Man could face death penalty for allegedly killing 4 after stimulus check argument

AP U.S. Headlines
Malik Halfacre

This undated photo provided by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department shows Malik Halfacre. Halfacre, suspected of killing three adults and a child and abducting his baby daughter, had pulled out a gun and opened fire following a heated argument at an Indianapolis home, police said Monday, March 15, 2021. (Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis man was formally charged with murder Thursday in the killings of three adults and a child he allegedly shot to death after he and his girlfriend argued because he wanted a share of her federal COVID-19 relief money.

Malik Halfacre, 25, faces four counts of murder, one count each of attempted murder, armed robbery, auto theft and other charges in Saturday’s killings, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said at a news conference.

Halfacre allegedly shot his girlfriend, critically wounding her, and fatally shot four others inside a home where officers found the bodies of Anthony Johnson, 35, Dequan Moore, 23, Tomeeka Brown, 44, and 7-year-old Eve Moore.

The ex-girlfriend told police that Eve Moore — identified in court documents as “E.M.” — was her daughter, that Tomeeka Brown was her mother, Dequan Moore was her brother, and Anthony Johnson was her cousin, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Mears said that while the case “breaks your heart” the toughest part for him as a father of two young children is Eve Moore’s killing.

“I think everyone asks the same question about the 7-year-old: Why? She didn’t have anything to do with the stimulus check, she didn’t have anything to do with the money and she lost her life. And if that doesn’t break your heart I don’t know what will,” he said at a news conference.

Mears said that the night of the killings Halfacre allegedly had “a very spirited discussion over stimulus money” with a woman his office said he is believed to have once been in a relationship with before he left the home and then returned armed with a firearm and the argument resumed.

“During the course of this argument that continued over the stimulus money there is an allegation that he did begin to remove money from our victim’s purse and during the course of this an altercation occurred which resulted in people being shot,” Mears said.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Halfacre, who was arrested Sunday after being found in the attic of a friend’s home, told officers that after shooting everyone in the home, he took the money, the surviving woman’s purse of and her car, and left the scene with their 6-month-old daughter.

The baby was later found unharmed at the home of Halfacre’s sister, according to the affidavit.

Halfacre appeared for an initial hearing Thursday morning, where a judge advised him of his rights, ordered him held without bond and appointed a public defender for him.

Halfacre’s attorney, Laura Pitts, said she had no comment Thursday on her client’s behalf.

At the time of the shootings, Halfacre was the subject of a restraining order barring him from having contact with his ex-girlfriend or visiting the home where the shootings occurred, according to court documents.

After the shooting, Halfacre’s ex-girlfriend said she realized she had been shot and, fearing that he would kill her, told him, “Take me to the hospital’” and they both left the house, the affidavit states. When Halfacre reentered the home, she said she fled the scene and found someone who called 911.

After police arrived, she was taken in critical condition to a hospital, where Mears said she told police about the shootings and that there were other victims in the home.

“We were very fortunate that she was able to escape and survive what occurred,” he said.

Mears said the case is eligible for the death penalty because there were multiple victims, a robbery allegedly occurred and a child was killed. He said his office would be meet with the victims’ relatives to discuss that option before a decision is made on whether to pursue the death penalty.

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