JEHOVAH'S WITNESS MENTAL HEALTH and
JW FAMILICIDE & OTHER JW-ON-JW CRIMES
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The following criminal and other cases, in which the Jehovah's Witnesses religion served as the spiritual element of the perpetrators' and/or other actor's formative environment, or otherwise served as one of the major influencers of the perpetrators' and/or other actor's behavior, are often tragic, and speak for themselves. Court Cases involving Jehovah's Witness Criminals who have been convicted of stealing money from their fellow Jehovah's Witnesses, and similarly related crimes, are summarized on a sister website. Click HERE for FIVE webpages of financial related court case summaries.
Yes, it is true. The PSYCHIATRIC UNIT at a small city's Hospital was known as "THE KINGDOM HALL" back in the 1980s-1990s.
A retired Psychiatrist, who had practiced in a lightly populated locale, where the numbers of "Jehovah's Witnesses" were sparse, was recently asked whether he had treated many Jehovah's Witnesses over the years. Pausing to thoughtfully form his answer, he smiled and stated, "Let's just say that there must be a whole lot of Jehovah's Witnesses living in my neck of the woods."
VIRGINIA v. DAVID HERNANDEZ SHUMAKER is an ongoing 2013-14 Virginia criminal court case which involves a 28 year-old Jehovah's Witness Minister named David H. Shumaker, of Rochelle, Virginia. The ALLEGED victim is an unidentified, recently divorced 38 year old Jehovah's Witness female who attends the same Culpepper Virginia Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.
On the morning of December 17, 2013, David Shumaker borrowed a "friend's" car to drive to the Richardson Elementary School, in Culpepper, where he waited for the victim to bring her children. While the victim was inside the school, Shumaker donned a ski mask and hid inside the victim's van. When the victim entered her van, Shumaker threatened her with a knife, and told her to drive away. However, the victim escaped from her van and ran inside the school building. Leaving the knife and mask behind, Shumaker ran after the victim inside the school. There, school officials locked Shumaker inside an office and called 9-1-1 as he attempted to explain that the whole matter was nothing but sexual "role-playing".
David H. Shumaker allegedly told police that he and the 38 year-old Jehovah's Witness Divorcee had had a previous sexual relationship, and that he had simply been attempting to fulfill one of her "rape fantasies". The victim denied such, and alleged that Shumaker had been "stalking" her, and that he had even once been found inside her home. Interestingly, media reports indicate that the victim has written letters to Shumaker during his incarceration. In February 2014, David Shumaker was indicted on three felony charges -- abduction with the intent to defile, carjacking, and wearing a mask in public. It will be interesting to see if this case ever sees the light of a courtroom. Something tells me that the prosecutor is going to find that his principal witness is less and less cooperative.
NAMIBIA v. SELMA NAMBI was a 2014 criminal court case. After denying the crime for five months, while allowing others to be accused of such, in July 2014, a female Jehovah's Witness named Selma Nambi, age 21, admitted that she had stolen $4000.00 USD from fellow Jehovah's Witness Nadia Lourdes Manuel Da Silva, with whom she lived. Having pled guilty and made partial restitution, she was handslapped with a fine and no jailtime. Selma Nambi used the stolen money to pay for tuition, books, etc. at the Polytechnic of Nambia.
ANOTHER MURDER-SUICIDE. In January 2014, Terry Johnson, age 58, of Berea, Ohio, walked into the MetroHealth Medical Center, in Cleveland, Ohio, where she was being treated for mental health issues on a then out-patient basis, pulled a handgun, and fatally shot herself in the head. Several hours later, security guards found Donald Johnson, age 61, dead inside a vehicle parked in the Medical Center's parking garage. He too had been fatally shot in the head. Reportedly, the Johnsons had separated about two years previous after filing bankruptcy, but had remained married, and had recently discussed re-uniting. Online observers report that the Johnsons were Jehovah's Witnesses.
SHEDDRICK MILLER MURDER-SUICIDE. In January 2014, an African-American family of four living just outside Irmo, South Carolina, whom neighbors identified as very active Jehovah's Witnesses, were found dead in their bedrooms by Sheddrick Miller's mother, who was checking on the family after not hearing from them for several days. Sheddrick Miller, age 38, his wife Kia Miller, age 28, and their 3 year-old son and one year-old daughter, had all been shot in the head with a handgun found lying near the father. The family had just recently returned from a vacation at Disney World over the holidays.
CALIFORNIA v. RUBEN RAMIREZ is an ongoing 2013 California MURDER case. In May 2013, a probably "illegal Mexican" named Ruben Ramirez, age 27, was arrested and charged with the stabbing-murder of his Jehovah's Witness Mother, Yolanda Ramirez, age 48, at the Ramirez family home in unincorporated Santa Clara County, in east San Jose. Reportedly, Luis Herrera-Martinez, father of the only surviving stabbing victim, Joclyn Herrera, age 3, along with an unidentifed neighbor, discovered the stabbed-injured Jossie Herrera at the Ramirez home at around 3:00 P.M. on a Wednesday afternoon in May 2013. Herrera and the neighbor also found the deceased corpses of Yolanda Ramirez and her grandson Gabriel Ortiz, age 1. The mother of Joclyn Herrera is Jazani Ramirez, and the mother of Gabriel Ortiz is Monica Ramirez -- both being sisters of Ruben Ramirez, and daughters of Yolanda Ramirez.
Interestingly, Arturo Maries, COBE (Coordinator of the Body of Elders) of the Las Palmas Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses coincidentally just so happened to be at the Ramirez family home when the news media arrived. Arturo Maries told the media that the occupants of the home was a "normal family" who "attended his church regularly," that is, all EXCEPT for the then suspected perpetrator, Ruben Ramirez, whom Arturo Maries said "has a sickness." The WatchTower Society Spokesperson related that the Ramirez family members had voiced concerns that Ruben had not been taking his medication for his mental condition.
While neighbors told the media that Ruben Ramirez lived at the Ramirez family home, "someone" told the media that the "mentally ill" Ruben Ramirez "frequented homeless shelters". In any case, the "mentally-ill" Ruben Ramirez managed to escape to San Francisco, where he was arrested less than six hours after the crimes were reported to police. "Someone" also told the media that the Ramirez family home was typically "UNUSUALLY QUIET", while neighbors told the media that police had been called to the home on multiple occasions due to disturbances caused by Ruben Ramirez. Neighbors also reported that they were afraid of Ruben Ramirez. Joclyn Herrera reportedly spent serveral weeks recovering at a local San Jose hospital. Given the stabbing injuries, it would be interesting to know if father Luis Herrera-Martinez or mother Jazani Ramirez refused to consent to blood transfusions, and whether such added to the medical expenses?
CROWN v. C.C. was a 2009-13 Toronto, Ontario, Canada criminal court case in which a 45 year-old black illegal immigrant male from St. Lucia was convicted of sexually assaulting and impregnating a 21 year-old non-relative black female immigrant also from St. Lucia. The victim was the mentally retarded daughter of the perpetrator's neighbor. One expert testified that she functioned intellectually only at the level of a normal three to five year old child. The court ruled that the victim did not have the legal capacity to consent to sexual intercourse, nor did the perpetrator have an honest but mistaken belief that she had legal capacity to consent to sexual intercourse.
This case is posted here because the victim, who was deemed to not even understand sex or pregnancy, nor understood the fact that she was pregnant, was taken to Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital on June 12, 2009, by her 24 year-old "JEHOVAH WITNESS" sister, where the 14 weeks-old BABY was ABORTED. JW Sister lied to her retarded sister and told her that she was being taken to the hospital because she was "sick". The victim did not understand what was done to her at the hospital, much less the consequences.
The victim had been cared for by her JW Sister most of her life. They had lived with relatives in St. Lucia after their Mother moved to Toronto in 1990. The two sisters joined their Mother in Toronto in 2007. In the court opinion, the victim's sister was identified as a busy "Jehovah Witness". The same judge who didn't know that the correct term is "Jehovah's Witness", also described the victim's Mother as a busy "Christian", who went to "church" on Sundays, and who, when home, "she was reading the bible or studying and praying to get ready for teaching Sunday school". I'm guessing that the Mother was also a "Jehovah Witness", and that this was a "Jehovah Witness" family who decided that ABORTION was preferable to rearing their own daughter/sister's child.
VIVIANE ROY (plus her three adult SEGBEFIA children) v. CANADA ET AL is an ongoing 1999-2013 Supreme Court of Canada civil court case in which the widow and three step-children of a Jehovah's Witness Minister, named Germain Roy, are seeking compensation for his death in December 1998, which occurred while he was in the "drunk tank" at the White Rock, B.C. RCMP station.
Viviane Segbefia Roy is an Egyptian immigrant who met Germain Roy in Montreal in 1990. Germain Roy financially assisted Viviane Segbefia until they married in 1992. In early 1995, the Roy family declared bankruptcy, and Viviane Segbefia Roy and her three children moved to Vancouver. After pursuing a compensation claim with S.A.A.Q. for a 1984 automobile accident injury, Germain Roy rejoined his family in Vancouver in late 1996. Awarded a pension of $2000.00 per month, along with a retroactive lump sum payment of $80,000.00, the Roys' life was described as "socially active", "happy", and "centered in the Jehovah Witness community". They purchased a condo in White Rock in November 1997 (foreclosed after Roy's death).
On December 17, 1998, at around 7:30 P.M., Germain Roy, age 57, was arrested by RCMP officers in the parking lot of a White Rock pub after a patron found Roy so drunk that he was unable to get inside his car. Just 23 minutes after being placed in the drunk tank, a cell check found that Roy had stopped breathing. Roy was rushed to the hospital, but was declared dead shortly after arrival. The autopsy disclosed a blood alcohol level of .37-.38. Like many other deceased Jehovah's Witnesses, Germain Roy was cremated.
Germain Roy apparently had had a drinking problem for some time. In March 1997, Roy was found drunk on the sidewalk outside his home and was hospitalized with a blood alcohol level of .268-.283 mg. In October 1997, Roy had been arrested for drunk driving. Roy's blood alcohol level had been .210-.220.
At trial, negligence was found, and liability was apportioned at 50% against Roy and 50% against the RCMP. That amounted to an award somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000.00 for Viviane Roy, and $7500.00 for each of her three adult chldren. That decision is apparently continuing to be appealed.
CROWN v. JONATHAN COCK was a 2008-09 widely reported British murder case which we failed to report on in 2008 due to our falling for the DECEPTION of the Jehovah's Witness spokespersons proffered to the news media by the WatchTower Society. Nearly all media articles published following the shooting either portrayed or outright stated that Jonathan Cock was NOT a Jehovah's Witness. One news article even reported that Jonathan Cock was a "Methodist". That was a deception and a LIE on the part of the Jehovah's Witnesses who were selected to speak to the media!!!
