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Police say it is likely arrests will be made today in connection to the death of a "harmless" Featherston man early yesterday.
Glen Jason Jones, 40, died in Wellington Hospital just before 5am yesterday after a midnight attack at his home in Featherston, Wairarapa.
A neighbour said she called emergency services after she saw several men, one carrying a baseball bat, running from Mr Jones' bedsit.
After phoning police she found Mr Jones' unconscious body.
Mr Jones' friends were yesterday in shock over his sudden death and gathered at a pub in nearby Carterton to remember him.
A police spokesman said it was likely that arrests would be made today and a post-mortem examination is planned.
His former girlfriend Lisha Wellington was visibly upset when she arrived outside Mr Jones' boarding house on Fitzherbert St yesterday.
She said he had lived there for about five years.
"He was the kindest guy I've ever met," she said. "He was an innocent guy and he wouldn't do anyone any harm.
"I don't know who would want to kill him."
Another friend, Bronwyn Hutching, said he was a "nice, loving guy".
"He was kind and considerate and very friendly."
Victim Support is working with Mr Jones' family, who have lived all their lives in Wairarapa and are well known in south Wairarapa.
His parents Dave and Sue and brother Shane were too upset to speak.
The property where Mr Jones lived was a small motel-style boarding house. It was cordoned off for a forensic examination yesterday.
Police had also cordoned off a secondary crime scene, in nearby Revans St.
Detective Inspector Sean Hansen said Mr Jones had suffered a "vicious beating ... He received a number of injuries.
"At this stage we do not believe this is a random attack," Mr Hansen said.
"We also know that more than one person was involved in that attack and I urge anyone who was involved to come forward."
Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.
- Rebecca Quilliam of APNZ