A 19-year-old Indiana man has been charged with murder after going on a four-day killing spree that was allegedly inspired by the 2013 horror hit, “The Purge.”
Jonathan Cruz is accused of killing three people during his rampage stretching from May 12-15, and according to court documents, he told a witness it was because he was “purging.”
The term stems from the futuristic horror starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey in which all crimes can be committed without fear of prosecution for a 12-hour period. Cruz allegedly sent text messages that referenced the movie.
“The charges against Mr. Cruz arise out of statements made to several witnesses, photos, videos and text messages taken from a phone seized from him when he was arrested on May 16,” Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said.
Along with the murders of Billy Boyd, Jose Ruiz and Jay Higginbotham, Cruz is also being held on charges that he kidnapped a woman at gunpoint that same week. The female victim told investigators Cruz was killing and robbing victims on the east side of Indianapolis, Fox 59 reported.
The teen is now facing a total of 17 charges, including: Three counts of murder; attempted robbery resulting in serious bodily injury; two counts of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury; armed robbery; intimidation; two counts of pointing a firearm; and criminal gang enhancement.
Prosecutors could potentially ask for the death penalty for Cruz, and they describe the victims as “100 percent random,” according to court documents.
Cruz is currently in jail for an unrelated case.
Universal Pictures’ third installment of the gory franchise titled “The Purge: Election Year” is set for release on July 1.
The first two “Purge” films have grossed more than $200 million at the worldwide box office.