JEHOVAH'S WITNESS MENTAL HEALTH:
JW - ON - JW CRIME COURT CASES
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The following criminal court, civil court, 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 FINANCIAL CRIMES, including stealing money from their fellow Jehovah's Witnesses and others, are summarized on our JW EMPLOYEES website. Click HERE for an additional NINE lengthy webpages of $$$ FINANCIAL $$$ court cases.
CONNECTICUT v. JOSEPH V. AMBROSE and JOSEPH AMBROSE v. ROBIN AMBROSE are related 2005-07 Connecticut court cases. At some point around 2005, a Jehovah's Witness Elder at the Canton Connecticut Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, named Joseph V. Ambrose, 54, and his wife, Robin Ambrose, 40, obtained a legal separation, and were pursuing divorce, but continued living in the same Canton, Connecticut house. The couple are the parents of four children, but only the three youngest still lived at home.
Jehovah's Witnesses On A Mission
One recent weekday morning, a group of well-groomed men and women gathered, Bibles in hand, in the parking lot of the Kingdom Hall in Canton.
Their destinations, after they divided into two carloads, were the doorsteps of homes in surrounding communities. Their mission was to spread the word that God is interested in mankind and that he will bring about changes in the world.
These are the publishers, the members of the Jehovah's Witnesses who travel door to door to discuss their beliefs. Almost every day, publishers head into nearby neighborhoods from the Kingdom Hall in Canton or Granby to discuss the words of the Bible with anyone who will listen.
It is a task Witnesses undertake to let their neighbors know what they believe the Bible predicts is in store for the world. Judging by the polite but uninterested reception they often receive, it's clear to many Witnesses that their purposes are misinterpreted.
"Most people have a lot of misunderstanding about Jehovah's Witnesses,'' said Rick Tomasko, an elder with the Granby Jehovah's Witnesses. "They think they know what we are . . . They don't because they've never talked to us.''
Jehovah's Witnesses believe the Bible is the word of God and suggest that many worldly events, particularly those they see as evidence of the continual decline of civilization, are fulfillments of a biblical prophecy.
They say the Bible predicts a time when God will destroy all evil influences, in the battle of Armageddon. Many people will survive Armageddon and many others will be resurrected from the dead. Afterward, all will live eternally in a universe filled with peace and beauty.
"The reason we go door to door is, [for example], if you saw your neighbor's house on fire, no matter what time it was, you would notify them,'' Tomasko said. "We feel the Bible gives clear indication that we're living in the last days of the system of things. We want to tell people . . . what the Bible has to say. We're not out to convert the world.''
What they are out to do is get their booklets and magazines into the hands of others and to impart the knowledge that everlasting life can be had here on Earth. On a good day of canvassing door to door, Witnesses find someone willing to discuss the Scriptures. On a really good day they reach somebody who is interested enough to request a call back in the future or perhaps to schedule a Bible study session at home.
"I placed six magazines Saturday and Sunday,'' said Joe Ambrose an elder in the Canton congregation, about his accomplishments on a recent weekend. "And I had four conversations in the morning. Normally, if we get in one good conversation, we feel we have accomplished something.''
Those seemingly slight achievements are just what Witnesses expect from their door-to-door ministry.
"We don't expect most people to listen,'' said Scott Perry, an elder in the Canton congregation. "Most will not be interested. We just want them to have the opportunity to know what will happen . . . to have a proper warning.''
The Canton Kingdom Hall, which was built in 1981, serves about 140 members -- up from the 100 who belonged when it opened. The Kingdom Hall in Granby, which took three days to construct in 1989, serves about 100 members. That congregation has decreased slightly over the years, Tomasko said.
There are 123 congregations with about 12,000 Witnesses in the state, according to Gary Breaux at the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in New York, the headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Jehovah's Witnesses can trace their origins to the early 1870s in Pennsylvania, to a Bible study group led by Charles Taze Russell. By 1880, congregations from that group had moved into nearby states.
In 1884, Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society was incorporated. Its name was later changed to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. By 1909 the work had spread internationally and the society's headquarters moved to Brooklyn, N.Y.
New members trickle in slowly to the Kingdom Halls in Canton and Granby. Those who join often say their initial contact with the organization was that encounter on their doorstep. But becoming a Jehovah's Witness involves more than quoting the Bible. Those who join must be committed to the faith.
"Your conduct has to be right in harmony with the Scriptures,'' Ambrose said. "Your morals have to be right in line.''
Late on a Sunday night in January 2006, Joseph Ambrose attacked his wife with a pipe -- smashing her face and head. Ambrose later drove his wife to Hartford Hospital, where he let her out at around 2:00 AM, and he then fled. After a Monday long manhunt, which included a search of the fields and woods which surrounded the local Kingdom Hall by S.W.A.T., and a lockdown of nearly the entire town, police finally captured Joe Ambrose, who had a loaded pistol in his possession. Several more weapons were found at the home. The three children were temporarily placed with CPS. Police records also indicated a prior domestic violence incident in 2003, which involved Joe Ambrose and the oldest son who no longer lived at home. Joseph Ambrose was charged with attempted murder, first-degree assault and first-degree kidnapping. In October 2007, Joseph V. Ambrose was convicted on a single count of first degree assault and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
CALIFORNIA v. KELLY LEE 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. RICARDO CORTEZ is an ongoing 2007-8 Colorado murder and attempted murder court case. Ricardo Cortez, age 25, is charged with the September 2007 murder of his estranged pregnant wife, Nikki Lynn [Fix] Cortez, age 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.
COLORADO v. RAYMOND JAMES BOVE. Limited details. In June 2008, Raymond James Bove, age 37, of Greeley, Colorado, was arrested on charges of "Theft" and "Unauthorized Use of Financial Transaction Device". Outcome unknown.
ILLINOIS v. BETTY 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.
ALABAMA v. KISHON GREEN was a 2008-12 Alabama capital MURDER prosecution of African-American Kishon Green, who was reared by Jehovah's Witness Parents, James Green and Rachel Green, who had HOME-SCHOOLED Kishon Green during his four years of high school.
In January 2008, the "unemployed" 34 year-old Kishon Green moved back in with his Baby-Mama Tiffany Burrell, their 10 year-old son, and another 13 year-old son of Burrell's. A few weeks later, after a hard day of drinking and smoking crack (purchased with Tiffany's money), Green picked up the two boys from school and took them home. Shortly thereafter, Green stabbed and killed both boys and hid their bodies in a closet and bathroom. Green then picked up Tiffany Burrell from work, brought her home, and immediately began stabbing her. The attack on Tiffany was interrupted twice by two incoming telephone calls -- one from Green's Jehovah's Witness Mother, Rachel Green. Green then proceeded to finish his attack on Tiffany by beating her with a baseball bat. Green then washed up, changed clothes, and left with Tiffany's ATM card to buy more crack. Tiffany survived and called police. Green was soon apprehended and admitted what he had done.
