Alan Hruby apparently cried today during his preliminary hearing, weeping upon hearing testimony from the family housekeeper who found the dead bodies of Hruby’s father, mother and sister inside their Duncan home last October.

Hruby, a former OU student who was expelled from the school following his arrest, stands accused of killing his parents and sister last year in a ploy to collect the family inheritance.

Alan Hruby. Courtesy photo

Alan Hruby. Courtesy photo

The news for Hruby got worse Tuesday afternoon: According to Stephens County court records, District Attorney Jason Hicks filed a Bill of Particulars, a move signaling his desire to seek the death penalty.

Hruby was apparently a shopaholic, who friends said loved to live lavishly (his family lived in the wealthiest neighborhood in Duncan, and his father, John Hruby, was publisher of a number of small newspapers.) After allegedly killing his family members, the teenager (he just turned 20 last month) traveled to Dallas for the OU-Texas football game, stayed in a ritzy hotel and partied with his friends.

Hicks said the killings were motivated by money. Hicks told a judge Alan Hruby was upset that his parents had cut him off financially (Hruby had apparently gotten a credit card in his grandmother’s name and then used it while on an overseas trip. When he was arrested for the three homicides, stolen checks were found in his Jeep, a vehicle his parents had bought him as a graduation present.)

It seems hard to believe it’s been eight months since I made a series of trips to Duncan immediately following the killings. A triple homicide in a quiet town like Duncan is fairly rare, though the Christopher Lane shooting the year before had brought some national spotlight there. (Incidentally, one of the people involved in Lane’s killing was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday.)

The first day I was in Duncan, I sat in the lobby of the police department for at least an hour, hoping to interview chief Danny Ford. A neighbor of the Hruby family was adamant that the son had been behind the shootings and that rumor was already spreading through Duncan and nearby Marlow, where John Hruby published the Marlow Review newspaper.

The police department there is small, with only a small wooden door between the lobby and the guts of the department. While sitting next to that door, I heard two police officers discussing how John Hruby had reported his handgun missing recently, and their belief that Alan Hruby had been the shooter.

The next day, I returned to Duncan, after receiving a phone call from Hicks saying Hruby was going to be charged with the killings. During the three-hour drive there, I wondered if Hicks would push for the death penalty. At that point, the alleged money motive hadn’t been publicized, but you had to believe that the death penalty was on the table following a triple-homicide. Hicks was non-committal when I asked him at Hruby’s arraignment.

Hruby sat in the courtroom that day in the witness stand, trembling, his voice mousy. When he spoke, his voice cracked, and because he is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs just 135 pounds, he sounded and looked more like a teenager caught shoplifting than an adult facing three first-degree murder charges.

But when you looked at the faces of his family members in attendance, they were hard and unflinching. As they left the courtroom, none of them spoke to Hruby, and most didn’t even look in his direction.

When I walked out of that courthouse, I left thinking that prosecutors seeking the death penalty was a near certainty.