Family wants justice for man beaten to death

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Police said 54-year-old Rick Couch was found beaten to death in his home in the 1500 block of N. 16th Street Wednesday morning, and now his family wants justice for the man they said was a kind and giving person without enemies.

“This was just so senseless,” said Couch’s sister, Karen Moore.

“I don’t think my father deserved to die the way that he did,” said Couch’s daughter Kasey Price.

Lafayette police continue to investigate why Couch was beaten to death.

“It was a violent scene,” said Lafayette Police Lt. Brad Hayworth. “Mr. Couch did have some severe injuries to him.”

Just hours after Couch’s body was discovered in his home, police had the man who could be responsible.

“This was not a random act,” said Hayworth. “The victim knew the suspect.”

Hayworth said 25-year-old James Bixler had been staying in the home with his girlfriends one-year-old child. He believes Bixler had come back for the child when he was stopped by police.

“He came running back up to us and two of the neighbors identified him as the person who had been at the house the night before,” Hayworth said.

Based on the investigation, Hayworth said Bixler was arrested for Couch’s murder.

Bixler had been arrested in June on charges of residential entry, criminal mischief and criminal trespassing.

According to police, Bixler became irritated with his girlfriend at the time, kicking in the door, throwing her belongings and punching holes in the walls and doors of the home. Bixler pleaded guilty to criminal trespassing and criminal mischief.

At the time of Couch’s murder, Bixler was on unsupervised probation.

Hayworth said at this time there is no motive for the murder.

“We have talked to Mr. Bixler, and it’s still an ongoing investigation,” said Hayworth. “We hope to be able to find that out during our investigation.”

Couch’s sister, Karen Moore, said she’ll never understand why someone would do this to her brother.

“Rick never was a fighter,” said Moore. “He just loved everybody.”

Hayworth said it will be a few days before any formal charges are filed in Couch’s death.

The family said a candlelight vigil will be held at 8 p.m. Friday in front of Couch’s home.

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