INDIANAPOLIS – A prosecutor announced Tuesday he would seek the death penalty for one of two men accused of gunning down seven family members during a robbery, three of them children.
In announcing the filing of seven counts of murder against Desmond Turner, 28, and James Stewart, 30, Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said he would seek the death penalty against Turner and could decide later to seek it for Stewart.
Brizzi said he only sought the death penalty against "the most evil of offenders" and that he believed Turner "fits the description."
Earlier Tuesday, a judge assigned death penalty-certified public defenders to represent the two men accused in the June 1 killings.
Turner was expressionless as he was led into the Marion Criminal Courtroom of Judge Robert Altice. Altice appointed the public defenders and set initial hearings for Wednesday for Turner and Stewart.
Brizzi described the scene inside the Indianapolis home where the seven bodies were found as a "house of horrors." Police found three generations of family members, each shot in the head and torso. The youngest was just 5 years old.
"Turner is a serial killer who did all of his work in one day," Brizzi said after the hearing.
The two men allegedly targeted the house on the city's east side because they believed it held a safe filled with money and cocaine, according to documents filed by prosecutors. But the rumor of money and valuables was fiction, a deputy police chief has said.
Stewart searched for the safe upstairs but found nothing, then went downstairs, where he found that Magno Albarran, 29, had pulled a gun on Turner, according to the documents.
Stewart told investigators that he fired at Albarran and that Turner then "started shooting everybody."
As Turner continued the rampage, Stewart said he pleaded with him "not to 'go back there' and not to shoot the kids," referring to the bedrooms where the bodies of three children were found, according to the affidavit filed in Marion County Criminal Court.
Albarran was killed along with his 22-year-old sister, Flora Albarran, who was pulled into the house around 10 a.m. when she arrived to pick up her 5-year-old son, Luis.
Luis was also killed, along with the Albarrans' mother, Emma Valdez, 46, and Alberto Covarrubias, 56, who was the father of Valdez's younger sons, Alberto Covarrubias, 11, and David Covarrubias, 8.
Police arrested Stewart after a traffic stop the day after the killings based in part on information from witnesses who heard the shootings and watched as the gunmen fled the home. Turner turned himself in at a fast-food restaurant Saturday.
Also Tuesday, hundreds of mourners paid their final respects to the elder Alberto Covarrubias at St. Mary Catholic Church, the downtown congregation that welcomed the Mexican immigrant 30 years ago when he arrived in Indianapolis.