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Cumberland Double Murder

cumberlanddoublemurder

Jeremy Crane and his 7-year-old niece, Kyleigh Crane, were murdered in December of 2011. Investigators believe Jeremy Priel and Michael Bell killed the pair over a Playstation. Bell was good friends with Jeremy Crane, officials said.

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A man who pleaded guilty to murdering a 7-year-old Cumberland girl and her 21-year-old uncle was sentenced Friday to serve 110 years in prison consecutively.

In late June, Jeremy Priel pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in the slayings of Kyleigh and Jeremy Crane, who were both fatally shot in their home in December 2011.

“I think it’s a good resolution,” said Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson. “It’s a 110 year stipulated sentence. He gets no modification rights. No appeal of the sentence. Even assuming the best of good time credit, it’s 55 years in the Department of Corrections.”

Priel’s accomplice, Michael Bell, also pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in April.

Family members of the victims told Fox59, Bell was a friend of Jeremy Crane and even lived with him for a short time. Prosecutors said the suspects planned to steal an Xbox and PlayStation 3 from the Crane home.

Before Priel received his sentence, the Crane family was given the opportunity to speak to him.

“Rage, pain… right now I’m shaking,” said Kyleigh’s father, Josh Crane, as he described what that was like.

“I just told him and the judge… how good of a person my brother was and how much he helped me with my children and told him how full of life little Kyleigh was.”

Kyleigh’s mother, Holly Wilson, did not take the stand for her impact statement. Instead, she opted to write one and had a prosecutor read it out loud to the judge. However, she did speak to Fox59 after the sentencing was completed.

“I feel sorry for his children as well… because they don’t have their father anymore, because of what he did,” Wilson said. “And when they find out what he did and why they did, it’s probably going to affect them a lot as well.”

Several members of the Crane family and their close friends spoke to Priel with teary eyes, expressing their grief. However, Josh Crane wasn’t convinced anyone’s words affected Priel.

“The whole time he had a little look on him, had a little eyebrow raised, just staring us down the whole time,” explained Josh Crane. “(He) never showed emotion. Nothing. He just sat back and just didn’t look like he cared.”

Kyleigh’s grandmother, Cathy Crane, said closure was “not something that our family will ever live with.”

Now, the family is preparing to face Bell next and said that will be even harder since he was a friend they trusted. Bell is expected to receive 100 years in prison.

An Indianapolis man admitted Friday that he murdered a 7-year-old girl and her 21-year-old uncle in Cumberland.

Jeremy Priel pleaded guilty to two counts of murder for the killings of Kyleigh and Jeremy Crane.

Priel and Michael Bell were both arrested for breaking into the Crane family home in Cumberland in December 2011. Bell was friends with Jeremy Crane and even lived with him for a time.

Prosecutors said the suspects planned to steal an Xbox and PlayStation 3 from the house. Both victims were shot in the head.

“If he wanted to borrow the PlayStation 3, he would’ve given it to him. You don’t send someone in to rob your family,” said Jeremy Crane’s mother Cathy Crane about Bell shortly after his arrest. “Jeremy was his brother. Kyleigh was his niece. They trusted him.”

Shortly after his arrest, Bell gave Fox 59 an exclusive jailhouse interview where he said he was innocent.

“I was never in the house,” he told a Fox 59 reporter. Later, in the same interview, he said he was nearby.

Prosecutors filed requests for life sentences without parole for both Priel and Bell in 2012.

In April, Bell pleaded guilty to two counts of murder. He’s expected to be sentenced to 100 years during a hearing in August. It was at this time, prosecutors said, Priel’s attorney reached out to them and also accepted a plea deal.

“I think it’s a good resolution,” said Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson. “It’s a 110 year stipulated sentence. He gets no modification rights. No appeal of the sentence. Even assuming the best of good time credit, it’s 55 years in the department of corrections.”

Priel’s sentencing is set for July 26 at 10 a.m. Robinson said the Crane family will take that opportunity to speak to Priel, Bell, and the judge.

INDIANAPOLIS – A man pleaded guilty Friday in connection with the Dec. 2011 murders of a 7-year-old girl and her uncle in Cumberland.

Jeremy Priel agreed to plead guilty to two counts of murder in the killings of Kyleigh and Jeremy Crane. In exchange for the guilty plea, Priel agreed to 110-year sentence for the crime. Sentencing is scheduled for July 26.

In April, co-defendant Michael Bell pleaded guilty to two counts of murder. He’s expected to be sentenced to 100 years during a hearing in August. Prosecutors filed requests for life sentences without parole for both Priel and Bell in 2012.

Investigators believe the suspects killed the victims over a PlayStation 3 video game system.

CUMBERLAND, Ind.—A man arrested in connection with the murders of a young Cumberland girl and her uncle is expected to plead guilty to charges against him next week. 