Kishon Green eventually pleaded "guilty" to two murder and one attempted murder charges. Green's defense attorneys put on evidence that Green was legally "mentally retarded", and such was accepted as fact by the judge. That meant that under American law Green could not be given the death penalty. Green received a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
This court-declared "retard" somehow managed to eloquently state to the media after his sentencing, "Drugs impacted me. I am not a cold-blooded killer. I have a heart. I ask God and everybody for forgiveness. I have changed my life around. I know one day I will see my boys again."
WESTERN AUSTRALIA v. KENNETH CHARLES PICKETT. A Jehovah's Witness named Kenneth C. Pickett, of Perth, Australia, murdered 39 year-old Andrea Pickett -- his wife of 23 years, and mother of the Aboriginal couple's 13 children. The couple had only recently separated, but Kenneth Pickett had repeatedly violated a VRO - violence restraining order. Pickett stalked his estranged wife over the course of a weekend in January 2009. He threatened to kill her on Saturday night, so she fled to a different house on Sunday. On Monday night, Pickett chased Andrea outside that house and stabbed her 17 times as she held their 3 year-old child. This NUT thought that his wife was having an affair -- just what a mother of 13 needs. At trial, Pickett fell back on his WatchTower teachings claiming that his having killed his cheating wife resulted in him "saving her eternally" by having stopped her from committing adultery. Pickett pled "guilty" to murder in exchange for a life sentence with a minimum 20 year period.
STATE OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA v. T.V.M. was a 2007-08 MURDER and ARSON prosecution which is extremely INTERESTING due to the appearance that the SCANDALOUS aspects of this criminal case have caused both the Jehovah's Witnesses and the ex-JW community to partner in censoring publicity about this scandal. The JWs apparently managed to keep their connection to this murder-arson out of the media when the scandal occurred, and the homosexual-dominated ex-JW community apparently managed to censor later online discussions regarding this scandal.
We have not been able to locate any mention/discussion of this MURDER-ARSON case outside of the December 2007 Supreme Court of Western Australia decision which pertained only to a procedure issue in the prosecution. That decision only briefly indicates:
1. An adult male Jehovah's Witness, named "T.V.M.", was charged in the January 2007 murder of a second adult male Jehovah's Witness. T.V.M. was also charged with committing "arson" during the alleged "murder".
2. T.V.M. and the JW Victim were both "prominent" Jehovah's Witnesses.
3. T.V.M. and the JW Victim were both secret "homosexuals".
4. T.V.M. and the JW Victim were engaged in a secret "homosexual love affair", which apparently precipitated the murder and arson.
Anyone care to provide URLs to media coverage of this murder-arson, the prosecution, and online discussions of this Jehovah's Witness SCANDAL.
OHIO v. TEOFILO MATOS JR. was a 2007 Ohio Domestic Violence prosecution. In September 2007, Teofilo J.R. Matos, age 56, of Lorain, Ohio, was arrested on charges of Domestic Violence. Outcome unknown. The Puerto Rican Matos was twice divorced before he died in 2010, when he was given a JW funeral.
SOUTH AFRICA v. VELA MABENA and THANDI MAQUBELA is an ongoing 2010-2015 high profile MURDER case. The 60 year-old victim, Judge Patrick Maqubela, was an Acting Judge on the Western Cape High Court Bench, who was seeking a permanent appointment at the time of his death. At the time of his murder, in June 2009, Judge Patrick Maqubela was a NON-JW married to a JEHOVAH'S WITNESS WIFE, Thandi Maqubela, who was one of the two persons charged with the Judge's murder. Thandi Maqubela, then age 52, was also charged with altering her deceased husband's Will, and forging his signature thereto, as well as fraudently submitting such into probate as her husband's Last Will and Testament.
The accomplice charged in this murder was Vela Mabena, who was a then 46 year-old male JEHOVAH'S WITNESS MINISTER, who reportedly was Thandi Maqubela's business partner in a Forever Living health products distributing business. Interestingly, Vela Mabena was previously the "Chairman" of a School District in South Africa, and a media report links him to efforts to supply needy schools in SA and other African countries with "books". More interestingly, Vela Mabena was arrested at his residence on the grounds of the French Consulate, where his wife was employed.
In the months leading up to the murder, Thandi Maqubela had went to great lengths to document the multiple affairs of her philandering husband. Thandi Maqubela then took the acquired evidence and began a campaign of character assassination against him. In June 2009, after Thandi Maqubela learned that her husband had made plans to divorce her, security staff at one of Judge Patrick Maqubela's apartments which he used when he traveled as a judge discovered Judge Maqubela's partially decomposed corpse in his bedroom. The death was initially attributed to a heart attack, but a criminal investigation was quickly began when more and more incriminatng evidence gradually came to light which pointed at the Judge's wife, and eventually her JW friend and business partner, Vela Mabena. The JW Duo were formally charged with the Judge's murder in March 2010.
In November 2013, Thandi Maqubela was found "guilty" of altering her deceased husband's WILL, and forging his signature thereto, as well as fraudently submitting such into probate as her husband's Last Will and Testament in an attempt to defraud his surviving children by previous wives and/or mistresses. Thandi Maqubela was also found "guilty" of the charges related to murdering her husband, but her fellow Jehovah's Witness business partner was found "not guilty", due to the prosecutor's inability to prove his guilt to the satisfaction of the jury. The sentencing process has been drawn out until mid 2015 as Thandi Maqubela's attorneys have done everything they can do to postpone such. The presiding judge made the point that Vela Mabena had not been proven to have been "innocent" of the murder charge, but that there simply had not been sufficient evidence to convict him. Notably, during the trial, fellow JWs Vela Mabena and Thandi Maqubela claimed to barely know each other. That, despite the fact that Mabena visited Thandi Maqubela at the apartment where Maqubela was found to have murdered her husband, on the day of the murder. The JW Duo also telephoned and texted each other multiple times during the two days before the judge's corpse was discovered, and thereafter.
Finally, in March 2015, after 60 year-old Thandi Maqubela had done everything she could possibly do to delay her sentencing for 16 months -- including changing attorneys multiple times and even feinting "mental incompetency" -- she was sentenced to 15 years for murder, three years for forgery, and three years for fraud. The three years each for forgery and fraud are to run concurrently, so Thandi Maqubela was effectively given an 18 year prison sentence.
MASSACHUSETTS v. GEORGE WEST, MASSACHUSETTS v. GEORGE WEST, and MASSACHUSETTS v. GEORGE WEST was/is a series of 2006-7 Massachusetts criminal court cases, which involve an African-American family of Jehovah's Witnesses living in the Marlborough area. The defendant in these cases is the husband, George West, 49, who was employed as a Hudson police officer from 1986 until 1999, when West retired from the Hudson Police Department because the use of deadly force and the carrying of a weapon conflicted with his religious beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness. West also served several years as the department’s DARE officer.
