There’s only been one winner in the case of 12-year-old Brooke Bennett and her killer and uncle Michael Jacques. It’s definitely not Brooke after being kidnapped, raped and killed by Jacques, a sex offender who was released early after completing a ‘program’. It’s not Jacques either as he’s going to do a life sentence in federal prison. No, the only winner here is Jacques’ anti-death penalty defense attorney David Ruhnke.
Runhke not only held up the trial for years with his anti-death penalty arguments but he got the federal prosecutors and Jacques to agree to a life sentence plea. Now he’s even topped himself by getting a federal judge to agree to send Jacques to a prison in Tucson, Arizona, that has a prison population of 65% sex offenders. Your tax dollars at work. The point being that in any other prison Jacques would be a target by other non-child rapist prisoners.
Once again the rights of the criminal have become more important than the rights of the victim, or justice for that matter.
I originally posted about the murder of Felix DeJesus here. The 39-year-old father of two was gunned down in 2013 while still in his car in Hartford, Connecticut. He was selling a tablet computer and went to meet the seller since the seller said they didn’t own a car. A year passed without an arrest being made although police had a person of interest.
While a lot of transactions take place through craigslist with no incident in my opinion there’s enough that end in tragedy that cause me not to use Craigslist. To me it seems like a game of Russian Roulette anytime someone uses craigslist for no matter what purpose. Eventually someone is going to get the bullet.
UPDATE 6/30/2014: Hartford police have arrested a 2nd suspect in 20-year-old Marvin Mathis. It’s unclear at present what Mathis’ alleged role was in the murder of Felix DeJesus.
How sad is it that a craigslist murder took place and it escaped my attention. I probably got it mixed up with one of the other several dozen. What’s even more sad that in that time no one has been brought to justice for the death of Felix DeJesus.
Felix DeJesus, of Hartford, Connecticut, was engaged to be married and a father of two young children. Her was selling two tablet computers on craigslist. Normally he would meet the buyers in public but this buyer said that he didn’t have a car so Felix felt sorry for him according to his fiance and the mother of his children. Sounds like a genuinely nice guy. Unfortunately someone took advantage of Felix’s big heart.
Felix was shot and killed while still sitting in his car. Hartford police have a person of interest but no arrest has been made in the year since Felix’s murder. Hopefully it’s just a case of the police dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s. I hope that Felix’s killer is brought to justice soon.
If you’re selling something on craigslist I would advise you not to. If you decide to anyway I would recommend meeting the buyer at the local police station. That should weed out a lot of potential threats.
It’s been six long years since Michael Jacques brutally raped and murdered his 12-year-old niece, Brooke Bennett. While it hasn’t come to the conclusion I would have hoped it has finally come to a conclusion. After being called a coward by Brooke’s mother when she gave her impact statement to the court Jacques was sentenced to life in prison plus 70 years with no possibility of parole. While Vermont has no death penalty Jacques was looking at a federal death penalty since he used MySpace and the internet to lure Brooke to her death. Last August Jacques pleaded guilty in a move which saw him spared the death penalty.
In a statement at his sentencing Jacques said he was sorry and ashamed. Probably only sorry and ashamed that he got caught.
Jacques was also a registered sex offender who was released early for completing a ‘program’.
Two suspects have been arrested in the shooting death of 29-year-old Tycus Toland of Lexington County, South Carolina. Tolland and his brother were both shot when they met with a pair who said they wanted to buy Vonkeith Toland’s car that he advertised on craigslist. Vonkeith survived his injuries.
The suspects arrested were 22-year-old Justin Antonio Butler and 26-year-old Terry Renee McClure. Butler was arrested in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, while McClure was arrested in Fairfield, California on unrelated charges.
Both are facing first-degree murder charges.
Just two more names to add to the ever-expanding list of craigslist killers.
29-year-old Tycus Toland of Lexington County, South Carolina, was shot and killed over the weekend during a criagslist transaction where his brother was trying to sell his car. Tycus’ brother, Vonkeith Toland, was also shot but has survived his injuries. The suspects are still at large.
