Johnathan Cruz: Triple Murder Suspect Inspired By ‘The Purge’ Faces Death Penalty

Alleged teenage killer Johnathan Cruz faces three murder charges for his 4-day Hollywood-style crime spree that was inspired by the movie The Purge.

The Indiana teen is accused of taking three lives on the city’s east side last month. According to police reports, Billy Boyd was Cruz’s first victim. Cruz shot and killed Boyd during a robbery in Indianapolis on May 12th. A few hours later, he committed another robbery and another murder when he shot and killed Jay Higginbotham, reports.

Jose Ruiz became murder victim #3 when he was shot and killed a few days later. Unbelievably, Johnathan’s friends and family members turned a blind eye to his killing spree, which he documented in text messages, referring to his rampage as “purging” in conversations and in videos on his cell phone.


The Purge is a series of social science fiction action horror films that take place in a future America where every year all crime is legalized for 12 hours. A third film is due for release on July 1, 2016. Check out the trailer for it below. The first film grossed $89.3 million, far surpassing its $3 million budget. The second film grossed $111.9 million against its $9 million budget. The films were produced by Jason Blum and written and directed by James DeMonaco.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Troy Riggs said tips from the community helped them bust Cruz. “It’s rare — but we have seen it before. Certainly I think there’s a tendency to get emboldened after you commit that first act and get away with it and continue with it,” Denise Robinson, deputy prosecutor said.

“They’re making him out to be some kind of violent, crazy person and he’s not. He has a three-month-old daughter and yes, he had issues, but he wasn’t that violent — like, he’s not evil like they’re making him out to be. He’s fun, but not violent,” Angela Barger, Cruz’s girlfriend said.

“I highly doubt that he done it — cuz it’s not him. I’ve known him for two years and have a kid with him. Everybody can have a temper, but it doesn’t mean you have to shoot someone. He doesn’t have to be a serial killer like you all are saying. His daughter has to miss out on his life now because people want to be immature. People who are testifying against him, saying that he has done this stuff are trying to get themselves out of trouble. But they’re supposedly friends,” said Ricki Coine, Cruz’s baby momma.

Cruz “talked about leaving town after he’d started his “purge,” according to court documents. The 19-year-old told one of his girlfriends that he needed to leave Indianapolis “asap,” and when his mother texted him asking why he saved a screenshot about the victims, he advised her to delete the article. The Washington Times reports that Johnathan’s victims were completely random. After Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced charges against Cruz, Mayor Joe Hogsett released a statement.

“Senseless acts of violence such as those alleged in this case are incomprehensible, but thanks to the swift actions of IMPD detectives, Prosecutor Terry Curry and witnesses willing to come forward, we are one step closer to providing answers for these victims’ families.”

The “Purge killer” now faces three murder charges in connection with the shooting deaths of Billy Boyd and Jay Higginbotham on May 12, and Jose Ruiz on May 15. According to the Indianapolis Star, Cruz also faces “a slew of other felony charges connected to the alleged crimes, including robbery, intimidation and more. Prosecutors are also pursuing a criminal gang enhancement,” and they may seek the death penalty. Cruz is charged with 17 counts and he is being held without bond.

[Image via Shutterstock]