A homeless man in Council Bluffs was severely beaten Friday and authorities have made two arrests in the case. Witnesses say they saw two men — Charles Armstrong and Mark Foster — beat Jeff Harriman with a piece of wood. Armstrong and Foster are both transients.
Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber says it is highly doubtful Harriman will survive. "We have two individuals in custody right now under felony willful injury charges. My understanding is that the family’s going to be removing Jeff from life support, probably as early as today," Wilber says. "At that point, those charges will be upgraded to first degree murder."
The county attorney says there’s a third suspect, but that person has not been charged. "My understanding is that the police have talked to him and they are trying to confirm some other information to make a decision whether or not to charge him," Wilbur says.
Harriman’s family had wanted to donate his organs after he is pulled fro life support. But Wilber says since it would then be a murder case, an autopsy is needed as evidence in the prosecution of Armstrong and Foster. "I’ve spoken to the family at length and the state medical examiner as well," Wilbur says. "Because of the circumstances of his death, being a blunt force trauma, it just wasn’t possible to conduct a full autopsy and to accommodate the organ donation."