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Indiana Man Could Face Death in Alleged 'Purge' That Killed Three

by Alex Johnson /
Johnathan Cruz in a police arrest photo.Indianapolis Metropolitan Police

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Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Johnathan Cruz, the 19-year-old Indianapolis man accused of killing three men during a four-day crime spree that police likened to the 2013 horror movie "The Purge."

"This is unprecedented in the time that we've been in office," Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, who was elected in 2010, said at a news conference Tuesday morning. "The killings which have occurred here are beyond senseless."

 Johnathan Cruz in a police arrest photo. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police

Prosecutors say Cruz killed Billy Boyd and Jay Higginbotham on May 12 and Jose Alberto Ruiz on May 15 — all of whom he apparently chose at random.

Court documents allege that a juvenile witness described as a drug customer told officers that Cruz boasted that he was going on a "purge," which investigators say was a reference to the movie whose plot turns on a fictional federal law legalizing all crime for 12 hours one day a year.

"Quite simply, we allege that these were killings for sport," Curry said Tuesday.

Related: Indiana Man Charged With Three Gruesome Murders in Four-Day 'Purge'

Cruz, also known as "Sav Hunna," is charged with a total of 17 counts, including felony murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and intimidation. Prosecutors tacked on an aggravating circumstance of criminal gang involvement, which could double Cruz's sentences if he's convicted.

Three pages of exhibits filed in support of the charges allege that Cruz is a street gang leader with an animus toward black people.

The exhibits — which include social media posts and text messages under his "Sav Hunna" alias — include numerous uses of the N-word, photos and videos of Cruz flashing gang signs and documentation of phone calls and text messages in which he allegedly brags about the killing spree.

In one of the text messages, to a woman described as Cruz's girlfriend, he allegedly wrote: "U Better go on Face book and watch da videos of me shootin people I Purge every night now Since im dieing someone else Has to Alot Of people [expletive] dat"

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