Interestingly, in March 1999, George West had been the subject of national media attention, which publicized his resignation from his career as a police officer due his WatchTower beliefs that prohibited the carrying of a firearm. Apparently, George West had been reared as a JW, but he apparently had been inactive as a JW until he became active again sometime around 1995/6.
George West was convicted in October 2006 on charges relating to an attack on his wife in June, when he was charged with assault and battery, and assault with a dangerous weapon. West was given a one-year term in jail, but was sentenced only to time served of 42 days, with the remainder of his one-year sentence suspended until October 2008. West also had been charged with assault and battery, and unarmed burglary, for a September 2006 Labor Day weekend incident, after which West served the 42 days. Fatima West had a restraining order discontinued on August 28, when Fatima and George shopped for a new car for her. On September 1, Fatima filed for a legal separation. On Labor Day, September 4, Fatima and the two teenaged children spent time with George West at his Clinton apartment. Later that evening, during the AM hours of September 5, George West was arrested after attempting to enter Fatima's apartment.
In November 2007, George West was arrested on charges of assault and battery (three counts), kidnapping, intimidating a witness, and threatening to commit a crime, when West allegedly attacked his wife, Fatima West, on Thanksgiving weekend. Due to the probation violation, West was ordered to serve the remaining days from the 2006 conviction in protective custody at the Billerica House of Correction, because he was once a police officer. The judge set bail after West's release from Billerica at $2500.00 cash, with conditions that West stay away from his wife and two teenaged children, not use drugs or alcohol, and complete an education program. During these incidents, West has not been charged with attacking his 15 year-old daughter, or his 11 year-old son, although his wife allegedly told police that in years past that West had repeatedly threatened to kill them, her, as well as himself. Fatima West allegedly also has told police that her husband is mentally ill. Reportedly, both the wife and daughter have called police on various occasions, and both have testified against George, but both also have testified in George's favor on occasion.
DARIC ROBERT FRANS. Around 7:00 AM, on the morning of Friday, October 20, 2006, unemployed and mentally ill 25 year-old Daric Robert Frans left his Grand Forks, North Dakota, apartment, which he reportedly shared with his father, dressed in camouflage and openly carrying a high-powered M-16 style semi-automatic assault rifle. On his person, Daric R. Frans also was packing a .32 caliber handgun, 10 hunting knives, a collapsible police baton, and 100 rounds of ammunition. At some point, as Daric Frans walked down the sidewalk, he pointed the rifle at an unidentified woman, who called 9-1-1.
Approximately 30 local, county, state, and even Border Patrol officers eventually responded to the scene at the northeast corner of 17th Street and Highway 220, which apparently was near to fast-food restaurants, a day-care center, other businesses, including an adjacent business where Daric Frans' mother worked, and even a High School and a Community College. There, for approximately 30 minutes, Frans fired 35-40 rounds at police, striking at least 3 cruisers. Finally, a state trooper arrived, who also had an assault rifle. The trooper fired three shots, striking Frans once in the hip. Shortly thereafter, Daric Frans shot himself in the head with his .32 caliber handgun, at around 8:00 AM.
Daric Robert Frans left no suicide note, and supposedly had made no threats, so police were left to speculate whether Frans was heading to one of the nearby schools, his mother's place of employment, or somewhere else. Daric Robert Frans, and his two sisters, were reared as a Jehovah's Witness, in the East Grand Forks Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, by parents Doug Frans and Teresa Ostgard Frans, who separated when Daric was 15/16, and later divorced. Although reportedly reared in a nearly idealic formative environment up until the time his parents separated, Daric Frans gradually developed one or more mental illnesses. Frans reportedly had worked in the family business as he grew up, but he had gradually even become unemployable. Frans spent two terms in jail, in late 2003 and early 2004, with one incident involving a handgun.
In an article published a year later, on the first anniversary of after this averted tragedy, that article stated that "his family wants people to know Daric was not a violent, dangerous person intent on killing others, but rather an increasingly troubled man who seemed to lose the ability to go on living. 'He was a beautiful little boy whose life ended tragically,' said his mother, Teresa Frans."
In April 2005, three reportedly "Jehovah's Witness Pioneers" were injured or killed in a single-car automobile accident on the Santa Ana Freeway, near Tustin, California. Allen Dae Man Suh, age 22, Jennifer Suh, age 20, and James Pak, age 16, were returning home from a Jehovah's Witness wedding and reception, on a late Sunday night, at around 11:15 P.M., when Allen Suh "made an unsafe turning movement", lost control of his 2004 Infiniti G35, spun out of control, hit a guardrail, then hit a concrete divider, and then flipped. The two males died at the scene, but Jennifer Suh did not die until "later" at the hospital. (Blood transfusions denied???). The California Highway Patrol stated that the 2004 Infiniti G35, which Allen Suhs' JW Parents, Young Kyun Suh and Kyung Hee Suh, reportedly recently had helped Allen Suh purchase, had been "traveling at a high rate of speed". Jennifer Suh was a college student at UC-Irvine. Allen Suh had just graduated from DeVry University. James Pak was on his high school's tennis team, and played in both his high school's and the Beckman orchestras. It is not known whether James Pak's parents pursued a "wrongful death" lawsuit, but it is almost certain that they pursued the Suh's auto insurer.
OHIO v. PAUL ADAMS was a 2004 Ohio court decision. Around 11:00 PM, on Saturday, January 3, 2004, four (4) Jehovah's Witness Youths were killed while racing another carload of Jehovah's Witness Youths as both carloads returned home from a Jehovah's Witness "Get-Together", which had been held that evening in Newark, Ohio. The two carloads of JWs were speeding westbound on I-70, about 20 miles east of Columbus, Ohio, when 18 year-old Paul Adams Jr., and his two unidentified JW Passengers, attempted to pass the second JW Auto using the right-hand emergency lane. Adams later alleged that the two autos were going about 80 miles per hour, in the rain, when he clipped the guardrail, and then struck the second JW auto, which was being driven by 18 year-old Joel Heisley, of Columbus. Joel Heisley's Toyota Camry then went out of control and struck a nearby car, and was in turn struck by a semi-truck. All four occupants of the Heisley auto were killed -- Joel Heisley, his sister, Alisha Heisley, 26, and Nathan McIntosh, 19, and David George, 20, both of Upper Sandusky, Ohio. Reportedly, Paul Adams Jr. was a close family friend of the Heisleys, who had even worked for the father, Kent Heisley, who was employed at a Columbus area golf course.
In April 2004, Paul Adams Jr. plea bargained "guilty" to four counts of aggravated vehicular homocide, and was sentenced to the minimum four years in prison. However, the week before Christmas 2004, local Judge Thomas Marcelain granted Adams' request to have his sentence reduced to only five years of probation. Adams was released from prison, apparently because Adams was a good Jehovah's Witness kid who was sorry for what he had done. Interestingly, the Judge Marcelain seemed almost to be directing Adams to become a JW Pioneer, by telling him: "Live your life in such a way as to honor the [four deceased JWs]."