In fact, 23 year-old Jonathan Cock had been baptized as one of Jehovah's Witnesses six months prior to the shooting, in March 2008. One of Jonathan Cock's parents' neighbors, who would have had no reason to lie, even stated that Jonathan Cock and his parents were "Jehovah's Witnesses". Apparently, Jonathan Cock, who had done a 4-year tour of duty with the R.A.F., simply had went through a period of "rebelliousness", and had delayed joining his family's WatchTower religion until after he became an adult.
After being discharged from the military, sometime in 2007, Jonathan Cock had been employed by "Clear-Flow", a highly successful Jehovah's Witness family owned and operated drain clearage company. (Interestingly, there is a similiar drain clearage franchise operated by Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States, called "Cura-Flo".) Sometime in early 2007, Jonathan Cock began a relationship with the Millionaire Owner's then 18 year-old daughter, Danielle Hustler. It is still not known which truly came first -- Jonathan's relationship with Danielle, or his employment by Danielle's parents. Initial news media articles reported that the relationship had been a "secret" one, but given that nearly everything else told to the media was a LIE, that was probably also a LIE.
In any case, by August 2008, Danielle Hustler had ended the 18 months-long relationship (most media articles reported that the relationship lasted only "one year"), which had included serious discussions of marriage. Probably for good reason, Jonathan Cock believed that the breakup was instigated by Danielle's wealthy parents, Adam Hustler, age 41, and Susan Hustler, age 40. In September 2008, on a Saturday evening at around 10:00 P.M., Jonathan Cock, who had been exchanging texts, emails, and phone calls all week with Danielle, drove to the family's 7-bedroom Porth Kea Mansion, along with with a small caliber .22 rifle, after Danielle refused to keep a meeting with Cock earlier that day to which she had agreed. Cock's intent was either to reconcile or commit a murder/suicide. There, Cock attempted to speak with Danielle alone, but ended up in an argument with Danielle and her parents. The angry Jonathan Cock then pulled the somehow concealed rifle. The three Hustlers and Cock struggled over the rifle, pushed Cock outside of the Home's entryway, and attempted to escape back inside. Cock shot Susan Hustler twice in the back as she attempted to escape inside. Adam Hustler was shot once in the heart and once in the head, mortally wounding him. Cock also shot twice through a window at Danielle Hustler as she telephoned the police. Her single arm wound was not serious. Jonathan Cock thereafter attempted suicide by shooting himself in the mouth/head, but he managed to only partially lobotomize himself. Cock somehow managed to drive himself back to his parent's home, where he went to bed before being arrested early the next morning. In July 2009, in a jury trial, Jonathan Cock received a 25 year to life prison sentence.
Notably, at the time of the shootings and hospitalizations, the WatchTower Society Spokesperson made much adoo to the media about the fact that Susan Hustler had declined to accept doctor recommended blood transfusions. Susan Hustler was fortunate to survive this mess.
ANOTHER MURDER-SUICIDE. In July 2013, 64 year-old Jehovah's Witness Minister, Dennis Joseph Perry Sr., of Suffolk, Virginia, first shot his 67 year-old wife, Lucy Celenia Perry, and thereafter shot himself. The murder-suicide occurred about a week after the couple returned home from attending the annual WatchTower Society District Convention.
FLORIDA v. CLAUDEL JEAN LOUIS is an ongoing 2013 Florida criminal court case. In June 2013, a Jupiter, Florida African-American couple, Claudel J. Louis, age 29, and Vanessa Louis, age 28, were arrested on the charge of "child neglect with great bodily harm" after the parents allegedly allowed their 19-month-old son to become severely malnourished almost to the point of death. A police and CPS investigation ensued after the parents took their child to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach for what they deemed to be breathing problems. Instead, doctors said the boy was then in respiratory distress, and that the young child was also severely malnourished and underdeveloped. The boy wasn’t able to lift his arms, head, or legs, and could barely roll himself over. Doctors said the child had been deprived of nutrients for so long that he was having problems absorbing electrolytes. While being treated at the hospital, the child's parents argued and interfered with doctors and hospital staff regarding blood transfusions, use of ventilators, and use of medications.
Initially, the parents cited to various authorities their beliefs as Jehovah’s Witnesses and their lifestyle as naturalists as the basis for their actions, which included feeding their baby nothing but fruits, vegetables, and juice. They reportedly told police that they didn’t believe in baby formula. The parents said that they noticed the boy was wasting away in February, and that they had tried treating him with religious and holistic remedies, and viewed a doctor’s visit only as a last resort -- which the May visit to the hospital was, apparently. After this couple was released from jail, Claudel Louis identified himself as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, but indicated that his wife was a Muslim, and that they were rearing both this son and another 6 year-old son using a combination of both Jehovah's Witness and Muslim teachings. Claudel Louis further proclaimed to the news media that he and his wife were the VICTIMS OF RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION.
Fellow Jehovah's Witnesses have quickly proceeded to condemn this couple for their actions -- that is, all but this couple's attempt to prevent their child from receiving needed blood transfusions, which the Jehovah's Witnesses have applauded. Jehovah's Witnesses are correct that much of this couple's views toward food and medicine do not come specifically from the teachings of the WatchTower Cult. However, this couple's "anti-medical establishment" and "quackery" mind set may very well have come or received encouragement from both the WatchTower Society and the Jehovah's Witness community. For over 100 years, WatchTower Society literature has continuously both cultivated an "anti-medical establishment" culture amongst its members, and promoted various "medical quackery" as suitable medical alternatives. Simply google the keyterms for proof of such.
An online search indicates that "a" Claudel Jean Louis has been attending Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter, Florida, and that he appears to be taking some "pre-law" courses. Another webpage has a person by similar/same name indicating that their goal is to attend "law school". Interestingly, there has been a south Florida 2009-10 state-federal lawsuit styled, "Claudel Louis v. Seaboard Marine", in which "a" Claudel Louis filed some sort of DISCRIMINATION lawsuit against a south Florida transportation company, a Temp service, and even the federal EEOC.
FLORIDA v. JONATHAN ROWLES is an ongoing 2010-13 Florida juvenile manslaughter case. Sometime prior to 9:15 AM on a Sunday morning in August 2010, 13 year-old Jonathan Rowles shot his JW Mother, Kelly Ann Rowles, age 39, in the back of her head using one of his father's rifles. Jonathan Rowles initially told responding Collier County deputy sheriffs that an "intruder" had shot his mother while he watched television in another room of their Naples condominium, but quickly admitted that such was a lie when investigators began to realize that Rowles' assertions and the physical evidence did not match up with Rowles' "intruder" story.
Rowles then claimed that he had "accidentally" shot his JW Mother after he took a .22 caliber rifle from his father's gun cabinet, fully loaded it, and then began horsing around and taking aim at various objects in the condo, including aiming toward the back of his mother's head and "accidentally" pulling the trigger. Responding deputies later described Jonathan Rowles as being "fairly calm" and "relatively composed" at the scene. Rowles chatted with deputies about video games, school, and things he had recently done with his JW Mother.
In February 2013, after multiple hearings and a January trial, Jonathan Rowles was found "delinquent" -- the juvenile equivalent of "guilty" -- on a single charge of manslaughter. The Judge found that Rowles did NOT intentionally shoot his mother, but that Rowles' recklessness and negligence did meet the legal standard of manslaughter. The Judge ruled that Rowles be sent to a moderate-risk juvenile justice facility for at least six months, where Rowles will receive intensive mental health therapy.
Jonathan Rowles reportedly had struggled in school -- particularly with his reading skills. The tall and stocky Rowles had also recently been moved to an "alternative school" after several incidents of "bullying" and fighting. During all of his court hearings and the trial, Jonathan Rowles was supported by attending Jehovah's Witness Family and friends. Several of those family members and fellow Jehovah's Witnesses sent letters of support for Rowles to the Judge -- calling Jonathan Rowles a "gentle giant" on a spiritual path.
FLORIDA v. CHRISTOPHER ROWLES is an ongoing 2012-13 Florida CHILD MOLESTATION case. In March 2012, Jonathan Rowles' father, Chris Rowles, age 42, was arrested and jailed on charges of sexually molesting an unidentified girl between the ages of 12 and 16 at least a dozen times over a three-year period.
CROWN v. UNIDENTIFIED FATHER was a 2009-2012 criminal court case in Vancouver, British Columbia, which eventually was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. This criminal case was over a botched in-home "circumcision" performed by a mentally-suspect father on his four year-old son. Father was reared as a devout Jehovah's Witness by a strict Jehovah's Witness Mother, but was disfellowshipped in 1997, after he turned 21-22 years old. Father married a wife, named Gina (possibly Filipino), around 2000. A daughter was born in May 2001, and the son in question was born around 2003. It was around this same time that Father also began taking on some rather unorthodox christian beliefs, which promoted a more "Jewish" and more Old Testament christianity (as if JWs are not bad enough), and he particularly disliked, and advocated via internet discussion forums, against the Apostle Paul's writings and influence on current orthodox Christianity.
Father completed high school, and received limited computer programming training thereafter. Father has a history of not be able to maintain regular fulltime employment, and other social inadequacies, possibly due to lack of social skills blamed on his strict JW upbringing. In 2001, during the birth of this couple's daughter, Father had some unidentified issue with the medical staff during the delivery, and Father was removed from the premises. The newborn was also temporarily removed from the parent's custody at that time, but returned after a mental health assessment of Father. In 2003, Gina had Father removed from the home by the police for approximately six months, and he was charged with causing fear of bodily harm. Gina thereafter dropped the charges, and the family was able to reunite, after Father attended counseling sessions. In 2006, both children were temporarily removed from the home due to allegations of domestic violence and concern for Father's mental health.
Around 2004-05, Father began to obsess over the fact that he had not been circumcised as a child -- apparently believing that his lack of circumcision was hindering his relationship with "Jehovah". So, Father researched, planned, and performed an in-home circumcision on himself with a razor blade. When Father could not stop the bleeding, he called 9-1-1. Father was transported to the hospital, where his penis was sutured and treated for infection. Interestingly, before telephoning 9-1-1, Father reportedly had telephoned his JW Mother to tell her about his botched circumcision, and to lambast the WatchTower Society -- telling her that he would never ever go back to the Kingdom Hall. JW Mother told son to call 9-1-1, and then hung up on him -- reportedly not having spoke to him since.