Vonkeith Toland was selling his car in craigsist and was showing it to two prospective buyers when the shooting happened killing Tycus.
Witnesses describe one of the suspects as a heavy-set black male about 5’8″ tall with short, braided dreadlocks. The second suspect is described as thin black male about 6’3″ tall with closely cropped hair.
If you have any information about this case, please call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.
This past Tuesday 26-year-old James Brown, of Sterling Heights, Michigan, was sentenced to life without parole for the murders of Renesha Landers, 23, and Demesha Hunt, 24, Natasha Curtis, 29, and Vernithea McCrary, 28. If you haven’t been following the story Brown killed the women after answering their advertisements on Backpage. The four victims were working as prostitutes but that shouldn’t devalue their lives or Brown’s sentencing.
In pairs Brown left their bodies in abandoned cars in Detroit although the murders took place at his home. One of the cars he lit on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence.
Like the coward that he is Brown stayed in his cell rather than go to court to face his sentence. I mean, how bad do you have to be for a Michigan judge to say that he wished that Brown could have been sentenced to more than just life. This coming from a state that has never had a death penalty since it was accepted into the Union.
Yet Backpage’s business continues unabated like the victims never existed or had family and friends that loved them. I’m sure you’re tired of me saying this but every penny they make from the prostitution ads is nothing but blood money. Hopefully one day there will be a reckoning for Backapge and its owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.
41-year-old Eric S. Ervin owned a car detailing service in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He was trying to sell his 2003 BMW 745i on craigslist for a while. He was said to have met a potential buyer on Tuesday that saw his car on craigslist. Instead Ervin was found dead of a gunshot wound in a trailer at his business.
A man from New York was arrested in Reading, Pennsylvania, while driving a silver BMW with a handgun in the car. Police have not yet released this person’s name stating that the investigation is still ongoing.
Again while deaths of craigslist users is a very small minority of the people who use their site the number of people being killed is still pretty alarming. Has there been this many killings through Auto-Trader? I highly doubt it. For whatever reason craigslist is a magnet for criminals who want to prey on honest people. Don’t be a victim. Stop using craigslist.
UPDATE 4/10/2014: The man who was arrested is 27-year-old Tyrell R. Young of Reading and is in the process of being charged with Ervin’s murder. Prosecutors say that they will more than likely seek the death penalty.
In the first story accused Pennsylvania craigslist killer claims that she tried to set up two men before her and idiotically named husband settled for killing Troy LaFerrara. This may actually be true. From what I’ve researched about prostitution and human trafficking a lot of men back out at the last minute before going through with soliciting the services of a pro and Barbour was posing as a prostitute. Whether or not this has any actual bearing on the investigation remains to be seen.
Then on the second story Miranda Barbour’s sister seems to make the family opinion unanimous that Miranda is a lying sack of crap. She says that Miranda’s claim of killing close to two dozen men who ‘deserved it’ comes from the TV show Dexter. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the show the titular character is a police scientist who is also a serial killer vigilante. If this is the case Barbour wouldn’t be the first criminal to claim something in entertainment as her own.
Police in Coral Springs, Florida, say that 26-year-old Jason Mageau and 18-year-old Duwayne Lewis allegedly tried robbing a man after they posted a craigslist ad promising a good deal on a cell phone. After the victim showed up to make the deal Mageau allegedly produced a gun and pistol whipped the victim. The victim went back to his car where he got his gun and shot Mageau in the chest. Mageau later died at the hospital.
Have you ever heard the expression ‘never bring a knife to a gun fight’? I guess you can also say never bring a starter’s pistol to a gun fight because that’s what Mageau’s gun was. The victim on the other hand had a real gun with real bullets.
Lewis is said to have tried to tell police that he and Mageau were victims of the robbery but police say that the evidence provided by the victim shows otherwise. Lewis has been charged with murder in Mageau’s death as Florida law states a person who assists in a crime that leads to a death may be charged in that death.
So no matter what side of the craigslist robbery you’re on just by using craigslist you’re taking your life in your hands. Even the criminals are safer not using it.