Jeremy Priel will be sentenced next Friday, June 28 when he is expected to plead guilty to four counts of murder, one count of robbery and one count of carrying a handgun without a license.

Priel and co-defendant Michael Bell are accused of killing Kyleigh Crane, 7, and Jeremy Crane, 21, in their Cumberland home in December 2011. Investigators believe the suspects killed the Cranes over a PlayStation gaming system.

Fox59 was told Bell was a close friend of Jeremy Crane. Family members said Bell was often referred to as “Uncle Mike” and even lived with the family at one point.

Bell pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in mid-April and agreed to an executed sentence of 100 years as part of the plea agreement.

One of two suspects in the deaths of a 7-year-old Cumberland girl and her 21-year-old uncle pleaded guilty to two counts of murder Friday.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced Michael Bell agreed to an executed sentence of 100 years for the crimes as part of the plea agreement.

Bell and co-defendant Jeremy Priel are accused of murdering Kyleigh and Jeremy Crane in their Cumerland home in December 2011. Investigators believe the suspects killed the Cranes over a Playstation gaming system.

Fox59 was told Bell was a close friend of Jeremy Crane. Family members said Bell was often referred to as “Uncle Mike” and even lived with the family at one point.

Priel is schedule to appear in trial later this year.  He faces four counts of murder, one count of robbery and one count of carrying a handgun without a license.

Prosecutors have filed requests for life sentences without parole for both defendants.

 

One of the men accused in a double murder appeared in court Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing.

Jeremy Priel is accused of killing 7-year-old Kyleigh Crane and her 21-year-old uncle, Jeremy Crane, back in December of 2011. It happened in Cumberland.

Prosecutors said he and co-defendant Michael Bell killed the pair so they could rob them of a PlayStation.

Bell was good friends with the victims.

10/30/12

Family of slain 7-year-old girl, uncle plant permanent memorial

Nearly one year after the shocking murders of a 7-year-old girl and her 21-year-old uncle, family members are making sure their loved ones’ memories will never fade.

Saturday morning, family, friends and several volunteers got to work on a beautification project on East 10th Street for Kyleigh and Jeremy Crane.

With backing from the town of Cumberland, the Crane family adopted two medians near Washington Square Mall, where Jeremy Crane worked. At the crack of dawn Saturday morning, the small army of volunteers began planting trees and bushes to honor Kyleigh and Jeremy.

Cathy Crane, Jeremy’s mother and Kyleigh’s grandmother, explained the significance.

“My son’s favorite color was blue, Kyleigh’s favorite color was green,” Cathy said.  “And we’re planting red rose bushes because of her fiery red hair.”

Kyleigh’s father, Joshua, said projects like this help to keep the family focused on positive thoughts and memories.

“It keeps us busy,” he said.  “We’re trying to do something good.  We don’t want to just sit around.”

The timing of the project was also significant for the family.  Not only is the one year anniversary of the murders coming up in November, but Kyleigh would have turned 8 years old on Oct. 25.

“Thursday, you know all morning we were sad,” Cathy Crane said.  “Today is trying to make something beautiful happen for both of them.”

The medians were also fitted with a memorial sign, bearing the names of Kyleigh and Jeremy.

Volunteers supporting the effort included a town landscaper and members of the Cumberland Police Department.

“It becomes personal when you’re a police officer and you’re involved in a crime such as this,” said Cumberland Police Lt. Roger Waggoner. “Certainly involving Kyleigh who was a little girl.”

Last November, investigators believe Kyleigh and Jeremy were killed for a Playstation 3 gaming system, which was later sold with an X-Box for $40 and an ounce of marijuana.

The two suspects in the case, Joshua Priel and Michael Bell, are still awaiting separate murder trials.

The Crane family knows there are difficult days ahead as those trials approach, but in the meantime, they’re counting this as one of the good days.

“We don’t want them to be forgotten,” Joshua said.  “They were beautiful people.  My little girl was going to be something big.  She was like little super genius.  And my brother was always so nice.”

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has filed a request to sentence the two men accused of killing a Cumberland girl and her uncle to life without parole.

Michael Bell, 22, and Jeremy Priel, 25, were charged with four counts of murder in December in connection with the deaths of Kyleigh Crane, 7, and 21-year-old Jeremy Crane.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced Monday that the prosecutor’s office requested that Bell and Priel receive life sentences without parole.

“This office followed our established deliberative and thoughtful process in making our decision to request life without parole against Michael Bell and Jeremy Priel,” said Prosecutor Curry.  “We did so in order to make a reasoned judgment and based our decision on a number of factors.”

In the request, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office stated the alleged aggravating circumstances were that the murders were committed during a robbery, that Kyleigh was younger than 12-years-old and two murders were committed.

Bell and Priel are also charged with robbery and one count of carrying a handgun without a license.