Not having been phased by that negative experience, in April 2007, Father again planned and performed another in-home circumcision -- this time, on his 4 year-old son. The "operation" was performed on the kitchen floor, which had been protected with plastic garbage bags. Father first gave his 4 year-old son approximately four ounces of homemade wine as the only "anesthetic". Then, using a "cutting board", Father attempted the circumcision using a blade from a carpet knife, which Father supposedly had "sterilized". To control the bleeding, Father used a veterinarian product not approved for use on humans. Father thereafter left home for some time. Later, when his four year-old son woke crying during the middle of the night, Father applied more of the veternarian clotting product, and applied pressure to the wound.
A few days later, the attempted circumcision was reported to Child Protection Services, and CPS and police went to Father's home to check on the boy. The boy was taken to Vancouver's Children's Hospital, where doctors discovered a large scab on the head of the child's penis. After cutting off the large scab, doctors discovered that the top half of the foreskin had been cut in half leaving "wings" flapping on each side of the penis like "two arms". It is not known if this "french tickler" design was intentional or accidental. A "corrective" actual circumcision had to be performed. Once again, the children were removed from the home. They spent six months under state custody, in a foster home, before then going to live with Father's JW Mother and father.
In 2009, a British Columbia prosecutor charged Father with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, aggravated assault, and assault with a weapon. Father was convicted only on "criminal negligence causing bodily harm", but acquitted of the other two charges. Father was sentenced to one year in jail followed by two years probation. On appeal by the Prosecution, the B.C. Court of Appeal restored the two assault charges, and stayed the negligence charge conditional on the conviction for aggravated assault. Father then appealed the B.C. Court of Appeal's decision to the Canadian Supreme Court -- claiming that his actions were constitutionally protected under "freedom of religion". In November 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal -- leaving intact the B.C. Court of Appeal's decision. Status of subsequent proceedings unknown.
OREGON v. JONATHAN DANIEL HOLT was a 2012-13 murder prosecution. Jonathan D. Holt, age 24, was alleged to have kidnapped, sodomized, and murdered 21 year-old Whitney Heichel, who was a married Jehovah's Witness who lived in the same Gresham, Oregon apartment complex as Jonathan Holt and his own wife, Amanda Holt. Despite the fact that local JWs were heavily involved in the investigation of Heichel's disappearance from the very outset, the fact that suspect Jonathan Holt and his wife were fellow Jehovah's Witnesses was only slowly revealed to the media -- and then given little weight. Initially, suspect Holt was identified as being a possible "acquaintance", since he also resided in the same apartment complex. Later, Holt was identified as an "acquaintance" of the victim. Even later, Holt was identified as an "acquaintance" of both the victim and her husband. Eventually, the local chief of police barely even mentioned as an aside that Holt and the victim "may" have known each other "through Jehovah's Witness meetings". Finally, a reporter interviewed the Portland neighbors of Jonathan Holt's parents, who identified Holt and his parents as "Jehovah's Witnesses". Apparently, the last thing the Oregon Jehovah's Witness community needs is another media blitz reporting another murder of a Jehovah's Witness by a fellow Jehovah's Witness -- after all, it has been a year or so since the last JW-on-JW murder in a long series over the past decade.
ADDENDUM: The victim's family, no doubt in conjunction with local JW leaders, finally issued a public statement acknowledging that Jonathan Holt was "an irregular attendee of our meetings" (The JWs bolded and underlined "irregular".) The JWs' statement also called Jonathan Holt's wife "an innocent victim", and added, " and our love and support is as strong for her and her family." That likely can be interpreted as indicating that Holt's wife and family are probably also Jehovah's Witnesses.
The JWs' carefully worded statement obscures the question whether Holt was reared as a JW in nearby Portland, and would have associated with the victim and her husband over the years. By calling Holt "irregular", the statement also obscures the question as to Holt's association between the local Gresham Kingdom Hall, his previous Kingdom Hall in Portland, and possibly his JW Wife's previous Kingdom Hall. The WatchTower Society's PR Dept may have even drafted this statement. Never forget that JWs are masters of devilishly relating facts without ever telling the complete truth.
UPDATE: The majority of the OREGON MEDIA continue to cooperate with the Jehovah's Witnesses in labeling Jonathan Holt as a mere "acquaintance" of Clint and Whitney Heichel, who merely "irregularly" attended the same "church", despite an abundance of contrary evidence pointing to the probability that the Holts and Heichels had known each other for many years. The OREGON MEDIA has FAILED to even mention that this is another JW-on-JW murder in a long series of such murders over the past decade. In the multiple news articles reporting on Jonathan Holt's "theft" of a friend's car in 2011, Holt's possession and disposal of multiple handguns, and Holt's possession of child pornography on a computer, the OREGON MEDIA has FAILED to even question how such character flaws stack up with the fact that Jonathan Holt is not only a "Jehovah's Witness Minister", but was likely "reared" as a JW by JW Parents.
Jonathan Holt's former neighbors in Portland stated that Jonathan Holt and his parents were Jehovah's Witnesses. Jonathan Daniel Holt and Amanda "Adams" Holt were married in 2010 at the very SAME Kingdom Hall in Gresham where the recent "Open House", or "Memorial", for Whitney Heichel was held. Non-JWs should understand that in order to be permitted to be married in a Kingdom Hall, engaged couples are required to meet with the "Elders" and be thoroughly questioned so as to be determined to be "exemplary" Jehovah's Witnesses (even being asked as to whether they have engaged in forbidden premarital sex). Amanda Holt and Clint Heichel even met and spoke at the regular religious service at that same Kingdom Hall on Wednesday night, October 24, 2012, which would seem to indicate that not only did they attend the same Kingdom Hall -- they were members of the same "congregation", which only makes sense geographically given that they live in the same apartment complex. Clint Heichel even told reporters that Jonathan and Amanda Holt had recently cared for the Heichel's pets and plants while the Heichels were out of town, and Clint Heichel had recently helped Jonathan Holt work on his motorcycle. Jonathan Holt was even sufficiently well known amongst Gresham Jehovah's Witnesses that some had recognized Holt out walking while they were searching for the missing Whitney.
Unbelievably, Lorilei Ritmiller, MOTHER of Whitney Heichel, publicly released a letter that she supposedly wrote to fellow Jehovah's Witnesses. That letter contained this "revelation" regarding what is most important to Jehovah's Witnesses:
"My family has been told that many are crushed with sadness for us. Don’t be overcome with grief. As difficult as this has been, a tremendous opportunity has opened up because people in communities around the earth have opened their hearts wide to learning more about us as a people and the God whose name we carry. Because of the experiences I have recently witnessed or someone has shared, this ordeal has greatly impacted the minds and hearts of really good, compassionate and loving people. I promise you that if Jehovah told me that he would end this cruel system immediately so that I could hold Whitney safe and warm in my arms, see those shining eyes and her radiant smile tomorrow, I promise you… that I would beg him to wait so that we would have the time to reach out to those people. We could not rescue Whitney but we can rescue them. Jehovah knows what he is doing."
UPDATE: Congratulations are extended to the WatchTower PR machine for controlling the Oregon media's spin on this murder, which has nearly erased the slightly significant FACT that this MURDER was committed by a JEHOVAH'S WITNESS.
Unconfirmed rumors are now saying that Jonathan Daniel Holt had been a "Ministerial Servant", who stepped down in 2011 after the overnight theft of a friend's automobile. Jonathan D. Holt also had taken E.M.T. training, although it is unknown whether he ever actually worked as an E.M.T. Another rumor says that Holt used his E.M.T. training as a First Aid tech with the WatchTower Society's local Oregon "Regional Building Committee".
FINAL UPDATE: In a June 2013 plea deal, Jonathan Daniel Holt pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, first-degree kidnapping, and first-degree robbery. Charges related to Holt's illegal entry into the Heichel's apartment and theft of a cellphone, plus charges relating to child pornography found on Holt's computer were all dismissed. Holt agreed to a term of life in prison without the possibility of parol to avoid facing the death penalty at trial.
MAINE v. JARROD BILODEAU was a 2011-12 Maine criminal state court case. In September 2012, Jarrod A. Bilodeau, age 27, pled guilty to burglarizing six Jehovah's Witnesses homes located in five communities in Kennebec County, while those six JW families were attending regularly scheduled religious services. Bilodeau is a well educated and well known member of Kennebec County, who reportedly recently suffered from alcohol and/or substance abuse problems. Bilodeau's affiliation with the local JW community typically went unspecified, although some of Bilodeau's victims reportedly were "relatives" who immediately suspected that Bilodeau was the perpetrator. Interestingly, although only "some" of Bilodeau's victims were "family", the entire group of JW victims petitioned the Prosecutor's Office for an extraordinarily light sentence for Bilodeau, plus showed up at Bilodeau's sentencing hearing to support the light sentence of $21,000 in restitution, and time served (six months in local jail). The 4 years prison sentence was suspended and replaced with 3 years probation. Bilodeau seems to have been cooperating with more than one judicial body interested in this matter.
In August 2012, 14 year old Jeremy Antonio Pereyra, son of Jehovah's Witness Parents, Francisco Pereyra and Keren Pereyra, of Derry, New Hampshire, was traveling in Londonderry on I-93, during afternoon rush hour traffic, in an automobile driven by his JW Mother, when a physical altercation erupted. Keren Pereyra pulled her car over to the side of the busy interstate, and proceeded to call 9-1-1 to report "a domestic". Jeremy A. Pereyra jumped out of the family vehicle and ran off into some nearby woods. However, soon thereafter, Jeremy Pereyra returned and proceeded to run out in front of oncoming traffic, where he was struck and killed by a driver who was NOT cited by investigating New Hampshire State Police.
CLARENCE BLUNT FAMILICIDE. In August 2012, a 55 year-old African-American Jehovah's Witness, named Clarence Blunt, murdered his most recent wife and their 3 year-old daughter and 7 month-old son. Blunt then attempted suicide, but lived for five days before dying. Because of Blunt's death, there will be no prosecution, and thus, the complete truth about this JW Criminal's life will probably never be fully known. The single newspaper looking into Blunt's JW connections is claiming that Blunt's first contact with Jehovah's Witnesses was in 1975, when the then 18 year-old possible two-time murderer supposedly met a JW Minister at a local department store, and became interested in becoming a JW. Blunt supposedly confessed to murdering a gas station attendant during his conversion, and thereafter turned himself into the authorities. Clarence Blunt was also a suspect in the unsolved murder of a convenience store clerk in 1974. Personally, I suspect that Blunt had life-long family connections to the WatchTower Society, and that Blunt was already acquainted with the JW Minister whom he ran into at the mall. It is SOP for local JWs to conceal and/or deny connections to criminals reared as JWs. Blunt served only nine years in prison for the 1973 gas station attendant robbery and murder.
