CUMBERLAND, Ind. (WISH) - Two men have been formally charged after the shooting deaths of 21-year-old Jeremy Crane and his 7-year-old niece, Kyleigh.
Michael Bell and Jeremy Priel are each facing two charges of murder, one charge of robbery and one charge of carrying a handgun without a license.
A lengthy court document now spells out the investigation into the murders, along with an evening request by Bell to speak to police to "confess."
The two men continually appeared to point fingers at each other for the slayings. Priel told police in one interview he waited by a car wash area for Bell, who returned with a PlayStation and Xbox.
While in jail at 7 p.m. Monday, Bell requested to speak to police to offer a confession, court documents say. Bell began to tell police one story, but later changed it. Finally, he told police the plan was for Bell to knock on the door and ask Jeremy Crane if he could use the bathroom. Then, Priel was supposed to come in and rob everyone.
Bell described being in the bathroom when he said Jeremy Crane yelled for him to get out of the bathroom. When he did, Bell said Priel put a gun in his face and told him to get on the floor, according to the probable cause affidavit. Bell said Priel made everyone get on the ground, and then Priel shot Jeremy Crane. Due to his proximity, Bell said blood splattered on him.
Police explain in court documents that Bell's knowledge of the crime scene was so detailed that he had to have been there. Bell said after Jeremy Crane was shot, Bell got up to gather the video game systems. He said Priel shot him again. Bell said he didn't know how Kyleigh Crane was shot because he ran out of the house.
During the investigation, officers talked to multiple people who interacted with the accused men.
One witness told police Bell was in her home on the day of the deaths and was insistent about watching the news at 6 p.m., the probable cause affidavit says. When the story came on about the Cranes being found dead, the woman said Bell called them his "adopted brother" and "adopted niece." Yet, she said Bell showed little or no emotion and did not cry.
Family members of the victims characterized Bell as a close family friend who once lived in their home.
A woman associated with Priel said she introduced Priel to Bell. She said Priel's demeanor would change when he saw news coverage of the Cumberland murders, according to court documents. She also said Bell told Priel on the bus, "I laid my thing down and did what I had to do." She was the same woman Bell requested throw away his jeans, despite her offers to clean them for him.
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