Formal charges filed against Cumberland murder suspects
Prosecutors have filed murder and robbery charges against two Indianapolis men in the killings of a seven-year-old girl and her 21-year-old uncle in Cumberland Dec. 12.
Wednesday afternoon, 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 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.
Curry promised to pursue the case "vigorously."