In 1985, Clarence Blunt forced his way into a neighbor's home and sexually assaulted the female occupant. Prosecutors allowed Blunt to plead guilty to burglary, and Blunt served three years of a five year prison sentence. In 1989, Blunt's girlfriend was discovered stabbed to death in her apartment. Blunt's two year-old son was also found dead from dehydration and starvation due to lack of care. Blunt eventually had two more children with another girlfriend whom he never married. In 1996, Clarence Blunt was arrested for shoplifting, and was sentenced to 25 years to life under California’s three-strikes law. However, the California Court of Appeals overturned the sentence ruling that Blunt should have been granted probation for the petty theft shoplifting charge. Blunt's family actively lobbied the courts for Blunt's release.
In late July 2012, Blunt's wife of 7 years, Lilly Blunt, age 33, moved herself and her two children into her sister's home, and filed for divorce. Despite having obtained a TRO due to Blunt's past domestic violence and current threats, Lilly eventually agreed to meet with Blunt and two or more Jehovah's Witness Elders at the couple's National City, California home on Saturday, August 18, 2012. The local JW Elders were supposedly going to attempt to mediate a reconciliation of the marriage. Foreseeably, it has yet to be confirmed whether that meeting ever took place. In any event, Lilly's sister went to the Blunt home on Sunday to check on Lily after she failed to come home on Saturday. Lilly's sister telephoned the police after seeing the injured Clarence Blunt through a window. Police later discovered the bodies of Lilly and her two children inside the home.
CROWN v. KELLY was a March 2012 case in which a British Jehovah's Witness, named Paul Kelly, age 45, was sentenced to 24 months community service, mandatory participation in a domestic violence program, and fined $300.00, after he used an axe to chop open the barricaded door to his 22 year-old stepson's bedroom. Kelly told police that he and his stepson of four years did not get along because the stepson's behavior was contrary to Jehovah's Witness beliefs.
NEW JERSEY v. DWAYNE FLOURNEY is an ongoing 2012 murder case in which a 26 year-old African-American is accused of stabbing to death the two people who reared him -- his doting 76 year-old grandmother, Sandra J. Flourney, and his father, 52 year-old, Brian Flourney. In March 2012, in Maplewood, New Jersey, Dwayne Flourney allegedly first stabbed to death his grandmother on a Saturday afternoon, and later that day, his father, when the father came home from his work as an investigator with the local DA's office. Dwayne Flourney reportedly then invited 8-10 friends to the family home for a drinking party that same evening. Dwayne Flourney was described as a troubled adult whom had been kicked out of the family home on multiple previous occasions. It is known that this was a Jehovah's Witness family because one media report quoted a neighbor who described Sandra Flourney as a JW who frequently proselytized the neighborhood.
SUICIDE OR MURDER? In July 2012, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, a Jehovah's Witness named David Sibekithemba Madebe, then age 33, married a fellow Jehovah's Witness named Samantha Musawenkosi, then age 23. In April 2013, Samantha Madebe DIED -- purportedly, by SUICIDE. Samantha's family believes that she was MURDERED.
On the evening of April 15, 2013, while driving from their suburban Bulawayo home to pick up David's visiting mother, who had taken a Greyhound bus from South Africa to Bulawayo, the allegedly miffed Samantha proclaimed, "Why was I the last person to know that your mother is coming? David responded that he had only learned about his mother's intent to visit via her text that same day. David alleges that Samantha then proclaimed, "I am now tired of this," and opened up the passenger side door of their Toyota 4x4 pickup truck and jumped out. David claims that he attempted to grab Samantha, but failed, and that the Toyota pickup then ran into the ditch and wrecked. David claims that the impact was so great that he was thrown from the Toyota. In shock, instead of telephoning an ambulance, or the police, David instead telephoned his mother at the bus station. David's mother then telephoned David's sister, Privilege Zhou, who is the wife of a medical doctor, and possibly a nurse. Privilege Zhou reportedly first telephoned her brother David Madebe, before then traveling to the scene of the accident. Curiously, Privilege Zhou was the FIRST PERSON to arrive at the scene of the accident, where she "realized" that Samantha was dead, and instead of telephoning an ambulance, or the police, telephoned Samantha's family to notify them of Samantha's death.
At a court inquest held in August 2014, Samantha’s sister Isabel Melisa Chizirika testified that David Madebe had failed to give Samantha's family a convincing account of what transpired on the night of Samantha's death. While David's family testified that the marriage was "happy", Isabel Melisa Chizirika testified that David Madebe was "over controlling", and that Samantha suffered from David's "emotional abuse" during the entire nine months that they were married. Isabel Melisa Chizirika further testified that when the family went to the scene of the accident the following morning, they found what they believed to be "animal blood" all over the scene. They also questioned the fact that Samatha's body was found on the opposite side of the roadway from which she allegedly "jumped". Isabel also claimed that David’s brother-in-law -- a Dr Zhou -- attempted to discourage the family from viewing Samantha's corpse, and encouraged a quick embalming and burial. The post mortem report indicated that Samantha died due to multiple skull fractures and subarachnoid haemorrhage.
After the "suicide", David Sibekithemba Madebe relocated to South Africa, where he reportedly is "employed by the Jehovah’s Witness Church".
WatchTower rules mandate that only "exemplary" members may use their local Kingdom Hall for a personal function such as a wedding or funeral. That fact prompts this posting of an alleged MURDER that occurred in Nigeria in February 2012. Dick Chidiebere, age 34, and Naomi Chidiebere, age 24, were just married at the Ijegun, Nigeria Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, in November 2011. Allegedly, on February 10, 2012, Dick Chidiebere came home late, and DRUNK. When Naomi chastised Dick, he became infuriated, and beat her up. Naomi escaped his beating and hid in a closet in the couple's four-bedroom residence. Dick then retreive a container of gasoline, poured such on Naomi, and set her ablaze. Naomi managed to escape the home, and ran to a friend's home for help. Naomi was eventually taken to a local hospital, where she died about a week later. The exemplary JW, Dick Chidiebere, was arrested as he was attempting to leave the country. Chidiebere denies Naomi's allegations, and claims that she must have been burned in a mysterious accidental fire.
WASHINGTON v. BRYAN ALARCON is an ongoing November 2011 state of Washington criminal case in which 19 year-old Bryan Steve Alarcon has been accused of burglarizing the homes of fellow Jehovah's Witnesses while they were attending meetings at the Mount Vernon, Washington Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Local JWs described the teenager as a "former" member, which probably is the local JWs way of keeping from having to admit that Alarcon was reared as a JW in their own congregation. Alarcon pleaded "not guilty" to three counts of residential burglary and three counts of trafficking stolen property.
MASSACHUSETTS v. GEOFFREY VICTOR WILSON is an ongoing 2010-11 murder case. In March-June 2010, Geoffrey V. Wilson, age 31, of Malden, Massachusetts, was charged and later indicted with the "shaken baby syndrome" death of his six month old son, Nathan Wilson. On that Sunday morning in March 2010, Geoffrey Wilson had stayed home with Nathan while his wife, Dilkushi Wijesinghe Wilson, attended their local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Geoff Wilson claimed that in an attempt to sooth the "cranky" and "restless" baby that he had played with the baby -- gently lifting him into the air trying to simulate a soothing car ride. However, when Dilkushi Wilson arrived home, she found the baby lifeless and having "blue lips". Geoff allegedly repeatedly prevented his wife from calling 9-1-1, but instead attempted to call their pediatrician. Unable to rouse the pediatrician, the couple finally took the baby to Children's Hospital, in Boston, where Nathan was pronounced dead sometime around 2:00 PM. Allegedly, doctors found bruises on the baby's forehead, chin, and cheek, along with retinal hemorrhages, and a massive brain bleed. According to media reports, the later autopsy allegedly found subdural hemorrhage -- part of which was 3-5 days old, but also part of which may have been more than a month old. The State Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide, and the cause of death hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy complicating blunt/shaking injuries of head. Outcome of prosecution still pending.
Geoffrey Wilson was somewhat of a child prodigy, being both an alumnus (2002) and employee at M.I.T. Geoffrey Wilson was reared as a Jehovah's Witness in California, by university-educated African-American Jehovah's Witness Parents. In August 1998, Geoffrey Wilson performed temporary volunteer work at WatchTower Society world headquarters, in Brooklyn. Dilkushi Wijesinghe Wilson is also employed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dilkushi Wilson is a Jehovah's Witness from Sri Lanka, as are her mother and father, Lee Wijesinghe.
OREGON v. JOSE PEREZ-SILVA was an 2009-11 Oregon murder prosecution. For the past 6 years, in the wake of the Longo and Bryant Jehovah's Witness familicides, the Oregon news media has concealed the fact that Ana Berthan Meraz, then age 32, and her killer, Jose Perez-Silva, then age 29, were both active Jehovah's Witnesses Ministers. Reportedly, Ana Meraz and Perez-Silva had been involved in a secret "intimate relationship" even prior to Meraz's then recent divorce in 2005. However, in May 2005, as Meraz and Perez-Silva drove to work, Meraz ended the affair. The enraged Perez-Silva pulled a box cutter and stabbed and slashed Meraz as she drove along an interstate highway near Ashland, Oregon. Meraz was able to call 9-1-1 during the attack. Arriving paramedics found the bloody and dying Meraz lying outside her auto alongside the interstate. Efforts to save her life were unsuccessful. Perez-Silva's attorneys admit to their client's guilt, but they were hoping for a manslaughter conviction, rather than murder. They allege that their client was suffering from depression, emotional disturbance, and physical health issues which prevented him from having the requisite mental capacity to have committed "murder". However, this killer was convicted of murder, and sentenced to life in prison.
MERAZ v. CITY OF MEDFORD was a 2007 civil court case in which Jose Meraz, the allegedly cuckolded husband of Ana Meraz, and possibly also a Jehovah's Witness, filed a $3,000,000.00 "wrongful death lawsuit against the 9-1-1 provider, on behalf of the estate, and the 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter whom Jose Meraz had with Ana Meraz. Meraz accused the 9-1-1 center of negligently mishandling the call, which resulted in delayed arrival of paramedics, and causing the death of his ex-wife. Outcome unknown.
