INDIANAPOLIS — Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said he will consider filing for the death penalty against Malik Halfacre, the man accused of killing four people on the near eastside Saturday night in an argument over a stimulus check.
Mears said before he makes that call, he will take into account the wishes of Jeanettrius Moore, who survived the shootings along with the infant daughter she shares with Halfacre.
Moore’s uncle told FOX59 that his niece was a hero for saving her baby’s life and trying to convince Halfacre to leave the house at 338 ½ Randolph Street after the killing spree began.
“I gotta say Jeanettrius was a beast, and she was a soldier,” said Shawn Brown. “With all the confusion she still had the presence of the mind to say, ‘Okay, let me get him at least out of here. At least if I can get him away from here, at risk of losing my own life, let me go with this crazed maniac so that others might live.’
“If that’s not what a hero is, I don’t know what is. That’s gotta be the bravest thing she’s ever done in her whole life.”
New details emerged about the shootings, most of them from Halfacre’s account, in a probable cause affidavit that was released as Mears announced the crime had all the hallmarks of a death penalty case.
“The first is that we have multiple victims in a single incident. The second is that there was a robbery that took place during the course of this incident and the third and final factor is there is a child who lost their life as a result of this. In this particular case the child is of seven years of age.”
Eve Moore died along with her grandmother Tomeeka Moore, her uncle Daquan Moore and cousin Anthony Johnson.
“It breaks your heart,” said Mears, “and you think about a seven-year-old losing their life and I think everybody asks the same question about the seven-year-old: why? She didn’t have anything to do with this stimulus check. She didn’t have anything to do with the money and she lost her life and if that doesn’t break your heart, I don’t know what will.”
As FOX59 first reported Monday, the killings stemmed over Halfacre’s demand that Jeanettrius share with him her $1400 stimulus payment.
Family members told FOX59 News that Jeaneattrius quarreled with the father of her child and finally agreed to give him $450 but Halfacre disagreed with that settlement.
Moore told IMPD homicide detectives that Halfacre responded, “if he couldn’t have the amount he wanted, he didn’t want any of it.” Moore said Halfacre left the house and stared at her with an “evil” look. Halfacre then returned later and made another demand for the money. Citing his earlier claim that, “he didn’t want any of it,” Moore refused to turn over the money and Halfacre began rifling through her purse.
That’s when Daquan Moore stepped in to his sister’s defense.
After his arrest, according to the PC, Halfacre told IMPD homicide detectives that Daquan retrieved Jeanettrius’ pink 9mm handgun and approached him holding the gun in a downward position. “Mr. Halfacre said he grabbed onto the gun with his left hand and drew his own gun from his side,” according to the PC. “He said Dequan then grabbed Mr. Halfacre’s gun with his left hand so that they were standing face to face each grabbing the other’s gun. Mr. Halfacre said he fired first because he knew whoever fires first would be the one who lives. Mr. Halfacre said that Dequan fired one time. Detective Edwards asked him how many times he had fired. Mr. Halfacre responded that he fired ‘a lot.’”
Police recovered at least two spent 9mm shells from the crime scene and several .40 caliber shell casings on the home’s second floor.
Halfacre told police that his alleged victims “ganged up on him in the argument,” but he claimed to not know how Eve, the seven-year-old, was shot.
Halfacre offered conflicting versions of the chronology of the killings, though detectives have been told Johnson apparently survived the first round of gunfire.
Jeanettrius was also wounded and told her family that she convinced Halfacre to leave the home by a backdoor to her car which was parked just off an alley. After Halfacre strapped their daughter into a child safety seat, he returned to the house over the objections of Moore to retrieve a bottle of milk. She believes that’s when Johnson, who was found in a crouching position on the stairs descending from the second floor, was fatally wounded while trying to escape. Jeanettrius then ran from the alley and across East New York Street to seek help. A neighbor told police that it was at about that time when a man who she recognized from visiting the house often came to her door asking if she had seen his girlfriend.
“Jeanettrius was a fluke, and she knew it,” said Brown, “and that’s why she ran when he went back in that house because she knew in the back of her mind that she would not make it, even if she got in the car with him, she knew the possibility was he was not going to the hospital. ‘We’re going in the alley so I can put a bullet in your head and dump you out.’”
While Jeanettrius fled for her life, Halfacre delivered his infant daughter to his sister in the vicinity of 7500 North Shadeland Avenue, abandoning Jeanettrius’ car and calling a friend for a ride.
Halfacre told police her threw his gun and the 9 mm from the car as he drove but investigators were unable to find the weapons.
The next day, detectives tracked Halfacre to a duplex in the 6200 block of East Ridge Road where he surrendered after a four-hour-long SWAT standoff after tear gas was fired into the home.
“I’m glad so very glad the death penalty is on the table,” said Brown. “The only thing that is missing is for us to be there to watch the light go out from his eyes, to see him have the fear in his eyes that we know our family members had when he was standing over them with a gun taking their lives for no reason at all.
“I want him to feel that pain and that misery and I just don’t feel like him being alone in that cage is enough.”
Mears said he will consult family members before announcing his capital punishment decision.
“The family members that were here last night, we took an impromptu poll,” said Brown, “and we were all in favor of the death penalty.”
Brown said that the family has been touched by the outreach from strangers and celebrities who have offered financial assistance to pay for funeral services, yet Jeanettrius continues to struggle with what happened.
“My niece is broken in ways that I don’t think she will ever heal from,” he said. “PTSD ain’t got nothing on what she’s going through.”
The family is planning on a balloon release memorial event at Washington Park this weekend.
“There is a lot of healing to do. There is a lot of hurt and broken people,” said Brown. “There are so many families affected and hurt and broken but it’s making us closer.”