- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A man pleaded guilty Friday in four drug-related killings after agreeing to a plea deal that will spare him the death penalty in exchange for four consecutive life sentences without parole.

A Marion County judge accepted Kenneth Rackemann’s plea to four counts of murder and one count of robbery during a scheduled pre-trial conference. The 26-year-old had faced a September death penalty trial in the Feb. 20, 2014, fatal shootings during a botched robbery at a drug house.

Rackemann’s plea also calls for him to serve 20 years for a robbery charge. His sentencing is set for April 29.

He backed out of an earlier plea agreement in December, telling the judge he “can’t go forward” with it, The Indianapolis Star reported (https://indy.st/23NSDMU ).

Police said Rackemann and three other people went to the house of Walter “Buddy” Burnell, 47, to rob the victims 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.

Rackemann is the second person to plead guilty in the case. Samantha Bradley, 22, pleaded guilty in August 2014 to conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in death, and is awaiting sentencing.

The case of the two other defendants, Williams and Anthony LaRussa, 28, are pending.


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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