Man serving 180 years for 3 murders pleads innocent to fourth

By John Zambenini Published:

A man serving 180 years in prison in Indiana for murder has pleaded innocent to the 2003 Frankfort murder of his first cousin.

Ronnie Dontell Drane, 34, was extradited to Frankfort from an Indiana state prison in Michigan City this week to await a trial for charges he shot his cousin, Herman Buchanan.

Commonwealth's Attorney Larry Cleveland said Buchanan witnessed a double-murder that Drane committed and moved to Frankfort to hide.

Drane caught up with Buchanan and fatally shot him with a handgun March 7 at the Forest Villa Apartments on the East-West Connector, Cleveland said.

Drane was arraigned in Franklin County Circuit Court Wednesday via video-arraignment from Franklin County Regional Jail where he's being held.

"We didn't want to transport him any more than we had to," Cleveland said.

The official charges leveled against Drane are murder, criminal attempt to commit murder and wanton endangerment, his 2006 indictment said.

Extradition was a long and difficult process, Cleveland said. "Indiana wasn't through with him."

Drane was convicted of the 2002 murder of Dolores Buchanan, his aunt,and Larry Peaches Jr., a cousin,in northern Indiana, and was sentenced for to 180 years.

Herman Buchanan was wounded when Drane killed Buchanan's mother, Dolores Buchanan,and Peaches.

Drane was also convicted in 2005 for the 2002 rape and murder of Tamarra Taylor, 25, of Gary, Ind., and sentenced to 85 years.

Drane was acquitted in the 1997murder of an Indiana man.

Drane's violent history led him to be featured on a March 2004 episode of "America's Most Wanted" after making U.S. Marshals' 15 most wanted list.

Marshals apprehended Drane at a Nashville, Tenn., apartment complex where he was hiding after receiving an anonymous tip from a viewer of the television program, authorities said.

Drane is being represented by Rodney Barnes.

Cleveland said the case, which is scheduled for a Sept. 5 pre-trial conference,could go to trial in late September.

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