Marion County prosecutor to seek death penalty in February quadruple murder

Four people were killed in the February 20 shooting
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Prosecutor Terry Curry will be seeking the death penalty in a February quadruple homicide case.

Curry said he will seek the death penalty for the alleged triggerman, Kenneth Rackemann, in connection with the February 20, 2014, murders of Walter Burnell, Jacob Rodemich, Kristy Sanchez, and Hayley Navarro near Beech Grove.

The prosecutor says Rackemann was on parole at the time of the murders and that he was committing a robbery when the murders occurred. The fact that four people were killed is another aggravating factor in the decision to pursue the death penalty.

Rackemann, 24, Samantha Bradley, 20, Valencia Williams, 21, and Anthony Larussa, 26, were arrested in the case. Investigators claim they were trying to rob the victims of drugs and money from the sale of illegal narcotics. IMPD Chief Rick Hite said the suspects were involved in the drug trade with the victims, but the group had recently broken up.

"The punishment meets the crime in this case, ladies and gentlemen. No one who can give a life should be able to take one. In this case they took four," said Chief Hite. "If you're involved in this type of activity, you'll be brought to justice. This should be a deterrent. Just the fact that the prosecutor very rarely uses the death penalty says that the community gets it and that society says 'No more.'"

The last time Curry's office sought the death penalty was in the shooting death of IMPD Officer David Moore. Thomas Hardy was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in 2012. Officer Moore's parents did not want to seek the death penalty.

In any death penalty case, the combined costs to the courts and public defender will exceed seven figures - something Curry is well aware of.

"That is just one of the many reasons why we need to exercise significant discretion in making this decision," Curry said.

Curry has not yet determined to seek the death penalty against 25-year-old Major Davis Jr., who is accused of fatally shooting IMPD Ofc. Perry Renn in an east Indianapolis alley July 5.

"I understand very well that the public is angry about the killing of Officer Renn. I assure you I'm not even close to being over how angry I am over the murder of Officer Renn. However, being mad is the single worst basis for making this sort of decision, so we will follow precisely the same procedure in evaluating that homicide as we do in every single one and we will make a decision in due course," Curry said.

The prosecutor said the decision to seek the death penalty against Rackemann will have no impact on if he decides to seek the same for Davis.

"If we make that decision, we will accomplish that. Again, that's all premature, but we feel, I feel, that we have to make the decision in these matters based upon the circumstances on every single case," Curry said. "If it means that, ultimately, we have two cases pending at a time, then we will figure out how to do that."