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Indianapolis man gets 3 life sentences for killing spree

May 11, 2017

An Indianapolis man has received three consecutive life sentences for killing three people over four days in attacks that authorities say he justified by citing the horror movie, "The Purge."

A Marion County judge Thursday formally sentenced 20-year-old Johnathan Cruz, who pleaded guilty last month to three counts of murder. Prosecutors dropped plans to seek the death penalty. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Cruz will serve a concurrent 16-year sentence for an armed robbery that occurred during the same four-day crime spree.

Cruz was charged with fatally shooting three men during attacks on Indianapolis' east and north sides last spring. Detectives say a witness told them Cruz confessed he'd been "purging" by shooting and robbing people, referring to the 2013 movie with a plot about violent crime, including murder, being legal one night each year.

Prosecutor Terry Curry says the attacks by Cruz were "absolutely random."

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