FLORIDA v. CHARLES LESTER PARSONS was a 2006 Florida murder case. During the early AM hours of Tuesday, April 4, 2006, a 49 year-old African-American Jehovah's Witness, named Charles Lester Parsons, went to his former girlfriend's place of employment, which was a Exxon-Mobil gasoline station near Riviera Beach, Florida, purchased a container full of gasoline, then went inside the store where his former girlfriend was working behind the counter, doused her with the gasoline, and then struck a match and set her on fire. In the process, Charles L. Parsons also unintentionally ignited the store and even himself as he attempted to flee the scene -- leaving his burning ex-girlfriend to be rescued by other customers.
Charles Parsons, who suffered severe burns to his hands and arms, was treated at a local hospital before eventually being released to the care of Palm Beach County authorities, who charged him with attempted murder and arson. Parsons died at the Palm Beach County Jail Infirmary, on April 22, 2006, reportedly from a blood clot that had traveled from his leg to his lungs.
Charles Lester Parsons was a truck driver, who was known to his friends and family as "Big L". Parsons reportedly did not drink or smoke, and he supposedly had no prior criminal record, nor history of violence. Parsons' funeral was held at a local middle school gymnasium, and the funeral and graveside service were conducted by Walter Embry, an Elder at Parson's local Rivera Beach Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Charles Parsons' former girlfriend was Tanya LaDonna Cohen-Hughey, 38. She suffered third-degree burns over 90 percent of her body, and lived an agonizing 43 days before she died on May 16, 2006. Tanya Hughey was the mother of three children -- Anthony Hughey, 13, Tiara Hughey, 16, and Louis Decquir, 22. Hughey's relationship with the Jehovah's Witnesses, if any, is not known, but Parsons and she had dated for six years prior to their recent breakup. According to another former girlfriend of Parsons', named Margaret Hazel (who was probably a fellow Jehovah's Witness given that she told a reporter that she spoke with Parsons frequently, and last spoke with Parsons on the previous Sunday), the breakup was caused by Hughey's recent reconciliation with her ex-husband, whom Hughey had divorced in 2003 (do the math).
SEAN HINTON SUICIDE. Described by his widow, Francine Hinton Toney, as being "strait-laced" during his teen years growing up in Baltimore, Sean Hinton was reared as a Jehovah's Witness. By 1992, then 22 year-old Sean Hinton sought employment as a law enforcement officer with the Baltimore Police Department, in order to support his wife, two infant sons, and a 5 year-old (step?) daughter. By mid-October 1992, all seemed to be going well. Hinton had nearly completed work at the academy, and was undergoing field training. Graduation and becoming a sworn officer were only a few short weeks away. However, on Friday night, October 24, 1992, Sean Hinton had an auto accident in downtown Baltimore, and was arrested and jailed for DUI. Hinton spent most of that Saturday getting out of jail, and getting his auto out of impoundment. Later that same Saturday afternoon, at 5:40 PM, the troubled Sean Hinton penned a short note to his wife, which stated in part:
"Francine you have dealt with me 4 years, and you never seemed to believe I really loved you -- I do love you. You have Jehovah on your side. I have no one. I need Jehovah but I just can't seem to reach him. So I guess I will see someone. Please take care of our children for me."
Shortly thereafter, Sean Hinton left the housing project apartment which he, his wife, and their children shared with Sean's mother, Jean Hinton. Hinton walked out of the project, rather than driving his auto. At 6:48 PM, Hinton telephoned home from Amtrack's Penn Station to say that he would be home shortly. However, when he didn't return by midnight, his mother and wife reported him missing. Hinton did not return home that weekend, nor to his job on Monday.
On Tuesday, November 3, 1992, Sean Hinton's partially decomposed corpse was found floating in NYC harbor. His wrists were tied together using the drawstrings from the jacket he was wearing. His wallet contained a small amount of cash, and multiple pieces of ID. The autopsy indicated that Hinton had died from drowning several days previous. The NYC medical examiner eventually ruled Hinton's death to be a suicide, but issued the death certificate without a cause of death listed. Curiously, the Baltimore Police Department gave the unsworn Hinton a police funeral and burial, paid for all the expenses, and even reportedly paid out Hinton's insurance benefits to his family, despite the fact that due to the DUI, and failing to return to work, Hinton reportedly had been officially recommended for termination on or about October 28/29, 1992.
Because of all those uncertainties, and others too numerous to mention in this summary, Francine Hinton, Jean Hinton, and other family members refused to believe that Hinton had committed suicide, but rather believed that he had been murdered by corrupt members of the Baltimore Police Department. On Tuesday, October 21, 1992, during Hinton's field training, Hinton and two regular drug-enforcement officers busted an alleged drug dealer. That alleged drug dealer later filed a formal complaint in which he accused the three officers of burglarizing drugs and cash from his home while he was in jail. Hinton's family believe that he was murdered to keep him from testifying in the inquiry that later cleared the two drug-enforcement officers.
MARYLAND v. RONALD HINTON. The 1992 case of Sean Hinton was brought back to the public's attention in June 2006, when Hinton's by-then 15 year-old son, Ronald Hinton, was arrested for the rape and murder of the 4 year-old female cousin that he was babysitting. The Hinton family resurrected the case in efforts to excuse why Ronald Hinton had essentially confessed to committing the crime to police interrogators. Although Francine Toney believed and still believes that her son was innocent, in May 2008, a Baltimore jury convicted Ronald Hinton of the rape and murder. Hinton was sentenced to life plus 25 years in prison.
GEORGIA v. NATHANIEL LOMBARDO was a 2005-6 Georgia arson court case. Limited details. In November 2005, 23 year-old Nathaniel Lombardo was arrested and charged with various burglary and arson charges relating to his allegedly breaking into and setting fire to two Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses in the greater Atlanta area. Reportedly, Nathaniel was estranged from both his Jehovah's Witness Parents and his WatchTower religion, and thus may have been suffering "shunning" from many of his friends and relatives, who reported that Lombardo had a drug problem and resultant mental problems. However, Lombardo was apparently making efforts to reconcile with both his family and his Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses given that he reportedly had been attending both Kingdom Halls -- one of which was reportedly near his home, and the other near his parents' home. Both fires, neither of which resulted in structural damage, were set hours apart in the early AM hours of Monday, October 17, 2005, which would lead one to believe that Lombardo may have attended meetings at both Kingdom Halls on Sunday, and may also have met with the Elders regarding his personal situation, which may not have gone well from Lombardo's viewpoint. Outcome of prosecution unknown.
