UPDATE (Sept. 10, 2018)– Elijah Brooks pleaded guilty to robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. He will be sentenced on Sept. 21.
UPDATE: Accomplice Steven Clark was sentenced to 16 years in the Department of Correction with 373 days credit for time served. Cruz was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — New murder charges were filed this week in the robbery and murder spree inspired by the movie “The Purge.”
Prosecutors previously charged the alleged trigger man Jonathan Cruz with murder, but now a second man is also facing murder charges for the series of random killings last year.
On May 12 2016, near 40th and College, a robbery turned deadly. Billy Boyd died after being shot twice in the head.
Hours later on north Denny, another murder took place and Jay Higginbotham was gunned down following a stick-up.
Two days later on Linwood, a third robbery resulted in the fatal shooting of Jose Ruiz.
Last year, prosecutors charged Jonathan Cruz with all three murders, but according to court records Cruz had help on the first two killings from Elijah Brooks who prosecutors have now charged with murder for supposedly driving the getaway car following two of the shootings.
While Brooks didn’t actually pull the trigger killing two of the victim’s, prosecutors and legal experts agree he could still be held accountable for the murders.
“Driving the getaway car makes Brooks liable for two counts of murder even though he didn’t have the gun or directly shoot anyone. He could still be convicted of murder,” said attorney Jack Crawford.
Prosecutors say while Cruz was motivated by the movie “The Purge,” Brooks took part in the murder spree simply for a share of the money stolen by the randomly chosen victims.
“It’s clear that Brooks knew what Cruz was up to and he drove him around to commit these random killings and robberies knowing what he was going to do, so he’s liable for the same crimes that Mr. Cruz committed,” said Crawford.
Because prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Cruz, attorney Crawford who isn’t connected to the case thinks the murder charges against Brooks could help lead to a conviction for Cruz.
“They’re going to try to squeeze Mr. Brooks to testify against Mr. Cruz,” said Crawford. “Cruz is charged with the death penalty so they want all the testimony they can get against him.”
An initial hearing for Brooks on the murder charges has not been set.
A third suspect Steven Clark has been charged with armed robbery in connection with one of the crimes.