Described as an active devout Jehovah's Witness, Shelly Dianne Naroian, 47, was shot and killed in her living room by a Hillsborough, New Hampshire Police Officer on May 19, 2011, which coincidentally was the JW's birthday. Non-JW Husband explained that the couple had been arguing because Shelly's 42 year-old stepson, a High School Teacher, had lived with the couple for the past 10 months. Shelly Naroian wanted him evicted. Husband had threatened divorce. Husband eventually went to bed, but was awakened by Shelly around midnight. Having evidently found the hidden keys to the husband's gunsafe, Shelly was holding a pistol to her head. She asked husband "is this a good one to use?" Husband called 9-1-1. At some point, Shelly discharged a firearm inside the home after police took up positions outside the home. Shelly then threatened to shoot the stepson, but he took two pistols from her, and then escaped from the home. Shelly pointed an unloaded pistol at the responding officers after they entered the home. Both fired, with one bullet fatally striking Naroian in her neck.
Shelly Naroian had a history of mental illness. She had been hospitalized twice for psychiatric problems, most recently around Christmas time in 2010. Shelly was diagnosed with bipolar and dual personality disorders. Both husband and stepson stated that Shelly suffered from mood swings that could occur in an instant. "She saw enemies everywhere. If you didn't think like she did, you were not only wrong, you were evil. She was out of touch with reality, and you never knew from one minute to the next what mood she was going to be in or what she was going to do", stated stepson. Both of the couple's natural children had rejected their mother's WatchTower religion due to her irrational behaviors and beliefs. Husband also believes Shelly was abusing her multiple prescribed medications as well as taking medications that didn't belong to her.
Described by his Jehovah's Witness Parents, Jerry Ray and Betty Ray, of Bluffton, South Carolina, as "active" in the family's local Bluffton Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, thirteen year-old Joshua Ray was accidentally shot and killed while at the home of a 17 year-old friend. The circumstances are unclear, but the accidental shooting reportedly occurred around 6:30 A.M., on a Sunday morning, in June 2011. Local police allege that Joshua Ray, the 17 year-old friend, and another 16 year-old friend, had spent that Saturday night drinking vodka and smoking marijuana. Local police also alleged that the Trio were "wanna-be gangsters", who were involved in local criminal activity. Commenters allege that the involved families include "illegal aliens", some of whom may be involved in drug trafficking.
SHANNON DEE SMITH FAMILICIDE. In April 2011, a power plant engineer and Jehovah's Witness named Shannon Dee Smith, age 43, of New Braunfels, Texas, became enraged at his family around dinner time, and proceeded to stab to death his JW Wife of fifteen years, Lisa Smith, also age 43. Shannon Smith also stabbed/slashed his teenaged son and daughter, but they managed to escape from the family home and run to their non-JW neighbors for rescue. The daughter suffered only superficial wounds, but the son was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. It took five months before Shannon Smith's wrecked pickup truck was discovered in a dense thicket only a mile and a half from the murder scene. Smith's decomposed corpse was found next to his truck. Cause of death undetermined.
AUSTIN TEXAS FAMILICIDE. Four members of an Austin, Texas area family of Jehovah's Witnesses died in May 2011 as a result of a pending divorce. Fellow Jehovah's Witnesses, Jose Antonio Lopez, then 23, and Shauna Kay McLean, then 22, married in 2005. A son, Hayden Lopez, was born in May 2010. The JW couple began to experience marital problems, so Shauna K. Lopez and the couple's young son moved back in with her parents, Pat Garrett McLean, age 54, and Deena Henderson McLean, age 52. Jose Lopez enrolled at Austin Community College. On the Sunday evening of May 8, 2011 (possibly after a meeting with the couple's JW Elders), an enraged Jose Lopez went to the McLean's home taking along a shotgun. Pat G. McLean went out to meet Jose Lopez as he pulled into the driveway. Pat McLean was immediately shot and killed. Shauna Lopez, her son, her mother, her brother, and a family friend escaped out the home's rear door, but Jose Lopez caught up with them in the backyard, and shot and killed Shauna Lopez and Deena McLean. Jose A. Lopez fled the scene, but was spotted by police shortly thereafter. A high-speed 13 mile long freeway chase ensued. At a police roadblock, Lozez crashed into an unoccupied police car, and was killed.
NEW YORK v. PHILEMON CHAVIS was a 2011 New York criminal case which involved an Albany, NY Jehovah's Witness couple of 25 years, named Philemon A. Chavis, age 44, and Karen (Kross) Chavis, age 46. Exactly what events in the couple's past life had led to the acts giving rise to this criminal case are not known. Karen Chavis spoke in length at the sentencing hearing, but did so in "couched" language only meaningful to the large crowd of JW family and supporters in attendance.
Philemon A. Chavis worked as a public works investigator for the New York Department of Labor. Chavis was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, strangulation, felony assault and possessing a weapon. Albany Police accused Philemon Chavis of slamming Karen Chavis' head into concrete, punching her, and choking her to unconsciousness at the couple's home, on a Sunday morning in March 2011. Police say Chavis then tied her up, placed her in her own Saab automobile, and thereafter forced her to try to extract $100,000.00 ransom from her parents and brother. Karen Chavis' family reported the kidnapping to police, who eventually went to the Chavis home, found Karen Chavis, and arrested Philemon Chavis. Karen Chavis spent several days in the hospital being treated for bleeding on the brain, two broken ribs, a collapsed lung, cracked teeth, and a number of other injuries. Police allege that Philemon Chavis had originally planned to murder his wife. They found knives, a Taser, and a sawed-off shotgun in Philemon Chavis' own BMW.
One of our sources alleges that Philemon Chavis was a longtime JW Elder, who had worked as an "attendant" at the WatchTower Society's "Special Assembly Day" on the Saturday before the assault. Media sources reported Philemon Chavis then spent that Saturday night drinking at one or more bars, and that he did not return home until around 7:00 AM Sunday morning. Media sources further reported that the first "ransom call" on Sunday was made to the home of Karen (Kross) Chavis' parents, but they were not home, so they instead telephoned Karen's brother. Our source further alleges that the reason that a message had to be left on Karen's parents' answering machine was because they were attending their own "Special Assembly Day".
In August 2011, Philemon Chavis agreed to a plea deal which offered him a 19 year prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to felony assault.
In February 2011, a Taos, New Mexico man made a domestic violence report to local police indicating that his Jehovah's Witness Wife became enraged when she discovered the couple's daughter making valentines for school. The enraged JW Mother first broke the daughter's chair before then storming out of the couple's home.
NEVADA v. REDMAN was a February 2011 Nevada murder court case in which William Boyd Redman Jr., age 57, was convicted of First-Degree Murder But Mentally Ill for the March 2008 near decapitation of his 12 year-old daughter, named Gloria Redman. William B. Redman's own public defender described his client as a "Jehovah's Witness", who had been "extremely mentally ill" for some time, but no history of violent behavior. Gloria Redman had stayed home from school due to illness. She was murdered by her own father while Rosemary Redman went grocery shopping. The mother returned to find Gloria Redman lying in a pool of blood inside the family's mobile home. William Redman refused to allow his wife to help Gloria. Rosemary Redman telephoned 911, and paramedics and police responded. Gloria Redman was found with her throat cut, while Redman himself had multiple self-inflicted knife wounds to his arms and even his own neck. Bill Redman told the 911 operator that his daughter's death was "the way Jehovah does things." Redman told police that he had also tried to kill himself so that he could guide Gloria during the three days of death that preceded their resurrection by Rosemary Redman. William Redman also tried to "witness" to the attending paramedics asking one female paramedic if she believed in God, while telling her that "he had seen God."
TEXAS v. NOEL TRAVIS DEAN was a 2007-11 Texas murder case. African-American Jehovah's Witnesses Noel Travis Dean, then age 21, and Shannon Kay Williams, age 21, were married in May 2005. Natives of Los Angeles, California, the Deans lived in Houston, Texas, where Noel T. Dean had already relocated to be near family. Shannon Dean reportedly had been reared as a devout Jehovah's Witness, and had even spent time as a "Pioneer". Little has been said about Noel Dean's JW history given that all the JWs who know him have assumed his guilt, and have had only negatives to say about him -- particularly labeling him with a variety of labels implying "mental illness". It is known that the JW Couple attended the same LA schools, and had known each other, and had been an item, since junior high school. In July 2007, after a party held at their home, Noel Dean discovered sexually-related "texts" between Shannon Dean and another male on his wife's cell phone. An argument ensued, and at around 2:30 A.M., Shannon Dean grabbed a .40 caliber pistol from a dresser, ran into the couple's master bedroom, and then shot herself in the head -- according to Noel Dean. Noel Dean told investigators that his wife had been suicidal, and had even attempted suicide previously.
Noel Travis Dean was charged with murder after medical examiners ruled that a bruise on Shannon Dean's head, which was caused by the pistol's front sight, likely resulted from someone standing over her and firing the pistol. A 2007 murder trial ended in a "hung jury". In the 2011 retrial, the defense presented expert testimony which refuted the medical examiner's ruling, and on cross-exam, the medical examiner agreed that this new theory was plausible, and that his office would change their ruling from "homocide" to "undetermined". Prosecutors then dropped the charges, and the case was dismissed -- forever ending any future charges against Noel Dean.
KENTUCKY v. GRANT EVAN SHMIDHEISER was a 2010 Kentucky criminal court case. In March 2010, Grant E. Shmidheiser, of Somerset, Kentucky, then age 26, was arrested on domestic violence charges. Outcome unknown. Grant Shmidhesier was reared as a Jehovah's Witness by regionally prominent JW Elder Kenneth (aka Ken) Shmidheiser, who also is the Editor of the COMMONWEALTH JOURNAL newspaper.
ILLINOIS v. WILLIAMS is an ongoing 2010 Illinois state murder case. In December 2010, a 19 year-old African-American Jehovah's Witness named Paul Williams, of Park Forest, Illinois, was arrested and charged with the murder of a fellow 34 year-old female Jehovah's Witness and neighbor, named Aisha Nettle-Boone. Other neighbors observed suspicious activity at the home of Aisha Boone, and the police were called. The police found the front door wide open, and the victim lying unresponsive inside the home. Nettle-Boone was transported to a local hospital, but died several hours later -- from strangulation. Info provided by neighbors led the police to Paul Williams, who admitted only that he had been at the home earlier that day.
PENNSYLVANIA v. ANDERSON is an ongoing 2010 Pennsylvania murder case. In November 2010, a 16 year-old African-American Jehovah's Witness named Kendall Anderson, of Philadelphia, was arrested and charged with the murder of his 37 year-old JW Mother, named Rashida Anderson. Rashida Anderson's corpse was discovered buried under trash and rubbage in an alley located near the Mother and Son's home two days after Kendall Anderson reported his Mother missing. Police allege that Kendall Anderson confessed that he first beat his Mother in the head with a hammer, and then later beat her with a part of a chair before hiding her corpse in the alley. Relatives told media that Rashida Anderson was a devout Jehovah's Witness, and neighbors told media that both she and Kendall Anderson attended their local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Kendall Anderson reportedly had had problems in school -- having attended a local disciplinary high school for the past two years after reportedly stealing a laptop computer from his previous school. An older sister reportedly is attending college.
