(Reuters) - An Indiana man charged with three counts of murder and a slew of other charges for a crime spree last month had referenced "The Purge," a movie about a day where all crimes are legal, court records showed.
Jonathan Cruz, 19, is set to appear in court on Thursday for a hearing on 17 charges, Marion County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Peg McLeish said. In addition to the murder charges he faces several counts of robbery, attempted robbery, and intimidation.
A woman who purchased drugs from Cruz told Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Detective Brian Schemenaur that during the four-day shooting and robbery rampage last month, Cruz told her he had been "purging," according to a probable cause affidavit.
In the 2013 horror-thriller film "The Purge," which stars Ethan Hawke, the U.S. government allows an annual 12-hour period where all crimes, including murder, are legal.
A sequel titled "The Purge: Election Year," the third film in the franchise, is due out in theaters next month.
Cruz was arrested on May 16 on separate charges of criminal confinement, kidnapping, intimidation and battery, the prosecutor's office said. A second man, Steven Clark, was also charged for his role in one of the robberies.
McLeish said Cruz would be assigned an attorney at Thursday's hearing.
The Indianapolis Star newspaper said Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry called the shootings apparently "100 percent random."
If convicted, Cruz could face the death penalty or life in prison, the newspaper said.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco, editing by G Crosse)