INDIANAPOLIS - Two teenage brothers pleaded not guilty to charges that they robbed and killed an Iraq War veteran last week.
Tryon Kincade, 19, and Tyshaune Kincade, 18, made their initial court appearance Tuesday. Witnesses said the brothers were calm and composed as they faced the judge for the first time.
The Kincades each face murder, felony murder and robbery charges for their suspected roles in the fatal shooting of Sgt. 1st Class James Vester.
According to court documents, Vester, 32, answered an ad on Craigslist to buy an iPad as a Christmas gift for his parents.
Vester exchanged text messages with the pair and agreed to meet them at the Wyckford Commons apartment complex. Police said Vester was robbed, shot and killed.
Court documents also said that Vester had asked friends to tag along with him to buy the iPad, and when they couldn’t, he borrowed a gun because he was concerned about the neighborhood.
"If you are making a purchase over Craigslist and the person wants to meet with you meet in a public place, don't go into a neighborhood with which you are unfamiliar. Be aware of your surroundings," Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson said.
According to court documents, the Kincades may have been involved in four other Craigslist robberies since Oct. 15.
Police traced the brothers’ cellphone numbers to other Craigslist scams and robberies, documents said.
"I don't know how long this has been going on. Relatively recently for our evidence against these defendants. There is no evidence to harm other individuals. There is evidence to robberies and armed robberies that occurred," Robinson said.
Authorities said Vester’s phone records showed he called two cellphone numbers to arrange the sale, and both of those numbers have been linked to the brothers.
Police said those numbers were also linked to another robbery that injured Scott Pilloud and his friend.
Pilloud said he was injured when robbers tried to yank him out of his car when he accompanied a friend responding to a Craigslist ad for an iPhone in October.
"She screamed, ducked down on the ground, and I looked over and saw that the guy had put the gun in her stomach when she had and I yelled," Pilloud said.
Authorities are investigating other robberies that could be linked back to the brothers.
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Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas