Prosecutor seeks death penalty for quad murder suspect, fiancée insists they will wed

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By Kendall Downing

INDIANAPOLIS - The trigger man behind a quadruple murder on the city's southeast side could be put to death.

Tuesday the Marion County Prosecutor announced he will seek the death penalty for 24-year-old Kenneth Rackemann.

Rackemann is accused of shooting four people during a drug robbery, firing shots that killed three of them.

"It perhaps should be obvious, and that is four individuals were executed, we allege, for no good reason," said Terry Curry, Marion County Prosecutor.

Four people, 21-year-old Hayley Navarra, 22-year-old Kristy Sanchez, 43-year-old Jacob Rodemich, and 47-year-old Walter Burnell lost their lives inside the southeast side drug house, where investigators said as much as $60,000 a day in meth, heroin, marijuana, and prescription pill sales took place.

"Yes, it was a horrific act, but the punishment has to be just as swift," said IMPD Chief Rick Hite.

Four suspects are behind bars, charged with the killings, 24-year-old Kenneth Rackemann, 20-year-old Samantha Bradley, 21-year-old Valencia Williams and 26-year-old Anthony LaRussa.

But investigators say Kenneth Rackemann, also known as Cody, carried out the heinous acts, firing fatal shots at Burnell, Rodemich, and Sanchez in the robbery and wounding Navarra. According to court documents she was later shot and killed by Valencia Williams.

"I know that he sold drugs, you know what I'm saying, but he's not a killer," said Tia Brasfield.

Rackemann's fiancée Tia Brasfield found out Tuesday afternoon he could be put to death, but her focus remains marrying him, somehow. Earlier in April a judge denied their request to tie the knot. Brasfield said the couple will keep asking.

"My love is not going to change for him. I know he is completely innocent, and that's my heart. That's getting ready to be my husband," she said.

The scene of the crime, the home on South Parker Avenue to the eye remains quiet. Walter Burnell's relatives told FOX59 that home, in their family for decades, has been sold. It's one way, they said, to close the door on a painful chapter.

"We're satisfied that they're seeking the death penalty," said Penny Steele.

From California, the mother of Jacob Rodemich told FOX59 by phone she still hasn't come to terms with her son's death. Steele said she's banking on a conviction in Rackemann's case, so she can make a trip to Indianapolis.

"I'm going to try and get enough money to fly back there on the sentencing, when you get to say something," said Steele.

All four suspects are set to be in court on Aug. 14. Prosecutors believe while Kenneth Rackemann was the trigger man, Anthony LaRussa was the brains of the conspiracy. The two are cousins.

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