Families of victims react to sentencing of Indianapolis ‘Purge’ killer

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The man who went on a two-day killing spree that prosecutors say was inspired by the movie “The Purge” will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Johnathan Cruz, 20, admitted to killing three people nearly a year ago.

The sentencing hearing lasted for less than hour. Afterwards, family members left the courtroom saying, “Thank you Jesus.”

They say they’re ready for closure.

“Relieved. I’m glad that it’s over,” said Jennifer Darby, when asked how she’s doing.

Darby is Billy Boyd’s sister. Boyd was gunned down May 12, 2016, in the 3900 block of College Avenue.

“It’s been difficult, but we made it through. We have our sister nights, and we spend more time together. We also lost her father. Billy was the caretaker for him. So we actually became closer,” she said.

Darby says her brother was caring for their father, who was dying of cancer, when he was gunned down by Johnathan Cruz.

Cruz pleaded guilty to killing Boyd, Jay Higgenbotham and Jose Alberto Ruiz. Prosecutors say the crime spree was modeled after the movie “The Purge.”

“The thought that someone would kill three innocent lives for sport is just beyond comprehension,” said Terry Curry, the Marion County prosecutor.

While reading her impact statement on the stand, Darby told Cruz she hopes he asks for repentance and that she’ll pray for him.

Before leaving the stand, she also forgave him.

“We’ll never forget, but in order to move forward, we have to somehow forgive,” she said

Originally this was a death penalty case. In order for the prosecutor to accept a plea deal, all three families had to agree to it.

Darby said she agreed to the sentence because she doesn’t believe in the death penalty.

“I think that when you have people that actually paying their debt to society, the death penalty is the easy way out,” she said.

It’s still unclear where Cruz will serve his sentence. The judge wanted him to go to Michigan City, but for his safety, his lawyers asked he be sent to Pendleton. The final decision will be made by the Department of Correction.

Elijah Brooks and Steven Clark still have cases pending for their roles in this crime spree.

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