ILLINOIS v. MARTIN KRACHT and KRACHT v. KRACHT were related 2004-5 Illinois court cases. In 2002, a Chicago area Jehovah's Witness, named Shaun Winston, started a "Home Bible Study" with Martin Kracht. Kracht, 22, soon converted to the JWs. In January 2003, Kracht married Winston's 19 year-old JW sister, Vanese Bell (or possibly half-sister -- the mother of Winston and Bell has even a third last name -- Sherry Harris). Emory Kracht was born sometime around January 2004. However, by Fall 2003, a pattern of domestic abuse and violence had developed, and the couple separated, but stayed in touch as Kracht continued attending Kingdom Hall meetings. By Fall 2004, Vanese Kracht filed for divorce. In the last week of November 2004, at the Sunday Kingdom Hall meeting, Vanese Kracht apparently agreed to bring Emory to the home of Martin's mother later that day, where Martin was apparently living. As it turns out, Martin Kracht had strangled to death his own 52 year-old mother on Saturday evening. Apparently, when Vanese and Emory arrived at the home, Martin also strangled them to death. Interestingly, Martin Kracht had been "disfellowshipped" only a few days previous. Martin Kracht reportedly attempted suicide twice. Police found him sitting inside a running auto inside a relative's garage. He had reportedly also eaten rat poison. Assumed that Kracht is now serving life without possiblity of parole in an Illinois prison.
ILLINOIS v. LAURENCE E. LOVEJOY was a 2004-7 Illinois murder court decision. In February 2007, an African-American named Laurence E. Lovejoy, 40, of Naperville-Aurora-Matteson area, Illinois was convicted of murdering his 16 year-old step-daughter, Erin Janea Justice, in March 2004. I cannot locate a statement saying that Laurence Lovejoy was a Jehovah's Witness, but there is circumstantial evidence to indicate that he was. Even if he were not, the circumstances of this crime are such that the case is still pertinent to this webpage.
The memorial service for Erin Justice was originally scheduled to he held at the Naperville Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, but was moved to a High School in Aurora to accomodate the large number of expected attendees. That would indicate that Erin, and her mother, Valerie Lovejoy, were members in good standing in that Congregation. As for Laurence Lovejoy, Valerie Justice and he had only recently married "several months" previous. Given that Jehovah's Witnesses are for all practical purposes commanded to "marry only in the Lord", under threat of "marking" and "shunning", and given that the marriage was "recent", it is more likely than not that Laurence Lovejoy was either a baptized JW, or doing what it took to become such. On March 3, 2004, Erin Justice alleged that she was raped by her new stepfather at the family's Naperville apartment while Valerie Lovejoy was at work. Erin was examined at Edward Hospital, in Naperville, but there was no obvious evidence of trauma or injury to the 16 year-old girl. A rape kit obtained at the hospital was submitted for examination to the DuPage County Crime Lab, along with evidence obtained from the home. The State’s Attorney's Office declined to press charges pending the results of the laboratory findings.
On March 4, 2004, the Lovejoys "closed" on a newly purchased townhome in Aurora. Due to such, and possibly other reasons, Valerie Lovejoy declined the prosecutor's recommendation that she obtain an Order of Protection. However, while Valerie and Erin moved into their new townhome in Aurora, Laurence Lovejoy either stayed in the Naperville apartment, or moved to an apartment in Matteson. On the morning of March 27, 2004, at around 9:00 AM, Laurence Lovejoy reportedly entered the Aurora townhome while Erin was sleeping. Reportedly, he attempted to forced Erin at knifepoint to drink over-the-counter medication containing pseudoephedrine in an amount that could have killed her. When Erin fought back, Laurence Lovejoy reportedly bludgeoned Erin on the head, stabbed her with a knife, sliced both of her wrists, and then drowned her in a bathtub, in an attempt to make it appear that she had committed suicide. Erin’s body was discovered by her mother when she arrived home shortly before 11:00 AM. Laurence Lovejoy, who had minimal previous criminal history prior to this marriage, was not arrested and charged with the murder until nearly 5 months later. Notably, he also had a 7 year-old daughter from a previous marriage, and was possibly supported "morally" at the trial by that ex-spouse. However, in February 2007, it took the jury only 5 hours of deliberations to convict Laurence Lovejoy of both raping and murdering his step-daughter, only 6 hours to determine that he was eligible for the death penalty, and less than 4 hours to sentence him to the death penalty. The key evidence was an impression from one of Lovejoy's work gloves and a heelprint from one of Lovejoy's work boots -- both found in the bathroom. Lovejoy currently is in prison going through all the routine "death penalty" appeals.
CONNECTICUT v. STEPHEN FERENZ was a 2003-5 Connecticut murder court case decision. This crime and subsequent prosecution received much media attention due to the fact that the stabbing victim, Carol Ferenz, 63, who was a Jehovah's Witness, died because she refused to consent to a life-saving blood transfusion. Despite an avalanche of news coverage, it appears that the supposed factual "snippets" that came to be repeated over and over created impressions in readers/viewers minds that were not necessarily accurate.
For example, many of the media reports repeatedly stated that the stabbing occurred on "New Years Eve", with the resulting impression that the perpetrator, Carol's 42 year-old son, Stephen Ferenz, possibly had been drinking, or partaking of other celebratory typicals. No report that I could find ever mentioned that any of the other involved family members -- Stephen Ferenz, 42, son and perpetrator, Andrew Ferenz, father, John Ferenz, 45, son, and an unidentified sister -- might also have been "Jehovah's Witnesses". Multiple media reports repeatedly quoted Andrew Ferenz as stating that his son, Stephen, "had been on medication for 25 years", which when combined with other article particulars might have led some readers to assume that Stephen was practically an invalid child, who had lived with and been cared for by his parents for those 25 years. Multiple media reports also repeatedly published this quote from Andrew Ferenz regarding his wife's refusal to consent to the needed blood transfusion: "She looked the doctor in the eye and said, 'No transfusion. No blood.'"
The stabbing actually occurred around 5:00 PM on December 31, 2003. Possibly having just gotten off from work, John Ferenz had come to his parent's Glenville, Connectcut home, where Stephen and the unidentified sister also lived, to install a computer for Carol Frenz in an upstairs bedroom. Apparently without warning, Stephen entered the bedroom and stabbed his mother with a kitchen knife an uncertain number of times. Apparently, it took John Ferenz a few moments to realize what had just occurred, and he possibly may not have even understood the gravity, but he apparently stopped the attack, and disarmed Stephen. The three family members then moved downstairs, where Stephen eventually grabbed a second kitchen knife, and attacked his mother a second time. In total, Carol Ferenz was stabbed 8 times in her chest, back and right arm.
In contrast with practically every other media report that quoted Andrew Ferenz as stating, "She looked the doctor in the eye and said, 'No transfusion. No blood.'", one media report quoted the local Prosecutor as stating, “She indicated both to the [responding] medical technicians and at the hospital that before receiving a blood transfusion she had to check with the elders of her faith.”
