PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A 22-year-old murder suspect appeared in court on Friday to be arraigned on a secret grand jury indictment.
Avante Armstead was indicted back on September 14, 2017 and charged with a single count of intentional murder.
The investigation began on July 6, 2015 when police found the body of Irvin Batalla at the base of a cliff at Rocky Butte Park in Northeast Portland.
The state medical examiner did not initially rule Batalla’s death as a homicide. Portland Police, however, kept the investigation open under the theory that it was a potentially suspicious death.
Police have not released any additional details on the case.
In 2017, police official labeled the death investigation as a homicide after consulting with the medical examiner’s office.
When the secret indictment was filed against Armstead, he was being held in custody in Nevada on an unrelated drug case. Records show it was his first drug offense.
Oregon criminal defense attorney Ernest Warren Jr. was appointed Friday as Armstead’s attorney.
Jail records show that Armstead has been convicted of three felonies, 5 misdemeanors and 8 probation violations.
Armstead’s trial date is set for Feb. 2, 2018, but may be pushed back until May.