CALIFORNIA v. ORDUNO and UNITED STATES v. ORDUNO are separate 2010 criminal court cases involving an Jehovah's Witness illegal alien named Jose Louis Orduno. In September 2000, newspapers across the United States republished a SACRAMENTO BEE article relating the story of how Jose L. Orduno's life had been saved by a new blood substitute called HEMOPURE. In July 2010, Jose Orduno had been struck by a passing automobile while he was bicycling to his job at a Sacramento area McDonalds. The emergency room doctors stabilized Orduno's condition by administering two units of whole blood. However, when Orduno awoke, he ordered that he not be given any more blood transfusions due to his Jehovah's Witness beliefs. The hospital contacted the local WatchTower Hospital Liason Committee, which sent a local JW Elder named Gregory Brown to the rescue. Gregory Brown informed doctors that no more blood trnasfusions could be administered, but that alternative treatments such as nitric oxide and Epogen could be used, although neither are of any significant benefit in emergency situations. Orduno barely clung to life for two weeks as he slowly died from lack of hemoglobin. A local surgeon told Orduno's doctors about an FDA-unapproved blood substitute called Hemopure, which is red blood cells taken from cows and mixed into a salt solution. Orduno's doctors contacted WatchTower representative Gregory Brown, who told Orduno and his doctors that Hemopure did not technically violate WatchTower rules. Long story-short, Orduno's life was saved by the Hemopure and the California taxpayers who paid for the six weeks long hospital stay that was made necessary by Orduno's WatchTower beliefs. It was not until after the fact that it became common knowledge that Orduno was only "studying" to become a Jehovah's Witness, but was not yet a JW, (nor a U.S. citizen).
In June 2010, Jose Orduno was charged with attempting to burn down a Sacramento area Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. In the ten year interim, Orduno had become an official Jehovah's Witness. However, Orduno had been disfellowshipped -- excommunicated -- shortly before his failed arson attempt. Orduno told reporters that he had been disfellowshipped due to "kissing and touching" his girlfriend. Orduno was pinpointed as the culprit after getting drunk and making terroristic threats towards the JW congregation and the JW Elders who kicked him out.
VIRGINIA v. SPEIGHT is an ongoing Virginia capital murder case. In January 2010, Christopher Bryan Speight, of Appomattox, Virginia, was arrested and charged with the shooting deaths of eight family members and friends at and near to the rural home which he shared with his sister, her husband, the sister's teenaged daughter, and the couple's four year-old son.
It is supposed that the eight shootings resulted from rising tensions that had finally exploded over possession and ownership of the house and 34 acres left to the brother and sister after their Jehovah's Witness Mother died in 2006. An attorney who had done work regarding such told reporters that the 39 year-old Christopher B. Speight, who never married, has suffered mental problems for years. Other sources seem to indicate that he may be learning disabled given that he reportedly had problems reading and writing, and given that Speight's JW Mother was a local schoolteacher for 17 years. Various media reports quote co-workers as stating that Christopher Speight is a "fervent" or "devout" Jehovah's Witness. Speight reportedly attended the Rustburg, Virginia Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.
ANOTHER HYPERTHERMIA DEATH OF A JW TODDLER LEFT UNATTENDED IN A HOT VAN. On July 14, 2010, at approximately 9:30 AM, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a 27 year-old Jehovah's Witness Mother-of-four, named Stephanie Piñon, loaded two year-old daughter, Jahzel Piñon, and Jahzel's 4 year-old sister into the family's van and took the older daughter to a nearby "learning center". The unemployed father, Israel Piñon, a 6 month-old sibling, and 5 year-old disabled brother remained at home. At the school, Stephanie Piñon left 2 year-old Jahzel Piñon sitting in her carseat in the smoldering van for approximately 2 1/2 hours -- supposedly having forgotten that Jahzel was in the back of the van -- while Stephanie Piñon went inside with the 4 year-old daughter, where they met with a teacher for an hour, assisted with some center chores, and ate lunch. Stephanie Piñon discovered the unresponsive Jahzel in the van at around 12:15 PM. Jahzel Piñon was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Two days later, Stephanie Piñon appeared before a local female judge, who set her bond at $50,000.00, and sent her to jail for a few hours.
No doubt having followed their training to contact the WatchTower Society's Legal Department for instructions in the event of any occurrence of bad publicity, the Body of Elders at the Valle del Norte Spanish Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses took over. Israel Piñon and Stephanie Piñon refused to speak publicly about the tragedy, while multiple fellow Jehovah's Witnesses were trotted out for the media with nothing but high praise for the child-rearing abilities of the two parents. One newspaper reported:
"For those who pegged Stephanie Piñon as an irresponsible young mother who neglected her children -- think again. That couldn't be further from the truth, her friends and neighbors say. The petite, 27-year-old woman they know doted on her four children, rarely letting them out of her sight. She read her children Bible stories and took them to Christian gatherings. ... Jahzel, a shy 2-year-old who friends say was inseparable from Piñon, insisted on accompanying her mother and older sister ... . ... Piñon, praised by church friends and neighbors as a kind and loving parent, ... . ... But those who know Piñon paint a picture of a protective and dedicated mother who refused to let years of adversity bring her down. ... 'Stephanie and Israel have faced constant trials, particularly due to the chronic illness of two of the immediate family members. They have kept their faith and hope strong, even at moments of extreme desperation by relying on prayer and the certainty of Jehovah God's love and tender care,' Shem J. Sargent said in an e-mail. ... ."
NORTH CAROLINA v. JEFFREY GIST was a 2009 North Carolina familicide which managed to escaped the attention of WATCHTOWER WORLD -- until now. In March 2009, a 16 year-old African-American Jehovah's Witness, named Mylin Tierra Bullock, was murdered by her step-father, 32 year-old Jeffrey Gist. Jeffrey Gist had a lengthy breaking-entering criminal record from 1998-2002, and had done 18 months in prison. However, Gist apparently reformed and possibly converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses given the reported several years long marriage to the victim's mother, Michelle Bullock Gist (also reported as Melissa Bullock Gist, and also Jocelyn Bullock Gist), who had two children -- the victim and her younger brother, C.J. Bullock. Mylin Bullock had complained to friends that Gist was "strict, real strict, and he didn't want her doing a lot of stuff". Gist even walked the 16 year-old to her schoolbus each day. On a Friday night in March 2009, Jeff Gist and Mylin Bullock argued over what Gist later claimed was their "relationship", while the JW Mother worked her nightshift at a local health care facility. Early Saturday morning, Bullock's partially burned and beaten corpse was discovered in the parking lot of a nearby nature preserve. The autopsy revealed that Bullock had died of strangulation. Mylin Tierra Bullock received a Kingdom Hall funeral attended by her extended Durham, North Carolina area Jehovah's Witness family.
Ed Bullock, the victim's Jehovah's Witness maternal grandfather, initially told reporters that no sexual abuse was suspected, but later told reporters that such may have been the motive for the murder. Ed Bullock called Jeffrey Gist "a fine father", and told reporters that his daughter had "vetted" Jeff Gist before marrying him, and that he had even met Gist's parents, who were "professionals". Jeffrey Hamilton Gist quickly admitted killing Mylin Bullock, and eventually alleged that there had been a "relationship" between he and his step-daughter, and that the argument the night he killed Mylin had been the result of his "jealousy" over other males in her life. Gist also gladly pled guilty to the reduced charge of second degree murder, and he was sentenced to only 18-23 years in prison. The plea deal miffed both the local prosecutor and the sentencing judge, but was reportedly made at the insistance of Jocelyn, or Melissa, or Michelle Bullock Gist -- whichever is the name of Mylin Bullock's mother.
SICILIANO v. GRAHAM-POTTS is a still pending 2009-2010 California civil court case which involves a Jehovah's Witness Family who are suing the JW Husband's former Mistress for $$$$$$$$$ for the JW Family's "emotional distress". The JW Husband, named Marc Anthony Siciliano, 53, is testifying on behalf of the two named plaintiffs -- his JW Wife, named Cynthia Lee Siciliano, 46, of San Rafael, California, and the still-married-couple's nine year-old Daughter.
Cynthia L. Siciliano is alleging that a former employee of the JW Family's limousine business, named Jodie Graham-Potts, 49, introduced Marc Siciliano to crack during an extra-marital affair which lasted from 2004 to 2006. Cynthia Siciliano further alleges that it was Graham-Potts' crack that caused her husband to act abusively toward her and the couple's daughter.
On March 1, 2005, Marc A. Siciliano was arrested for possession of paraphernalia and suspicion of being high on crack after being pulled over in Graham-Potts' car. To avoid prosecution, Marc Siciliano reportedly cut a deal with the prosecutor to wear a wire and act as an undercover narc for local police on multiple occasions involving illegal drug deals. According to media accounts of Marc Siciliano's testimony, it was Cynthia Siciliano's father, Lee Shroyer, a Mill Valley attorney, who suggested that his JW Daughter sue the Mistress using the little known Drug Dealer Liability Act, which was adopted by the California Legislature in 1996. The DDLA provides civil remedies for the ill effects of illegal controlled substances. A parent, spouse, child or legal guardian may sue anyone who furnishes or administers drugs to a relative. Damages may be recovered for emotional distress, among other things.
Interestingly, this JW Family decided to pursue the JW Husband's Mistress for money despite knowing that the JW Husband would testify at the trial that he had been a regular Meth user even prior to his affair with Graham-Potts, and that a videotape of Graham-Potts and Marc Siciliano engaging in sex and using crack would be made public at the trial. Graham-Potts also testified that Marc Siciliano had told her that he had also had a previous extra-marital affair around 1998 -- about a year after he had married Cynthia Shroyer Siciliano. Per media reports, Marc Siciliano is now an active Jehovah's Witness -- having served a mere one year as "disfellowshipped".
UPDATE: At the end of this ten-day long trial, it took the "California Jury" of 8 females and 4 males only three hours to decide in favor of the defendant, Jodie Graham-Potts. The JW's attorney typically said that his clients would consider filing a motion for a new trial, while the defendant's attorney accused the JWs of twisting the law simply to exact revenge against the former mistress.
The following snippet is excerpted from an August 2009 Ohio newspaper.