Rather than being a life-long invalid under the care of his parents, around 1980/1, then 19 year-old Stephen Ferenz had sustained a head injury during an automobile accident while he was attending college in Florida. Yes, Stephen Ferenz "had been on medication for 25 years", but up until 1999 he had been able to lead a somewhat normal life. He had held down jobs, and he had even been married. Apparently, 1999 had been a negative turning point in Stephen Ferenz's life. Possibly, he and his wife had divorced. He may even have had children of his own.
What we do know is that between 1999 and the 2003 stabbing, Stephen had been hospitalized a dozen times for psychiatric treatment or evaluation. Stephen apparently also had moved back in with his parents and unidentified sister during this time period. During this time period, Stephen repeatedly would stop taking his medication, because he did not believe that he was ill, nor did he believe that he needed the medicine. He would then lapse into "delusional behavior", and "aggessive behavior", but he had supposedly never been "violent", according to the family.
In January 2005, a three-judge panel found Stephen Ferenz "not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect", and Ferenz was eventually sentenced to 40 years in a maximum security mental health facility. Interestingly, during the trial, a psychiatrist testified that Stephen Ferenz experienced "strange religious obsessions and paranoid fantasies", including the belief that his family, his doctors, and "other authority figures" were conspiring to keep him from reaching his career and "religious aspirations".
As noted above, none of the media reports ever identified any Ferenz family member as being a "Jehovah's Witness", except for the victim, Carol Ferenz. Yet, a local Jehovah's Witness, named Fred Kida, let it slip that the Ferenz family home was used as a location for one of the local Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses' weekly "Book Studies". It is extremely doubtful that in an area where there is a relatively large population of JWs -- suburban NYC -- that the Ferenz family would have received such a "privilege" and honor, unless the majority of family members were actually JWs, or JW sympathizers. And given such, one can only wonder about Stephen Ferenz's length and degree of connection to the JWs, and the role that such played in his personal issues over the years.
IN RE MENTAL HEALTH OF C.R.C. was a 2003-4 Montana involuntary commitment proceeding which concerned a self-proclaimed Jehovah's Witness female named C.R.C., of Libby, Montana. In July 2003, the Lincoln County Sheriff and a Libby Police Sergeant responded to a telephone call from a neighbor reporting yelling and gunshots from the area of CRC's mobile home. The officers found CRC to be upset -- pacing and yelling inside her home, alone. They also discovered that CRC had no water nor electric service, and the home was in a state of uncleanliness. Concerned that CRC might hurt herself or others, she was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital, where doctors assessed as having psychosis with agitation. CRC physically resisted being taken into custody, and restraint and sedation at the hospital. The local prosecutor initiated involuntary commitment proceedings, and the local court committed CRC to Montana State Hospital. In June 2004, the Montana appellate court vacated the commitment order holding that there had not been sufficient evidence that CRC was a threat to herself or others.
JW ELDER-SON MURDER-SUICIDE??? In August 2003, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida Jehovah's Witness Elder, named Carl Dennis Mackey, 41, allegedly shot his 12 year-old son, Brian, (or Bryan) just after midnight in the early AM hours of a Monday morning. The JW Elder then supposedly turned his pistol on himself. Curiously, local police became aware of the alleged murder-suicide when they responded to a telephone call which had reported a supposed emergency at another home near the Mackey residence. When the police arrived in the neighborhood in response to that telephone call, at around 12:40 AM, Laura Mackey ran out of the Mackey home screaming that her husband was trying to kill her and her son. Laura Mackey, (or Lora Mackey), then told the officers that she last saw her husband heading to her 12 year-old son's bedroom, and that she had just heard two gunshots. The officers entered the residence to investigate, and discovered Dennis Mackey and Brian Mackey both dead from single gunshots to the head, as well as a "small caliber" handgun lying next to Dennis Mackey's body.
Dennis Mackey was a supervisor at the City of Plantation Department of Public Works. Co-workers and supervisors had nothing but positive things to say about Dennis Mackey. Brian Mackey, 12, was reportedly an honors student, who was well behaved and had never been in trouble. Dennis Mackey reportedly doted on Brian. Tim Mackey, 22, stated that his father was a hard worker, who preached morals. The Mackey home was even the site of two weekly Jehovah's Witness congegation meetings -- on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Family, friends, and co-workers could not believe nor speculate any reason why Dennis Mackey would have, or even could have, murdered the son whom he loved so much, much less have committed suicide. Laura Mackey, who was employed as an Office Manager at an alternative school, reportedly alleged that Dennis Mackey and she had been having marital problems for the past several months.
FLORIDA v. JAVIER ORLANDO CARASQUILLO was a 2003-4 Florida murder court decision. On Sunday, December 1, 2003, a mentally-ill 28 year-old Jehovah's Witness, named Javier Orlando Carrasquillo, hired a taxi in Sanford, Florida to take him to the Orange City, Florida home of fellow Jehovah's Witnesses, Carmen Negron, 63, and her two sons, Gilberto Vergara-Negron, 28, and Yamir Orlando Vergara-Negron, 26. On arrival, Javier O. Carrasquillo asked to use their restroom. On exiting, Carrasquillo pulled a 9mm pistol, and first shot Gilberto Negron in a bedroom, and then Carmen Negron in a second bathroom. Apparently, having been alerted by the gunshots, Orlando Negron fought with Carrasquillo, who eventually managed to both shoot Orlando Negron, and cut his throat with a knife.
Although the time of the murders is not known, I am assuming that Carrasquillo had come to the Negron home with the excuse of accompanying the family to the Sunday meeting at their local Spanish-speaking Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, in Orange City, which could have been either Sunday morning or afternoon. Apparently, Carrasquillo was able to surprise his first two victims as they were getting bathed and dressed for that Sunday meeting. After ransacking the house, Carrasquillo took Gilberto Negron's car for transportation, which Carrasquillo left at an Orlando fee parking lot the next day.
The murders were discovered Monday evening, at around 7:00 PM, when multiple Jehovah's Witnesses, including Israel Gonzalez and BS Overseer Eugenio Muriel, arrived at the Negron's home, which was one of the locations for the Orange City Congregation's weekly "Book Studies". Later, when the prosecutor announced that he would seek the death penalty for the mentally-ill Carrasquillo, Elder Eugenio Muriel publicly praised that decision.
Javier Carrasquillo was the main suspect from the start of the investigation, and he was arrested on a prior warrant that Thursday, at an unidentified Sanford mental health facility. Carrasquillo confessed to the murders. Carrasquillo explained that he had been disfellowshipped (excommunicated) from the Jehovah's Witnesses (who believe they are GOD's only chosen people on the earth, and that all other people, even other professed Christians, are Satan-worshippers), and that as a result of such he had become an "anti-christ". Carrasquillo's mentally-ill mind then led him to believe that he had been dumped onto Satan's side, and as a result, Carrasquillo supposedly had made a "pact" with the Devil for a human sacrifice.
