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Suspect enters guilty plea in violent home invasions on Indy’s north side

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 5, 2015)—One of the suspects arrested in connection with two violent home invasions on Indianapolis’ north side in October 2013 pleaded guilty Thursday to several charges against him.

Trae Spells pleaded guilty to rape, criminal deviate conduct, robbery and burglary.

Police said Spells and several others kicked in the door of the home on North Spring Mill Road. The two homeowners were tied up and beaten, before the men ransacked the home on Oct. 24, 2013, said police.

On Oct. 29, 2013, authorities said Spells and five other men broke into a north side home on 79th Street around 7:30 a.m. Police said the men forced a woman in her 50s to drive them to an ATM, stole cash, shot her in the leg, and sexually assaulted both her and her daughter. Police said the suspects then stole three of the victims’ cars, dumping two of them at 62nd Street and Michigan Road.

"It was something we don't see a lot in this area, in Meridian Hills, and I think it really woke people up to the idea that this really can happen anywhere," said Kristina Frey.

Frey is a town councilor in Meridian Hills and said she's noticed a change since the home invasions. Neighbors pay closer attention, she said, and many told her they've installed video surveillance. Frey said calls to police have increased, too.

"The calls have been up. They have stayed up," she said.

Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Daphne Whitmire's noticed the shift toward security, as well.

"I've seen those neighborhoods being more active in crime prevention," said Whitmire.

Whitmire said attendance grew at crime forums hosted by the prosecutor's office. She specializes in property and residential crime, and said the home invasions raised awareness in a usually quiet part of the city.

"The biggest message is just to look out for each other," Whitmire said.

And it's a message Frey said residents are taking to heart, not resolving to let two scary crimes scare them out of their own homes.

"If anything maybe we're a little bit safer now because people are keeping that extra eye out," said Frey.

Thirteen people were initially charged in connection with one or both of the invasions.

Spells faces a sentence of 50 to 80 years in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 10.