Police were already looking for teen on day Dr. Kevin Rodgers was murdered

Formal charges filed in Kevin Rodgers murder
Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-18 14:02:37-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Detectives were already looking for Ka’Ron Bickham-Hurst in connection with a string of burglaries on the northwest side on the day they say he broke into Dr. Kevin Rodgers’ home.

Rodgers, an esteemed doctor and educator who served until his death as director emeritus of the IU School of Medicine’s emergency medicine program, was found shot to death at his house in the 7500 block of Ballinshire South Drive on Nov. 20.

Before that, though, police believe Bickham-Hurst and as many as three other juvenile suspects may have committed five other burglaries – all of them along Tuscany Lane near the intersection of Georgetown Road and 52nd Street.

TIMELINE | The murder of Dr. Kevin Rodgers

In a probable cause affidavit filed in Marion County criminal court Friday afternoon, detectives say Bickham-Hurst first appeared on their radar in connection to a string of increasingly frequent burglaries. The first occurred in the 5000 block of Tuscany Lane on Oct. 12.

A resident at that home told police unknown suspects had broken into her home through a window and stolen three televisions, gaming systems, a Dell and HP laptop, two iPads and an iPhone.

The same resident called police on Nov. 18, saying the house had again been broken into. Having already taken most of the valuables in the previous robbery, she told police all she found stolen was a Samsung Gear 3 watch.

Between Nov. 16-19, police say they’ve linked Bickham-Hurst and several juvenile suspects to four burglaries between the 4900 and 5100 blocks of Tuscany Lane. The victims reported numerous electronics items missing, including TVs and laptops.

In one of those burglaries, on Nov. 19, a victim’s 15-year-old son had a confrontation with two suspects wearing masks. The suspects punched the 15-year-old in the face, before fleeing the house with an Xbox One and an iPhone. Both suspects were described as being in their late teens to early 20s.

Detectives investigating the case learned some of the stolen items had been pawned by Bickham-Hurst on Nov. 18. They also learned a juvenile associate of Bickham-Hurst’s lived in the neighborhood just across the street from where the burglaries occurred.

Police believe Rodgers was killed shortly after 10 a.m. on Nov. 20. By 10:20 a.m. that morning, detectives looking for Bickham-Hurst in connection with the burglaries had located his Chevy Impala at the Phillips 66 gas station at the intersection of Gateway Drive and High School Road and began trailing it.

Detectives were not made aware of the homicide investigation on Ballinshire Drive until noon. Based on the 911 call made by a witness, who saw both a Chevy Impala and four young black males approaching Rodgers’ house and then later fleeing the area, detectives believed Bickham-Hurst might be involved.

Officers observing the vehicle eventually saw some of the occupants get out of the Impala and leave in a black Dodge Charger.

At 12:52 p.m., the Charger was stopped for a cracked front driver side windshield. The occupants were all identified as juveniles and eventually released, along with the vehicle.

Bickham-Hurst was stopped in his Impala just before 3:00 p.m. for an expired temporary plate and was taken in for questioning.

According to police, Bickham-Hurst admitted to pawning the stolen items, but said they had been obtained by friends who had been accumulating things over the past few weeks to pawn once he turned 18 on Nov. 10. He denied he was personally involved in any of the burglaries.

Police subsequently interviewed the other juvenile suspects who were spotted with Bickham-Hurst on the day of Rodgers’ murder.

On No. 21, investigators obtained a search warrant for the Dodge Charger stop on the day of the murder. Inside the trunk of the vehicle they found four Cathedral High School championship rings with the name “Rodgers” engraved on the side of each ring. They also found a Toshiba laptop that had been reported stolen in a separate burglary the day before.

The same day, police executed a search warrant on the Chevy Impala driven by Bickham-Hurst. Inside the trunk of the vehicle police located the Xbox One that had been reported stolen from Tuscany Drive.

Inside a third vehicle connected to the juvenile suspects which was stopped later in the evening of Nov. 20, police said they found a Polish State Arsenal Model p-38 pistol which a forensic examiner matched to all three cartridge casings found at Rodgers’ home.

On Thursday, police announced the arrests of 18-year-old Bickham-Hurst and an unidentified 17-year-old juvenile suspect on charges of murder and burglary in connection to Rodgers’ death.

Bickham-Hurst faces one count of murder and two counts of burglary in connection with Rodgers' death on Nov. 20.

Court records show Bickham-Hurst has also been charged with four counts of theft -- one from the day of Rodgers' murder, and three from an incident two days prior.

Bickham-Hurst had his first court hearing Monday morning. The judge entered a preliminary plea of not guilty on his behalf. He is held without bond. 

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