Indianapolis News and Headlines


'Purge' killer Johnathan Cruz pleads guilty to 3 homicides

Posted at 10:14 AM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 14:18:31-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- The man accused of killing three people as part of a four-day "Purge" across Indianapolis pleaded guilty Friday.

Johnathan Cruz pleaded guilty to all three murders in a hearing Friday morning. 

Prosecutors recommended the death penalty for Cruz, but he will avoid it by pleading guilty.

Cruz will receive three consecutive life sentences without parole. 

His formal sentencing is set for May 11 at 1 p.m.

Between May 12-15, 2016, prosecutors say Cruz killed Billy Boyd, Jay Higginbotham and Jose Alberto.

Cruz reportedly told a witness he had been "Purging" – referencing the fictional 2013 movie "in which the United States government sanctioned an event in which all crimes to include rape, murder, arson, assault and theft is legal from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next day."

RELATED | What is a 'purge,' and are they actually happening in real life? | Prosecutor: Three killed in man's four-day "Purge" across Indianapolis

Police recovered a number of text messages from Cruz's cellphone. In one, Cruz allegedly says, "I Purge every night now … since im dieing (sic) someone else Has to."

His girlfriend, Angela Barger, defended him after an initial court appearance.

"He's not evil like they're making him out to be," Barger said. "He's fun. Not violent."

MORE | Girlfriend defends man charged with going on 4-day 'Purge' in Indy

"As we describe the homicides which are occurring in our city, we frequently sound like a broken record when we describe these murders as "senseless," Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said at the time. "But the killings that have occurred here are beyond senseless."

A second defendant, Elijah Brooks, has been charged with two counts of Felony Murder for his alleged involvement in the May 12, 2016, murders of Billy Boyd and Jay Higginbotham. 

A third defendant, Steven Clark (aka Rayvaughn Wood), has also been charged with Armed Robbery for his alleged involvement in the May 14, 2016, robbery.