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Witnesses say anger over car rental cash led to June 2017 triple homicide

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Witnesses say a romantic relationship complicated by drugs and misused cash led up to a 24-year-old man fatally shooting a woman, her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s father last summer.

Police said 24-year-old Kenneth Lancaster, who faces three counts of murder, was being held in Hamilton County Jail on unrelated charges as of Friday afternoon.

Just before 10 a.m. on June 1, police were called to a residence in the 1800 block of Forsythia Drive for a welfare check after 64-year-old Mark Higgins didn’t show up for work.

They arrived to find Higgins, his son, 34-year-old Keith Higgins, and Keith’s girlfriend, 34-year-old Jessica Carte, dead of multiple gunshot wounds.

Police searched for a red Monte Carlo taken from the driveway of the home but found it the same afternoon.

Court documents provided additional details about the events leading up to their deaths.

Multiple witness accounts given to IMPD suggest that Carte and Lancaster were in a romantic relationship. Witnesses told police that Lancaster provided Carte with heroin, while he often had Carte rent cars for him.

When detectives reached out to a rental car company for additional information, they learned Carte was listed in a rental agreement for a Chevy Cruze that was kept for 35 days longer than originally secured and prompted an invoice of $5,593 that included damages to the car. That car was listed as dropped off at the rental office just before 7 a.m. on June 1.

A witness who spoke to detectives said that Carte had kept the money Lancaster gave her for the car rentals rather than paying the rental fees, and that’s why Lancaster killed her.

On June 15, detectives spoke to a number of witnesses who confirmed they had seen Carte and Lancaster together on several occasions and had seen the pair traveling in a red Monte Carlo.

Another witness who spoke to detectives on Jan. 24 said Lancaster several times had admitted to killing Higgins, Higgins and Carte. He said Lancaster wanted to be repaid the money he’d given Carte to rent vehicles and that Lancaster told Carte to come to a residence  and meet him. That’s when, according to the witness, Lancaster and his girlfriend tied up Carte and asked where the money was. The witness said Carte told them her brother had a car in storage that they could have in lieu of the money she owed. So Lancaster, his girlfriend and his cousin got into the red Monte Carlo. They picked up Lancaster’s half-brother, the witness said, then went to Forsythia Drive.

That’s where, according to the witness, Lancaster shot and killed Carte, Higgins and Higgins.

Police obtained security video that showed the red Monte Carlo taken from Forsythia Drive pulling up to the rear of a residence in the 100 block of South Catherwood Avenue just before 6:30 a.m.

The date for Lancaster’s initial hearing was not available on Friday night.

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