‘Purge’ shooter pleads guilty to murder, robbery

A suspect in Indianapolis’ May 2016 “purge” killing has pleaded guilty to murder and felony armed robbery, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office announced Friday.

Johnathan Cruz pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of murder and one count of Level 3 felony armed robbery for his role in the shooting deaths of Billy Boyd, Jay Higginbotham and Jose Ruiz. Evidence obtained during an investigation of the three shooting deaths, which occurred on May 12 and May 15, 2016, showed that Cruz told witnesses he was “purging,” a reference to the horror film “The Purge” in which all crimes, including murder, are sanctioned for 24 hours.

Boyd’s body was discovered in the 3900 block of North College Avenue on the morning of May 12, and Higginbotham was shot and killed later that day in the 900 block of North Denny Street. Ruiz was killed in the early morning hours of May 15 near the intersection of East Washington Street and North Linwood Avenue.

“Pursuant to the agreement, Johnathan Cruz has admitted to the absolutely senseless murders of Billy Boyd, Jay Higginbotham, and Jose Ruiz, for which he will spend his life in prison with no possibility of parole,” Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said in a statement. “We are pleased that this resolution will provide certainty and finality for the families of Billy Boyd, Jay Higginbotham and Jose Ruiz.”

Cruz’s armed robbery plea relates to an assault on the morning of May 14, 2016, when a victim reported an assault and armed robbery in Indianapolis. Steven Clark has also been charged in connection with that robbery.

The case against a second suspect in the murders, Elijah Brooks, is still pending.

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