lake15351372
St. Joseph10252178
Elkhart9964148
Allen9275235
Hamilton6799122
Vanderburgh648473
Tippecanoe436516
Porter379753
Hendricks3599139
Monroe351538
Johnson3506133
Delaware332081
Clark322467
Vigo296943
Madison275899
LaPorte256267
Cass237426
Kosciusko223529
Warrick214066
Floyd196269
Howard178467
Wayne165634
Dubois158827
Marshall157830
Bartholomew155359
Grant145340
Henry143830
Boone137850
Hancock132444
Noble131135
Jackson126920
Dearborn111028
Lawrence106238
Morgan106040
Clinton100816
Gibson99612
Shelby97937
Daviess97336
Knox91010
Fayette87522
DeKalb86713
LaGrange86115
Harrison85924
Putnam81717
Posey8138
Jasper7665
Miami7355
Steuben7189
Montgomery69422
White67016
Adams6518
Greene61138
Scott58716
Decatur58339
Ripley5338
Whitley5326
Wabash52610
Wells51712
Clay5137
Huntington5135
Starke5029
Sullivan49114
Randolph48811
Spencer4466
Orange44125
Perry44114
Fulton42510
Jefferson4235
Washington4223
Jennings40913
Franklin40626
Jay3996
Pike37618
Carroll37013
Fountain3623
Tipton29823
Rush2964
Vermillion2951
Blackford2766
Parke2754
Newton25211
Owen2291
Martin2100
Pulaski1884
Crawford1751
Brown1563
Ohio1477
Union1300
Benton1200
Switzerland1080
Warren1081
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events