Both suspects are expected to appear in court for a pre-trial conference on February 1.

The two men accused of killing a Cumberland 7-year-old girl and her 21-year-old uncle appeared in court for an initial hearing Thursday morning.

Michael Bell, 22, and Jeremy Priel, 25, were formally charged Wednesday in connection with the murders of Kyleigh and Jeremy Crane. Both suspects were charged with murder, robbery and carrying a handgun without a license.

At the hearing Thursday, the victims’ family sat in silence as both suspects appeared before a judge.

“It’s just a trying time,” said Prosecutor Denise Robinson. “They just buried their family members and now starting the court process for anyone.”

Bell requested a public defender.  He faces a maximum prison sentence of 156 years for the alleged crimes. Bell will appear in court again on February 1 for a pretrial and on February 27.

Priel faces a maximum prison sentence of 156 years.  Priel entered a not-guilty plea.  He will appear in court for a jury trial February 27 and has a pretrial scheduled for February 1.  Priel was also appointed a public defender in court Thursday.

Bell told conflicting stories about what happened on December 12, the day Kyleigh and Jeremy Crane were fatally shot in the head. In an exclusive jailhouse interview, Bell told Fox59 he was not inside the home at the time of the shootings.  However, according to a probable cause affidavit released Wednesday, Bell told police he was present when Jeremy Crane was murdered.

Prosecutors told Fox59 Thursday that it does not matter who fired the shots.

“It’s not required to prove who pulled the trigger under Indiana law,” said Prosecutor Robinson. “Both are equally culpable.”

A long-time friend of Bell said he may be a robber but did not believe he would commit murder.

“If you do the crime, you gotta pay the time, but he is not that type of person,” said Trisha Dunlap, friend of Bell.

According to Bell, he and Priel went to the Crane home to steal a PlayStation 3 and Xbox.  Two other men came to police several days later, stating they were sold the gaming systems.  They said they traded $40 and an ounce of marijuana for them.

Bell was a close friend of Jeremy’s.  Family members said Bell was often referred to as “Uncle Mike” and even lived with the family at one point.

A man arrested in connection with the murders of a 7-year-old girl and her 21-year-old uncle told Fox59 he did not shoot the victims.

Michael Bell, 22, spoke with Fox59 in a jailhouse interview Monday morning.  Bell is preliminary charged with two counts of murder.

Bell and Jeremy Priel, 25, were arrested Sunday in connection with the deaths of Kyleigh and Jeremy Crane. Bell turned himself into authorities early Sunday morning and hours later, police arrested Priel.

The two victims were found fatally shot in their home, located in the 600 block of North Woodlark Drive on December 12.

Bell told Fox59 he told a friend, identified as “J”, that he could steal a PlayStation 3 gaming system at the Crane’s home.  At first Bell told Fox59, “I was never in that house. I was never in or by that house.”

Minutes later, Bell admitted to being in the area of Woodlark Drive but said he was not inside the home at the time of the shootings.  Bell said he did not tell Priel to shoot anyone and said he never imagined Jeremy and Kyleigh Crane would be home. He said he did not know Priel was carrying a gun.

“I thought he’d be able to just get in and out,” said Bell. “I ain’t think nothing like that would have happened.”

Bell told Fox59 he and Priel rode an IndyGo bus back to the Amber Woods apartments after the robbery.  At that time, Bell said Priel told him something went wrong in the house.

“When we got on the bus, he said ‘I had to do what I had do’ and I got a sick feeling, but I didn’t know what he meant by that until I watched the news,” said Bell. “I seen the news and I’m like ‘Oh my God.’”

Bell said he did not go to authorities or speak with the Crane family because he was afraid Priel would kill him.

“I know the person who actually did it and I was told not to say anything about it or I was next,” said Bell.

Bell said Priel did not have the PS3 on the bus with him but said Priel was carrying a backpack. Investigators recovered Jeremy Crane’s cell phone on the bus.  Police were then able to obtain surveillance footage from the bus, which led detectives to Priel.

Bell said he feels guilty for suggesting that Priel rob the Crane home.  He said Jeremy and Kyleigh were like his family and he would never forgive himself.

“I won’t be able to forgive myself, because that’s something I didn’t intend to happen,” said Bell. “I didn’t even know it would take that type of turn.”

The Crane family said Bell was known as “Uncle Mike.” The family told Fox59 they do not know Priel but said Bell and Jeremy were close friends.

“You wouldn’t see one without the other,” said Cathy Crane, Jeremy’s mother.

Bell said Jeremy helped him get a job at MCL Restaurant and Bakery.  The two also played football together at Warren Central High School.

“[We] did a lot of things together, wrestled on the same team,” said Bell. “Basically, he was like another little brother to me.”

Jeremy and Kyleigh were laid to rest Sunday in a private burial ceremony.

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