Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kyleigh Crane

Cumberland murder suspects appear in court

INDIANAPOLIS -While family members still don't know why anyone would murder a seven-year-old girl and her uncle, police and the prosecutor's office say they know who is responsible.
Michael Bell and Jeremy Priel appeared in court Tuesday morning to face first degree murder charges. Kyleigh Crane, 7, and Jeremy Crane, 21, were found with fatal gunshot wounds in a Cumberland home on Dec 12.

Bell and Priel were not officially charged Tuesday. Instead, prosecutors asked for 72 hours to finish putting their case together.

Details about what happened in the hours and days following the murder emerged in court documents, which show how a cell phone and video from a IndyGo bus led investigators to their suspects.
Bell and Priel appeared in front of Judge Lisa Borges Tuesday morning, where they were advised of their rights.

According to court documents, investigators traced Jeremy Crane's cell phone to a woman who told police she was on a bus the day of the murders and a man had dropped the phone as he and another man were getting off an IndyGo Bus. When he came back onto the bus she advised him of that and he told her to keep it.

When police obtained video from that IndyGo bus, the video showed exactly what the woman told investigators had happened.

"Various types of surveillance tape, surveillance records, is a major part of the case and a major part of the investigation," said Denise Robison, Marion County Prosecutor's Office.

Police showed the same bus video to two men who told police they paid Priel $40 and an ounce of pot for an Xbox and PlayStation 3 last week. Those are the same video game systems police say Priel and Bell took after the murders. The court documents say "the PlayStation 3 appeared to have blood on it when they bought it."

The men who bought the video game systems told investigators they saw news coverage about the murders and then learned an Xbox and PlayStation 3 were missing from the murder scene. They then got suspicious and called investigators.

But the two men aren't the only ones to have seen the video game systems.

Priel's fiancée told police Bell and Priel had another black bag with them, but they never opened it. She also said Bell had a gift bag with a teddy bear inside it.

According to court documents, Bell asked the woman to throw away a pair of jeans for him because they were "messed up." Investigators say the woman offered to wash the jeans, but Bell insisted she throw them out. The documents also say that Priel told his girlfriend he thought Bell's jeans had blood on them.

The prosecutor's office is not talking about whether they'll ask for the death penalty for either suspect.
"The death penalty consideration or life without parole consideration is going to be a lengthier process," said Denise Robinson, Marion County prosecutor's office.

Formal murder charges against both men are expected to be filed Wednesday afternoon. Both Bell and Priel are scheduled to be back in court Thursday morning at 9:00 am.

Case background: 

Michael Bell was a close friend of the family. The younger children in the family called him "uncle." Jeremy Crane's mother says her family was stunned by Bell's arrest.

The arrests trace back to reports of stolen weapons and a cell phone.

The gun used in the execution style killings of Kyleigh Crane and her uncle Jeremy is now in the hands of police.

Investigators have confirmed it's a match, but a northwest side gun dealer is providing a little more detail.

"I can tell you this: They got the gun, the gun got blood on it," said Don Davis of Don's Guns.

13 Investigates has also learned it's possibly one of two semi automatic weapons reportedly stolen a day before the murders.

But it wasn't until Friday, four days after the killings that a 42-year-old Indianapolis woman reported two C-9 millimeter firearms missing. She also named a 22-year-old suspect.

Read the probable cause affidavit


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