STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Kokomo
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 62°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 61°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 61°
Williamsport
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 67°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
60° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 60°
Frankfort
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 61°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 63°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 63°
Logansport
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 61°
Warm-up again with increasing humidity & risk of storms.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 75862

Reported Deaths: 3069
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16088730
Lake7688278
Elkhart492685
Allen4002163
St. Joseph357883
Hamilton2829104
Vanderburgh202213
Hendricks1927108
Cass18029
Johnson1789119
Porter135539
Clark128749
Tippecanoe123811
Madison100665
LaPorte93130
Howard91365
Kosciusko86812
Bartholomew81747
Floyd80948
Marshall79323
Monroe76631
Delaware74552
Dubois70812
Vigo69911
Noble68829
Boone68746
Hancock68339
Jackson5965
Warrick58830
Shelby56527
LaGrange56310
Grant52930
Dearborn51228
Morgan49334
Clinton4444
Henry40620
Wayne38510
White37611
Montgomery35921
Lawrence35227
Harrison34823
Decatur34132
Putnam3128
Daviess27720
Miami2772
Scott27210
Jasper2552
Greene25434
Franklin24615
DeKalb2384
Gibson2314
Jennings22712
Steuben2133
Ripley2138
Carroll1962
Fayette1947
Perry18713
Posey1790
Starke1787
Wells1742
Orange17424
Fulton1722
Wabash1703
Jefferson1672
Knox1610
Whitley1556
Tipton14312
Washington1421
Sullivan1381
Spencer1373
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1244
Newton12010
Adams1092
Owen991
Jay920
Rush854
Pulaski811
Fountain742
Brown741
Blackford652
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike590
Vermillion580
Switzerland530
Parke511
Martin480
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0206

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