ABILENE, Texas -

An aggravated assault charge against a 24-year-old Abilene man has been upgraded to murder after the victim he allegedly hit and kicked into unconsciousness died.

Michael Boyd Crowley remains incarcerated on the upgraded muder charge in Taylor County on bond set at $100,000.

Alleged victim Lance M. Nickels, 47, was pronounced dead at 3:55 a.m. Tuesday at Hendrick Medical Center. Justice of the Peace Sparky Dean ordered an autopsy. Nickels’ body has been transported to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Crowley allegedly assaulted Nickels on Jan. 30 at a residence in the 1200 block of Marshall Street. Police responded to a call of people fighting and a male subject (Nickels) being unconscious and injured.   

“Officers arrived and located several persons at the residence, including an injured male inside the residence suffering from a serious head injury,” a Abilene Police Department news release from Jan. 31 said.

According to police, the preliminary investigation revealed Crowley and Nickels were involved in a verbal altercation that “escalated into physical violence.”

Crowley was located and arrested at a residence in the 3100 block of South 11th Street about 9:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 31.

“The investigation revealed that Crowley assaulted the victim with his hands and feet,” the news release said. “Crowley continued to assault the victim even after the victim became unconscious.”

Crowley’s original charge was for 2nd-degree felony Aggravated Assault (causing serious bodily injury).