New Details About Why Cromwell Boys May Have Shot Stepfather, Police Say They Planned It

By Laura Donaldson

June 18, 2010 Updated May 28, 2010 at 1:44 PM EDT

WARSAW, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - We now know why the Cromwell boys allegedly killed one of their stepfathers.

The sheriff is calling it one of the most "bizarre murders he's seen.” And he says the boys had been planning the shooting.

Police arrested 15-year-old Colt Lundy and two of his 12-year-old friends, Paul Gingerich and Chase Williams Wednesday for acting suspiciously in Illinois.

Just hours later, they found Lundy’s stepfather, 49-year old Phillip Danner, shot to death in his Cromwell home.

Police say Lundy and Gingerich shot Danner four times while Williams stood watch outside.

And now we know why detectives say they committed the crime.

The boys apparently wanted to sell t-shirts to "drug people" in Arizona. And they had originally planned on tying up Lundy’s mother, and then killing Danner, according to police. But the mother was in Florida on a previously planned vacation at the time of the murder.

Police say there's no sign of abuse by the stepfather.

“They had all planned on going to Arizona and needed to leave and unfortunately Mr. Danner, they were afraid, was going to contact police about their plan,” Sergeant Chad Hill with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department. “And that was part of the motive or the plot if there was even a motive or plot was that they were going to have to kill him to keep from being stopped to go to Arizona.”

Lundy and Gingerich are being charged with murder as juveniles, while Williams is charged with aiding and causing a death.

The boys are being held in a juvenile facility until a hearing next week, where they could be charged as adults. All can be charged as adults because the law says any person between age 10 and 18 can be charged as adults, depending on their crime. If charged as juveniles, the judge will hand down their sentences and it could be a number of punishments because there's no set sentencing.

But if they're charged as adults, they'd see a much stiffer penalty of up to 65-years in jail or prison, depending on where the judge puts them.

You can view the entire news release sent to Indiana’s NewsCenter by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department that contains more details by clicking on the item under “Related Content”.

We’ll continue to follow this developing story.

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