Interestingly, around September-October 2003, Carrasquillo had told his mother, Leida Rivera, who lived somewhere in the Orlando area, about those thoughts, and Carrasquillo had even telephoned and told his grandmother, Natividad Ortiz, who lived in Puerto Rico.Thereafter, Leida Rivera had telephoned one or more of the Spanish-speaking Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses in the area to warn them regarding what Carrasquillo had told her, including that he had threatened members of the JWs involved in his excommunication, including the Negron family. Apparently, Javier Carrasquillo associated with a number of the area's Spanish-speaking Congregations, including ones in Sanford, Deltona, De Bary, Orange City, and possibly others. Reportedly, after receiving Leida Rivera's warning, one or more of those Kingdom Halls had started locking their doors after their various "meetings" had commenced, which begs the question whether Rivera or any of the Elders at those Congregations had ever warned the Negron family about these specific threats (After the fact, JWs told reporters that the Negrons were afraid of Carrasquillo. Then, why did they allow him into their house?)
Curiously, Elder Eugenio Muriel told reporters that Carrasquillo had been a member of the DeBary, Florida Spanish-speaking Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, and that it was his understanding that Carrasquillo had been returned to membership. Since that apparently was not Carrasquillo's understanding, it is unclear whether Carrasquillo was actually disfellowshipped (excommunicated), or "reproved" (lesser punishment short of excommunication, in which the Elders can select any number of temporary punishments). Further, it is unclear whether Carrasquillo had be reinstated to membership, if excommunicated, or removed or partially removed from "reproof", if only "reproved".
Despite tons of media reports, I cannot locate any reports which explained how Javier Orlando Carrasquillo had become a Jehovah's Witness. Thus, it is anyone's guess whether Leida Rivera and Natividad Ortiz were or had been JWs, and whether Carrasquillo had been reared as a JW. Reportedly, after learning of the murders, Carrasquillo's mother, herself, even sought police protection. Neither did media reports explain how Carrasquillo became friends with the Negron family, in Orange City, given that such reports mention Carrasquillo's having lived just about everywhere in the area except Orange City. Neither did the reports explain what role the Negrons played in Carrasquillo's "judicial proceedings" with the JWs, which apparently was the reason for their being murdered. (Roberto Negron, brother of Carmen Negron, was an Elder in one of the area's other Spanish-speaking Congregations, so that may have been the link.)
Those same media reports also failed to reveal much else about Carrasquillo's life prior to 2003. A March 2003 incident was mentioned when Carrasquillo was committed for psychiatric evaluation for 72-hours after police found Carrasquillo walking the streets of Deltona in bloody clothing. While attempting to place Carrasquillo in protective custody, he fled from and fought with the police, slashed himself with a knife, and taunted police to shoot him. Carrasquillo had to be "tasered" at the scene and again at the hospital. Reportedly, the March flare-up had been caused to Carrasquillo's having been fired from his job, and having broken up with his fiancee, of whom there is no additional info.
Javier's sister, Sheyla Carrasquillo, 20, who lived in Puerto Rico, also reported that Carrasquillo had been mugged in Sanford, in April 2003, and as a result of head trauma, he had had to be airlifted to an Orlando hospital. Natividad Ortiz reported that Carrasquillo had been mentally-ill since childhood, but had not been violent until just recently. In fact, Javier Orlando Carrasquillo reportedly had no criminal record in Florida prior to 2003, and supposedly none in Puerto Rico (unknown when he came to live in the U.S.)
Apparently, in October-November 2003, Carrasquillo had voluntarily (re)entered the Sanford mental health facility, which may have been where he was incarcerated in March. It was there that Carrasquillo was arrested on Monday, December 2, 2003. During later court hearings, Carrasquillo claimed to have been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
In October 2004, Javier Carrasquillo pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder, armed robbery, and armed house burglary, in exchange for prosecutors agreeing not to pursue the death penalty. Carrasquillo was sentenced to five life sentences. The delay may have been due to Carrasquillo's having been ruled mentally unfit to participate in the proceeding, and he may have spent time in a state mental health facility until judged mentally fit to continue.
OREGON v. CHRISTIAN MICHAEL LONGO (2003), MICHIGAN v. CHRISTIAN LONGO (2000), and MICHIGAN v. CHRIS LONGO (1992) are criminal court cases which involved a "homeschooled" Jehovah's Witness "Ministerial Servant" named Christian Longo. Chris Longo was reared as a Jehovah's Witness by parents who became prominent Jehovah's Witnesses over the years. Joy Longo was the first to convert to the JWs when Christian Longo and Dustin Longo were youngsters. Joe Longo, the stepfather, was a mid-level manager with Target Corp, and he converted due to Joy's determination, and eventually became an "Elder". In the mid 1990s, the WatchTower Society selected the Longo's, an "Elder" and a "Pioneer", to travel as special delegates and "role models" to multiple JW Conventions being held in several Eastern European countries and the Baltic Republics.
Despite having been homeschooled during high school, so that he could also "pioneer", 18 year-old Christian Longo was arrested and convicted of misdemeanor embezzlement in 1992, after he stole cash out of the cash register at a Michigan photographic equipment store where he was employed as a salesclerk.
In September 2000, a married Christian Longo, who by then was a "Ministerial Servant" in his JW Congregation, and employer of several of his fellow JWs, pled guilty to two counts of forgery and two counts of uttering and publishing in connection with a series of forgery and fraud crimes committed in Summer 2000. Longo had manufactured, signed, and cashed checks which he duplicated from genuine checks issued to him by a construction firm which was a customer of Longo's own janitoral services company. In actuality, Longo had faked and forged six checks amounting to approximately $30,000.00.
By the summer of 2001, Christian Longo was again manufacturing and cashing fraudulent checks duplicated from his customers' legitimate payment checks. Longo was never prosecuted for such, because by that time his criminal activities were swiftly esculating to theft of automobiles, boats, construction equipment, and the finale -- murder of his wife and three children .
In December 2001, after having fled to Oregon to hide from authorities in Michigan and Ohio, and after having ran out of money and options to obtain money to support his family, and because he could no longer turn to his Jehovah's Witness family, Christian Longo's mentally ill mind led him to kill his faithful JW wife and three young innocent children, and disposed of their bodies by dumping them in two coastal inlets. Longo then fled to Cancun, where Mexican police and the FBI eventually discovered him smoking pot and fornicating with a German tourist.
THE ROBERT BRYANT FAMILICIDE. In February 2002, one month after Christian Longo's capture in Mexico made international headlines, an eerily similar tragedy struck a second family of "Jehovah's Witnesses" who also had fled to Oregon, and who lived only about an hour away from where the Longo Family had lived. The family patriarch, Robert Arlie Bryant, age 37, had been a Jehovah's Witness Elder, but had been "disfellowshipped" after he began to believe that he had received the "heavenly call" as one of the "144,000", or "the anointed remnant" -- those few, privileged JWs who go to heaven to be co-rulers with Jesus Christ. Robert Bryant committed suicide after first murdering his wife, Janet Bryant, and their four children, Clayton, 15, Ethan, 12, Ashley, 9, and Alissa, 8, on the evening of the Bryants' 17th wedding anniversary (marriage anniversaries are the only "holiday" JWs are permitted to celebrate).
