- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - An Indianapolis man whose guilty plea in a quadruple killing spared him a possible death sentence smirked and rocked back and forth in his chair Friday after a judge sentenced him to four consecutive life terms without parole.

Kenneth Rackemann, 26, told a Marion County judge that he “didn’t mean it to happen” in brief comments about the killings before he was sentenced for the Feb. 20, 2014, fatal shootings during a botched robbery at a drug house.

Security was tight outside of and inside the courtroom at Indianapolis’ City-County Building, which has a permanent metal detector at its entrance. But for Friday, deputies erected another metal detector outside the courtroom, so that all spectators at the sentencing were screened twice.

Some victims’ relatives testified about the anguish the killings have caused their families, with some admonishing Rackemann for his seemingly cocky demeanor Friday. Prosecutors cautioned against identifying those who testified “due to security and safety concerns for those individuals,” said Peg McLeish, a spokeswoman for the Marion County prosecutor’s office.

Police said Rackemann and three other people went to the house of Walter “Buddy” Burnell, 47, to rob him and others in the house of drugs and money. Court records said Rackemann fatally shot Burnell, Jacob Rodemich, 43; and Kristy Sanchez, 22, and wounded Hayley Navarro, 21.

Rackemann then directed an accomplice, Valencia Williams, 23, to kill Navarro after he ran out of bullets, court records show.

One of victims’ relatives said Sanchez had “two beautiful children” who will never see her again. Another said Rackemann had “executed two young girls,” and yet another told Rackemann he was a coward for choosing to plead guilty to avoid a possible death penalty.

Rackemann had backed out of an earlier plea agreement in December, but then agreed to plead guilty in February to avoid a scheduled death penalty trial.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said Rackemann will now “spend the rest of his life in prison.”

One of Rackemann’s co-defendants, Samantha Bradley, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and is awaiting sentencing. The cases against Williams and another co-defendant, Anthony LaRussa, are pending.


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