Man pleads guilty in 2011 murder of Cumberland girl, uncle

Michael Bell
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An Indianapolis man has pleaded guilty to the murder of a seven-year-old girl and her uncle at a Cumberland home in 2011.

Michael Bell, 23, entered the plea to the murder charges as part of a plea agreement. He agreed to a sentence of 100 years for the crimes.

Kyleigh Crane and her uncle Jeremy Crane were killed in December 2011.

Police say robbery was the motive, and that Bell and another man stole two video games and a cell phone.

Bell is one of two suspects charged in the murders. Co-defendant Jeremy Priel is scheduled for trial later this year and faces four counts of Murder, one count of Robbery (Class A Felony) and one count of Carrying a Handgun Without a License (Class A Misdemeanor).

Prosecutors filed requests for Life Sentence Without Parole against both defendants in 2012.

Michael Bell was a Crane family friend who lived with the family for a short time. Kyleigh had even called him "Uncle Mike."

Case background

Records show that Bell told investigators he took Priel to the Crane home so they could rob everyone. He said Jeremy Crane 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.

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