Indianapolis ‘Purge’ killer receives 3 consecutive life sentences without parole, plus 16 years
UPDATE: Accomplice Steven Clark was sentenced to 16 years in the Department of Correction with 373 days credit for time served.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indianapolis man who pleaded guilty in a random killing spree was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without parole, plus 16 years for armed robbery.
Johnathan Cruz admitted to be inspired by “The Purge” movie series during a four-day killing spree that resulted in the deaths of three people. Cruz chose his victims at random. In the movie series, people are given a day to commit any crime without prosecution.
Between May 12 and May 15 of 2016, Cruz killed Billy Boyd, Jay Higginbotham and Jose Alberto Ruiz. Prosecutors said he “killed for sport” and had planned to seek the death penalty in the case.
Cruz showed absolutely no remorse before or during court. As part of a plea deal, Cruz pleaded guilty to 3 murders and one robbery.
Prosecutors say they're satisfied he'll spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“Here’s a person who’s 20-years-old and his life is effectively over at this point,” said Marion county prosecutor Terry Curry.
The crime spree started with an armed robbery that turned deadly at 40th and college where Billy Boyd died after being shot twice in the head.
Hours later that same day on north Denny another robbery and murder resulted in the death of Jay Higginbotham.
Two days later on Linwood a third robbery resulted in the fatal shooting of Jose Ruiz.
"The thought that someone would take 3 innocent lives for sport is beyond our comprehension," said Curry.
"I'm glad that it’s over," said Boyd's sister Jennifer Darby.
Darby says her family supports the plea deal which allowed Cruz to avoid the death penalty.
"When you have people paying debt to society, the death penalty is easy way out," said Darby.
While in court, Cruz offered no statement to the judge or families and showed no emotion. He did spew some profanity at our camera before the hearing.
"I was disappointed he didn’t offer any sort of justification or apology to the family. I think it would have been meaningful to the families to hear that," said Curry.
Despite the lack of remorse, Boyd’s sister says she prays every day that Cruz understands the pain his actions caused and her family has already forgiven him.
"It’s hard. We’ll never forget, but in order to move forward, we have to somehow forgive," said Darby.
According to court records, Cruz had help on the first two killings from Elijah Brooks who prosecutors have now charged with murder for supposedly driving the getaway car following two of the shootings.
A third suspect Steven Clark has also been charged with armed robbery in connection with one of the crimes.