Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kyleigh Crane



Death penalty out in double slaying

Prosecutor will seek life without parole in Cumberland killings

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry will seek a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for two Indianapolis men charged with murder in the deaths of a 7-year-old girl and her uncle.

Prosecutors allege Michael Bell and Jeremy Priel fatally shot Kyleigh Crane and Jeremy Crane, 21, during a Dec. 12 robbery at a Cumberland home.

Bell, 22, and Priel, 25, have pleaded not guilty and are being held without bail in the Marion County Jail.

Curry had considered seeking the death penalty for Bell and Priel but opted not to after studying the case.

"This office followed our established deliberative and thoughtful process," Curry said Monday in a prepared statement, "in making our decision to request life without parole against Michael Bell and Jeremy Priel."

The process included discussions with homicide detectives and consultation with family members of the victims, according to the prosecutor's office. Aggravating factors in the case, Curry said in the release, were that the murders occurred during a robbery and that Kyleigh was younger than 12.

Josh Crane, father of Kyleigh and brother of Jeremy, said family members agree with the prosecutor's decision.

"I just wanted to make sure they weren't going to see freedom," he said.

Investigators said Bell and Priel entered the home where Jeremy Crane lived to steal PlayStation and Xbox game systems. Bell's arrest came as a shock to the Crane family because he had been a close friend of Jeremy Crane's and had once lived with him.

Jeremy's mother found his and Kyleigh's bodies when she returned to her home from work. Jeremy lived in the home and was baby-sitting a visiting Kyleigh, who had stayed home from school on the day of their deaths because of illness.

The next court appearance for Bell and Priel is scheduled for Wednesday, and their trial is set for Feb. 27.

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