Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"This is probably one of the worst I've ever seen."

Two Arrested For Execution Of 7-Year-Old Girl And 21-Year-Old Man For XBox
Re-printed from a story at WTHR Channel 13 on December 21st 2011

A family friend and his accomplice were charged for the brutal killings of a girl and young man for drug money.

Indianapolis Prosecutors have filed Murder and Armed Robbery charges against two Indianapolis men in the killings of a seven-year-old girl and her 21-year-old uncle in Cumberland December 12th 2011.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry filed multiple charges against Michael Bell and Jeremy Priel including Murder, Robbery and carrying a handgun without a license. According to court documents, there were no signs of a struggle. Instead, it appears Jeremy and Kyleigh Crane lost their lives over an XBox and a PlayStation.

Michael Bell and Jeremy Priel were named in the probable cause affidavit that outlines the police investigation. Details released in court documents depict the cold, execution-style killing of Jeremy Crane.

For the first time, one of the suspects admits being at the scene, but says he didn't pull the trigger.

"This is probably one of the worst I've ever seen. This time of year especially," said Cumberland Police Chief Michael Crooke.

Records show that Bell told investigators he took Priel to the Crane home so they could rob everyone. He said Jeremy let him in to use the bathroom while Kyleigh watched cartoons on the couch. He then says he came out and Priel put a gun to his face and told him to lie down.

Bell stated Priel told everyone to get down on the ground that while Jeremy Crane was lying down Jeremy Priel walked over and shot him.

That's when Bell says he got up and started picking up an XBox and a Playstation. Bell stated that Jeremy Priel leaned over Crane very closely and shot Jeremy Crane again in the head. He then told police he ran out of the house then heard another gunshot.

Cathy Crane came home to find both her son and granddaughter bleeding on the floor in Jeremy's bedroom. While both men are facing gun charges, investigators still are not saying who pulled the trigger.

According to court documents, Bell changed his story several times. First he told investigators that he brought Priel to the neighborhood to rob this home. He later admitted that he was in fact inside.

"It would be my feeling that Bell would have gone in and been the first one in there because he wouldn't have any hesitation being there and Jeremy wouldn't have had any hesitation of him walking in," said Crooke.

"We believe that both defendants were present when this occurred but cannot yet address as to who actually fired the weapon," said Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry. "Based on the charges we filed we believe that robbery was the original motive."

"Michael Bell had lived with this family for a while and was actually the one who created this or set it up. There's discrepancies on whether they knew anyone was there or not. Michael Bell would have known because of Jeremy's truck being in the driveway," Chief Crooke said.

Crane's girlfriend Angel Dick tells of WTHR's Eyewitness News she is relieved that both men are facing such serious charges.

"It hurts to know someone I called 'brother,' who I embraced and helped, is involved. I don't think that hurt is ever going away. And I am happy something's being done and how quickly it's being done," said Dick in a statement.

Investigators say one of the game stations that Bell and Priel sold had blood from one of the victims still on it.

In a strange twist to this case, six Marion County inmates were charged with Assault for attacking and severely beating Michael Bell during the beginning of his incarceration in December 18th 2011.

Curry promised to pursue the case "vigorously."

UPDATE 04/14/2013 Micheal Bell
Micheal Bell, in a TV interview, originally denied all involvement before finally confessing to murdering a 7-year-old girl and her uncle.

After promising a vigorous prosecution of child murderer and drug addicts Micheal Bell and Jeremy Priel by pursuing a Life w/out the possibility of parole sentence Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry has offered a 100 year sentence to Bell, which his court-appointed attorney has accepted.

Bell's accomplice, Jeremy Priel, is also charged with Murder, Robbery and one count of carrying a handgun without a license. He is scheduled for a jury trial later this year.

References:
WTHR Channel 13, Formal charges filed against Cumberland murder suspects
WISH-TV Channel 8, Cumberland suspects each face 156 years