Deputies were dispatched at 11:10 p.m. Thursday to a Main Street residence in Bayard for a suicide attempt where a woman sliced her left wrist and was bleeding. She was refusing to allow EMS to treat her. When deputies tried to talk her into allowing the treatment, she started yelling that she was a Jehovah's Witness and if they tried to treat her, she would sue. She eventually passed out, received treatment at the scene and was transported to a hospital. Her fiance told deputies she had been on a three-day drinking binge.
In May 2010, a 37 year-old Italian Jehovah's Witness named Daniele Arestia murdered his 65 year-old JW Mother, and thereafter committed suicide. Arestia reportedly still lived with his mother and assisted with a small family business. Neighbors described Arestia as "lonely", "bashful", and "depressed".
TEXAS v. SANCHEZ is an ongoing 2009 Texas capital murder case. Scott Wesley Buchholz-Sanchez was born on June 30, 2009, in San Antonio, to Jehovah's Witness Mother Otty Sanchez, age 33, and Scott W. Buchholz. Otty Sanchez moved out of the unmarried couple's rented home on July 20, and moved in with her own Jehovah's Witness Mother, who was already housing another daughter and her two children. Baby-daddy tried unsuccessfully to get Otty Sanchez to return home. On Saturday, July 25, Sanchez did take Baby Scotty to the home of the paternal grandparents, but quickly fled in a rage with the baby when she was asked for copies of the baby's birth certificate and SS card.
Around 4:30 AM, on Sunday morning, July 26, 2009, Otty Sanchez's sister discovered the skinned and severely mutilated body of Baby Scotty. Otty Sanchez had not only stabbed to death her newborn child, but she had even slowly eaten its brain, nose, and toes. Sanchez quickly confessed to the murder and told detectives that she was hearing voices and that the Devil made her kill her baby. The crime scene was so disturbing that the San Antonio Police Department had to provide counseling services for the officers who entered the home. According to Greg Garcia, Sanchez's first cousin, Otty Sanchez, who was employed as an in-home health care provider for senior citizens, had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia and more recently with postpartum psychosis. At some point after the murder, Sanchez also stabbed herself two or more times.
MIER MURDER-SUICIDE. Around noontime on Tuesday, March 17, 2009, the daughter of of Maxie Mier, 71 and Joann Mier, 64, of Orange, Texas, received a telephone call from her father stating that he had just shot and killed her mother and that he was going to shoot himself. Rhonda Dupuy, 37, rushed to her parents' home where she found the dead bodies of both parents in the kitchen. Maxie Mier had shot his wife Joann Mier twice in the chest and once in the head. Maxie Mier shot himself once in the chest. The couple reportedly had been frequently arguing, and the marriage may have been troubled. Per the funeral home website, the double funeral was presided over by a local Jehovah's Witness Elder named Kelley Burch.
LOUISIANA v. ORTEGA is an ongoing 2009 Louisiana murder court case. Around 4:00 A.M., on Sunday, January 18, 2009, an illegal alien named Rodolfo Ortega, 47, choked his wife, San Juana Isabel Ortega, 32, during an argument at their Houma, Louisiana trailer home. Rodolfo Ortega respectfully waited until around 7:00 A.M. before he telephoned and reported the incident to one or more of his local Jehovah's Witness Elders from the Houma Louisana Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Reportedly, one of the Jehovah's Witness Elders eventually telephoned the Houma Police Dept about a "domestic disturbance" at the Ortega residence. Interestingly, the Houma Police did not show up to the Ortega's residence until around 10:00 A.M., which begs the questions as to what were the one or more JW Elders doing during that 2-3 hour time span, and exactly at what time did San Juana Isabel Ortega pass away? Did those JW Elders first report the crime to the Legal Dept at WatchTower Society world headquarters in Paterson, New York? And, why were emergency medical services not summoned? Upon arriving at the Ortega's residence, Houma Police discovered the deceased body of San Juana Ortega in the couple's bedroom. Rodolfo Ortega reportedly admitted to choking and strangling his wife, but was arrested on charges of second degree murder. Rodolfo Ortega also admitted to living illegally in the United States for the past 9 years. The Ortega's four children -- ages 5 to 12 -- were put in the custody of other relatives living in the area.
SUICIDE - BOMBING OF MISSOURI KINGDOM HALL OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES. On Saturday afternoon, July 26, 2008, at around 1:45 PM, a 52 year-old Jehovah's Witness, named Ralph E. Phillips, of Buckner, Missouri, committed suicide inside the newly-constructed Bates City, Missouri Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses simultaneous with his having set off a gasoline bomb which he intended to destroy that Kingdom Hall.
Ralph Phillips poured a large quantity of gasoline throughout the Kingdom Hall, which when ignited, resulted in a fiery explosion that initially blew out the rear wall and portions of the roof at the rear of the building. Secondarily, the remainder of the Kingdom Hall was heavily damaged by heat and smoke. Ralph Phillips' corpse was found inside the Kingdom Hall, with a single gunshot to the head, which was ruled to have been self-inflicted. It is not known if the gunshot ignited the explosion, or whether Phillips' somehow managed to otherwise ignite the explosion simultaneous with his suicide.
The suburban Kansas City Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, which is located at 6001 Foggy Bottom Road, just outside Bates City, was just recently completed. The "dedication" ceremony apparently had been planned for sometime in August, and will go on as scheduled. Reportedly, the WatchTower Society had members of its' local Regional Building Committee standing by to rush in and rebuild the structure as soon as state and federal authorities completed their investigations. Interestingly, this "religious suicide-bombing" on American soil received no national nor international media attention.
IN RE M.H. was a 2008 Texas mental health proceeding which involved a menopausal Jehovah's Witness Female living in Cherokee County, Texas. In April 2008, M.H. was temporaily involuntarily institutionalized under unknown circumstances. Doctors determined that M.H. suffered from bipolar disorder, and needed treatment with psychoactive medication. M.H. refused to take such medication claiming that such violated her beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness. Both the trial court and appellate court ruled against M.H., holding that M.H. was declining the medications due to "mental illness", rather than religious proscriptions. The appellate opinion stated in part:
M.H. testified, stating that she understood that the doctor wants access to certain medications and that he believes the medications would lead to an earlier release. She said the doctor never told her what kind of medication he wanted to give her. She denied having a mental illness. She objected to all categories of medication except one that would deal with a "menopause problem." She accused the doctors and hospitals of being guilty of medical malpractice and insurance fraud and of being pathological liars. She explained that she is a Jehovah's Witness and taking any drugs is against her faith. She stated,
"As Jehovah's witnesses, we have spiritual spines and mental powers. We deal in realities all the time. We're victimized by bigoted people who don't like us or don't understand us or don't agree with us, and these all extend from K.K.K. and satan [sic] worshipers who know exactly who I am and know there was nothing that happened."
She denied being delusional or devoid of insight. She testified that if the doctors were to force her to take medication it could put her relationship with her god in great jeopardy. She clarified that she takes medicines that she really needs but does not take medicines that are convenient for others. She further explained, "I do not take drugs on the basis of my faith. I do not need it. There is nothing wrong with me. They just know I am telling the truth and are doing everything to discredit me."
Frankly, M.H. sounds like the typical middle-aged JW female to me. These same or similar remarks could be heard in thousands of conversations on any given meeting night at Kingdom Halls across the United States -- especially between "Elderettes".
MINNESOTA v. GAUSTAD is an ongoing 2008 Minnesota murder court case. On Thursday, July 17, 2008, 21 year-old Corey Lee Gaustad shot and killed Christine Rose Nguyen, 48, who was the Jehovah's Witness Mother of his 17 year-old former JW girlfriend. Gaustad also attempted to murder his former girlfriend. Gaustad reportedly confessed not only to the murder and attempted murder, but also to having planned to murder his former girlfriend's father, grandmother, and a possible new boyfriend of his former girlfriend.
Reportedly, Corey L. Gaustad had met the teenaged girl at some JW function(s) sometime around 2004 (probably when the Nguyens moved into the area). The couple apparently had started to date at some point, and in early 2008, Gaustad had apparently even considered "proposing" to the teenager. Interestingly, it was not long thereafter that the girl broke up with Gaustad, although he had told his family that the breakup was "mutual".
On the day of the murder, Corey Lee Gaustad followed the mother and daughter around as they shopped that afternoon, but he lost them at some point. Gaustad then went to their New Brighton, Minnesota apartment, and waited for the mother and daughter to return home. When the duo returned at around 3:30 PM, Corey Gaustad approached their vehicle. Christine R. Nguyen exited her vehicle and attempted to reason with Gaustad, but he shot her in the stomach. Gaustad then fired four shots at his 17 year-old former girlfriend, but missed, as she fled the scene. Christine Nguyen died about 4 hours later at a local hospital. Given the type wound, one can't help but wonder if she died because she refused to consent to blood transfusions.
Media reports indicate that the Nguyen family -- father, mother, daughter (home-schooled), and possibly a grandmother -- were all members of the New Brighton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. The Gaustad family apparently are also associated with either the New Brighton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, or another area Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. One media report stated:
"Gaustad's family was shocked Friday when they learned he had been arrested, noting he spent so much time studying the Bible.
"'It's hard to picture something like that,' said his younger brother, Josh Gaustad. 'He's so religious. He follows the Bible in every aspect of his life.' ... ...
"Gaustad graduated from Coon Rapids High School in 2005, school officials said. ...
"Corey Gaustad was depressed sometimes, his father said. His parents filed for divorce in 1993, and his mother, Charlene Gaustad, committed suicide in 1995, Arlen Gaustad said.
"'It just floors me,' he said. 'I would never think of him being a murderer. Why would he do that?'"
Unconfirmed internet postings claim that Corey Lee Gaustad had at some point served as a "Pioneer" in his JW Congregation, which is a fulltime "door-knocker". Typically, the local JWs have yet to even claim him as a member.
CALIFORNIA v. JARKA is an ongoing 2008-9 California murder court case. In May 2008, a Murrieta, California Jehovah's Witness Elder, named Kelle Lee Jarka, 39, was arrested and charged with the April 2008 bludgeoning death of his 40 year-old JW Wife, Isabelle [Canchola] Jarka. Kelle L. Jarka was charged with first-degree murder, and the special circumstance of murder for financial gain, given that Jarka reportedly purchased $1,300,000.00 in life insurance on Isabelle Jarka during the last few weeks preceding her death. The Jarkas reportedly were deep in debt -- partially due to the two Lexus vehicles and an expensive powerboat that they owned and enjoyed. Prosecutors described Kelle Jarka as "preoccupied with money, status and image", and further stated that Jarka had executed a "well-researched but sloppily executed murder."
