Horror film “The Purge” has inspired copycat murders.
Indiana resident Johnathan Cruz is facing 3 counts of murder and other crimes, saying that he was inspired by the 2013 film, “The Purge”.
The film, starring Ethan Hawke (who played Vincent, in 1997 Gattaca) and Lena Headey (who plays Cersei Lannister, in HBO’s Game of Thrones), takes place in a dystopian United States where all crimes are legal for a full 12 hour period. 19 year old Johnathan Cruz, however, murdered three people in a span of four days, calling it a “purge”, referencing the movie.
His victims, Billy Boyd, Jay Higgenbotham, and Jose Ruiz were all shot. Boyd and Higgenbotham were killed on May 12th; Boyd had a gun wound to the head, while Higgebotham had multiple gun wounds. On May 15th, Ruiz was found in his car with a gun wound to the neck.
Allegedly, Cruz was obsessed with violence, and his girlfriend claims that he was “hellbent on taking lives”, especially black lives. Although some believes that Cruz may have been working in connection to a gang, due to other seemingly random crimes in the same area at the same time, prosecutors are describing the crimes as “100 percent random”.
This is certainly not the first time where movies and music have influenced violence individuals to murder; The Beatle’s Helter Skelter sent Charles Manson and his followers into a killing frenzy in 1969, and in 2012, The Dark Knight’s Joker had James Holmes gunning down an audience at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises. In 1993, the murder of 2 year old James Bulger was thought to be triggered by Child’s Play 3, another horror movie that had been rented months before the murder by one of the young murderer’s father.
Cruz is being charged today with murder, robbery, felony, gang involvement, and intimidation; he could be facing the death penalty.