Kelle Lee Jarka was arrested at the Southwest Justice Center's family law court on May 22 as he attended a hearing to attempt to regain custody of his 12 year-old daughter and 6 months-old son, who had been staying with Isabelle Jarka's parents [the Cancholas] since the murder. On April 27, the Jarkas' daughter had stayed overnight with her maternal grandparents, who lived just across the street. Reportedly, that evening the Jarkas had suffered a "sheparding call" from one of the other Elders in their JW Congregation, named Jose Cespedes, that lasted until 4:00 AM on the morning of April 28 -- apparently at the request of Isabelle Jarka. Around 8:45 AM, on April 28, Kelle Jarka called police to report that his home had been burglarized. Jarka reportedly didn't mention anything about his wife's death for the first 26 seconds of the call. Jarka then told police that he had gone shopping to buy coffee and baby formula, and when he returned home, he found a door forced open, the house ransacked, and his wife bloody and unconscious on the master bedroom floor. Isabelle Jarka died from 11 or more blows to her head as she slowly crawled from the couple's bed to the hallway during the lengthy attack, but no murder weapon was ever found. Shockingly, police believe that the couple's 6 month-old son was in the bedroom while the murder was committed.
Kelle L. Jarka's defense attorney portrayed him as a caring friend and father, who loved his wife, as well as a devout Jehovah's Witness, who had spent his younger years helping to build Kingdom Halls as a volunteer for the WatchTower Society's Regional Building Committee. Isabelle Jarka's relatives stated that the Jehovah's Witness probably had no clue as to the extent of her family's financial problems. Jarka's relatives stated that Isabelle was "trusting", "naive", and "easily taken in by people". They described Kelle Jarka as "secretive" and "very controlling". They further stated that while Kelle Jarka usually came off as a "nice person", that he also had a "darker side".
Interestingly, there was trial testimony regarding a male Jehovah's Witness in Jarka's Congregation who had recently died from AIDS -- a fact that was being kept secret from most Congregation members. Isabelle Jarka possibly suspected that something was going on between her husband and the dead JW's widow, and such may have been the reason for the lengthy visit of Jose Cespedes on the night of the murder.
UPDATE: In September 2009, it took a jury only two hours to convict Kelle Jarka of murder for financial gain. In November 2009, Kelle Jarka was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. The sentencing judge labeled the former Jehovah's Witness Elder as "pure evil -- nothing more, nothing less".
Interestingly, during the trial, the trial judge ruled that the testimony of Jehovah's Witness Elder Jose Cespedes was "evasive". [Research "Theocratic Warfare" doctrine of JWs.] William "Bill" Schafer, who is a Jehovah's Witness married to Kelle Jarka's sister, publicly declared Jarka's innocence, and stated that he was "proud" of Kelle Jarka, who "has shown remarkable faith".
COLORADO v. CORTEZ is an ongoing 2007-8 Colorado murder and attempted murder court case. Ricardo Cortez, now 25, is charged with the September 2007 murder of his estranged pregnant wife, Nikki Lynn [Fix] Cortez, 21, and the attempted murder of her 24 year-old boyfriend, Sam Jantz. Around 11:00 PM, on Sunday, September 16, 2007, Ricardo Cortez burst into the Greeley, Colorado, home where Sam Jantz was living with relatives, and shotgunned his estranged wife. Sam Jantz ran from the home, but was partially struck by multiple shotgun blasts. Although initially admitted to a local hospital in "critical condition", Jantz recovered from his wounds. Ricardo Cortez, accompanied by his parents, voluntarily surrendered to police a few hours later. Ricardo Cortez, who the prosecution acknowledged to be suffering from a "moderate case" of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to his having served two tours of military duty in Iraq as a medic, pleaded "not guilty by reason of insanity", and was ordered by the court to be evaluated at the state mental health hospital for six weeks. Currently, the trial is scheduled for October-November 2008.
Limited details provided by local media seem to indicate that Ricardo and Nikki Lynn Cortez had began "studying" to convert to the Jehovah's Witnesses sometime after they married in June 2006. However, given that the couple's marriage soon began to fall apart, it is possible that it was Nikki Cortez who wanted to join the JWs, and that Ricardo Cortez's involvement may have been only to appease his wife. In fact, in March 2007, Ricardo Cortez had been arrested for punching Nikki Cortez in her face, and "holding her against her will" (possibly trying to stop her from attending a JW meeting), and apparently, instead of first seeking medical care for her broken nose and jaw, and/or police protection, Nikki Cortez went to the home of a local Jehovah's Witness "minister", named Raymond Bove. Such would indicate that it was Raymond Bove who was attempting to convert Nikki Cortez.
In a July 2008 court hearing, Raymond Bove testified that he knew both Ricardo and Nikki Cortez. Raymond Bove said that he considered them "friends", and that he had had the couple over to his home for dinner. (That revelation means little to non-JWs, but JW "Ministers" normally will not invite anyone to a meal in their home unless the invitees are JWs, or well on their way to becoming JWs.) Raymond Bove testified that the couple had attended the local Kingdom Hall "on occasion", but were not regular members.
Raymond Bove testified that it was "especially after" the March 2007 incident (for which Ricardo Cortez was arrested and eventually released on bond) that he reached out to Ricardo Cortez. Reportedly, a second unidentified JW Elder was brought in to help with dealing with Ricardo Cortez. (That way, the JWs' efforts to convert Nikki Cortez would not be negatively affected by whatever they did with Ricardo Cortez. If they converted both, then fine, but they did not want to chance losing Nikki Cortez as a convert. This exact same scenario has been played out hundreds, probably thousands, of times over the decades. JWs have broken up numerous marriages this exact same way. They make initial contact with the wife. Husband throws fit. Husband eventually starts attending meetings and "studying" to appease wife. Marriage still falls apart. Wife converts. Husband does not, and loses wife and any children in divorce. Some divorced/widowed JW male eventually gets himself the new convert as his new wife.)
Interestingly, the prosecution is seeking to have Raymond Bove testify regarding the "communications" between himself and Ricardo Cortez. Ricardo Cortez's defense team is seeking to stop such based on religious "privilege". Such forces the local JWs to walk a thin line. If the JWs separate themselves too much from Ricardo Cortez, which is probably what they want, then they may have to testify. But, if they do so, this is just one more publicized instance of the JWs either throwing "privileged communication" under the bus, or outright losing on the issue as they recently did during a California molestation trial. A ruling will have to be made prior to trial.
UPDATE: In November 2008, a jury convicted Ricardo Cortez of multiple charges relating to the murder and shooting, and he was sentenced to life plus 80 years in prison. It is not known how the court handled the "Raymond Bove" issue.
CALIFORNIA v. YUN is an ongoing 2006-8 California murder court case. On Sunday afternoon, April 2, 2006, a Los Angeles Jehovah's Witness, named Dae Kwon Yun, 54, allegedly set fire to the interior of his Toyota Sequoia while he was sitting in the driver's seat and while his daughter, Ashley, 11, and son, Alexander, 10, were sitting in the rear passenger section. Dae Kwon Yun eventually jumped out of the SUV with second and third degree burns on his face, hands and legs, but his two children died in the fire. Yun was charged in 2006 with two counts of murder, including special-circumstance allegations of multiple victims and murder committed during an arson, which allow a possible death sentence. Yun has pleaded "not guilty".
Yun, who is of Korean heritage, immigrated to the United States from Argentina in the 1980s. Yun supposedly had earned a law degree in Argentina, but it is not known whether he practiced law there or after coming to the U.S. In 1993, Yun married another Korean immigrant, Sun Ok Ma, a realtor, and they soon had the two children. Yun owned and operated a garment factory in the Koreatown district, and was financially successful until 1999, when reportedly, the state and federal governments came after Yun for nearly $100,000.00 in back taxes. The business and family struggled thereafter. In mid 2004, after years of alleged unreported spousal abuse, Yun was convicted of spousal battery after Ma finally called the police. In 2005, Yun allegedly began to frequent local casinos, which exasperated his financial situation. Yun was forced to close his garment factory in early 2006, and in May 2006, Ma moved out and filed for divorce. A week later, Yun picked up Ashley and Alexander from their new apartment for a supposed Sunday afternoon at the movies and shopping. Around 4:00 PM, Yun drove to a vacant alley near his closed factory, where he allegedly doused the interior of his SUV with gasoline and then ignited the fire.
ILLINOIS v. WHITTEN is a 2006-8 Illinois murder court case. In April 2006, an African-American Jehovah's Witness Mother, named Betty Whitten, 57, of St. Charles, Illinois, and a member of the Elgin Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, stabbed to death her 34-year-old disabled daughter, Nyakiambi Whitten. Soon after her arrest, Betty Whitten was declared mentally unfit to stand trial, and was committed to a state mental health inpatient treatment facility until she was able to stand trial. In March 2008, Betty Whitten pleaded "guilty but mentally ill" to second-degree murder in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence. Whitten could be eligible for parol after 8 years in prison, but her time does not start so long as she is committed to a mental health treatment facility.
Betty Whitten reportedly had been treated for depression for several years. Whitten was the primary caregiver for her oldest daughter, who had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and impaired vision at the age of two. On Monday morning, April 3, 2006, at the Whitten's rural home, Betty Whitten first threatened 24 year-old daughter, Rachael Whitten, but she fled the house, and eventually called her father and then the police from a neighbor's telephone. Betty Whitten then stabbed Nyakiambi Whitten three times with a kitchen knife. One stab wound to the heart was fatal. Before police could arrive, Whitten loaded the corpse into her car, apparently for the purpose of disposing of it in the nearby Fox River. Whitten stopped her car on a St. Charles bridge at a point before it was over the river. An unwitting police officer came up behind Whitten's stopped car. When the officer turned on his lights, Whitten accelerated, crashed through the bridge's guardrail, and landed upside down on a bike path below. There, police discovered the corpse and Whitten, who had a minor head injury.
Betty Whitten later told police that "demons" had cause her to do what she did. Whitten also stated that she believed Nyakiambi was being abused and that her husband had been unfaithful. The father, Earstin Whitten, 57, who was either an "Elder" or "Ministerial Servant" in the Elgin Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, stated that although Nyakiambi (Swahili for "first daughter") had various disabilities which required her to be constantly supervised, she had attended special education programs in St. Charles schools and at Elgin Community College until she was 21.
In June 2006, Betty Whitten filed for divorce from Earstin Whitten, claiming "extreme and repeated mental cruelty", as well as adultery. Betty Whitten also reportedly formally accused her husband of the same with their local JW Congregation. Earstin Whitten denied Betty's charges and apparently contested the divorce, but the outcome of the divorce (pending as of March 2008) and any congregation action is unknown. However, in March 2007, Earstin Whitten relocated to Reno, Nevada, "to start a new life", per Rachael Whitten, who stated that she was joining her father there.
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