Before everything went wrong, Robert Bryant and Janet Bryant, and their four children had been members of the Shingle Springs, California Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, where both Robert and his father, Keith Bryant, were "Elders". In addition to rearing Rob Bryant in the WatchTower religion, Keith Bryant and Arlene Bryant also had reared Rob in the family landscaping business. Robert Bryant eventually became business partners with his father and two brothers. Sometime around 1997-98, Robert Bryant disclosed his "call" and began partaking of the bread and wine at the WatchTower Society's annual "Memorial" --during which 99.999% of Jehovah's Witness take the "sacraments" into their hands, and then reject such as taught by the WatchTower Society. Robert was probably shocked at the negative reaction that his "good news" elicited from not just the other members in the congregation, but from even his own parents and siblings. Keith Bryant reportedly took Robert's claim seriously only "grudgingly", while Bryant's own mother reportedly was "furious", and rejected the notion. Within a matter of a few months, Robert Bryant was excommunicated from the JWs -- in mid 1998. Since JWs are required to "shun" (treat as dead) disfellowshipped former members, under penalty of being excommunicated themselves if they fail to do so, the landscaping business partnership with his father and brothers reportedly was dissolved. Then, in early 2000, Robert Bryant's first landscaping business of his own, which apparently competed with his father's landscaping business, was forced into bankruptcy. Rob Bryant apparently thereafter started a second landscaping business while dealing with same/similar issues of the first.
At some point, Robert and Janet Bryant (who apparently had "disassociated" herself from the JWs) stopped attending "meetings" at the Shingle Springs, California Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Keith Bryant and Arlene Bryant reportedly initiated legal action to obtain visitation and/or custody of the four Bryant children in an alleged effort to force their grandchildren to attend the local Kingdom Hall, and be reared as Jehovah's Witnesses. By late 2000, or early 2001, it finally became apparent to Robert and Janet Bryant that they would have to move away from Shingle Springs if they were to have any hope of a normal life for themselves and their four children. Unfortunately, in the summer of 2001, the Bryants made the mistake of choosing McMinnville, Oregon, where the climate and other factors were not the best for a new resident with a new landscaping business to support a large family. By winter 2001-2, the Bryants were experiencing financial problems and other difficulties. McMinnville residents would have helped the Bryants if they had only known. However, still retaining the JW mentality and lifestyle of living separate from "the world", the Bryants stayed to themselves until that fateful evening when Robert Bryant's apparent depression led to his irreversible, unfortunate decision.
The McMinnville, Oregon Jehovah's Witnesses laid as snakely low as possible as the authorities and reporters attempted to gather information about this tragedy and its cause. While the local JWs lamented this "reproach" on their beloved WatchTower Society, it was left to the "worldly" "false christians" at McMinnville's Bethel Baptist Church to hold a memorial service for the Bryant family. Five hundred local residents turned out to show their respect for and mourn a family who were barely known to the local communnity. At that memorial service was one floral arrangement which aptly summed up the situation. That floral arrangement had a banner draped across it which displayed the thought: "SHUNNED NO MORE".
STEPHANIE RODRIGUEZ v. LEO RODRIGUEZ was an ongoing messy divorce which ultimately ended in a MURDER-SUICIDE. Late on a Saturday night in September 2003, after months of acrimony and two previous arrests for spousal battery, Leo Rodriguez, age 40, of Hollister, California, whom had been reared as a Jehovah's Witness, went to the apartment of his estranged wife, where he kicked in the front door, and then shot in the head Stephanie Rodriguez, age 37. Leo Rodriguez thereafter also shot himself in the head. The couple left behind a 10 year-old son.
MASSACHUSETTS v. KEVIN HENSLEY was a 2002-5 Massachusetts murder court decision. Described by media as a "mild-mannered monster", in July 2005, a Jehovah's Witness, named Kevin Hensley, was convicted of murdering his JW Wife, and was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
This Jehovah's Witness Couple, Kevin Hensley, 46, and Nancy Gillespie Hensley, 45, of East Boston, evidently had developed marital problemes, despite their 22 years of marriage, during which they parented four children: Kerry Hensley, 20, Pat Hensley, 17, Candace Hensley, 10, and Kevin Hensley Jr., age 6. On January 9, 2002, Nancy Hensley filed for divorce, had her husband removed from the couple's home, and obtained a restraining order against Kevin Hensley, who had threatened to kill her if she sought a divorce. On Thursday afternoon, January 31, 2002, apparently knowing that it was his wife's day-off from work, Kevin Hensley left early from his job as a City of Boston employee, and somehow gained entry to the family home through a rear door. Hensley first beat his wife, and thereafter strangled her to death in their bedroom using one of his neckties. Nancy Hensley's corpse reportedly was found a few hours later in a basement bathroom by the couple's oldest daughter, Kerry Hensley.
After the murder, Kevin Hensley fled to New Hampshire, where he attempted to commit suicide. Police found an already unconscious Hensley, in the ski resort town of Waterville Valley, sitting in his wife's idling car, with a hose running from the car's exhaust system into the vehicle.
One of Nancy Gillespie Hensley's three siblings claimed that Kevin Hensley had mentally abused their sister for years, while a family friend accused unidentified persons of interfering in the couple's problems, and "guiding" Nancy Hensley to divorce her husband. Neighbors described the JW couple and their children as having an idealic family life. It is possible that Nancy Hensley had only recently sought employment outside the home, and such had initiated a desire for a new life independent from her husband.
NEW YORK v. ERIC LOUISSANT was a 2002 New York double murder court decision. In November 2000, a 20 year-old African-American Jehovah's Witness, named Eric Louissant, murdered Stephen Leung, 55, and Chilin Leung, 41, who were the parents of his 17 year-old Asian girlfriend, Connie Leung. Under a plea bargain deal, Louissant was sentenced to two consecutive 15 year terms under which he will serve a minimum of 30 years before being eligible for parole. Connie Leung received the same sentence for her role in the two murders.
Lois Louissant acknowledged that the Louissant family were devout Jehovah's Witnesses, but also related that their son had stopped obeying their rules and had left their Bronx home a year prior to the murders, and that he had been staying with "friends" in East Harlem, which was where the Leung family lived. Neighbors stated that the Louissants were a "model family". Eric Louissant had no previous criminal record.
Connie Leung's parents were adamantly opposed to the year old relationship -- during which their high school senior daughter had lost all interest in high school and college. A day before the slayings, Louissant, was caught at 3:00 AM hiding in Connie Leung's bedroom closet by her mother. That same day Connie Leung and her father met with a school counselor at the Manhattan Center for Science and Math (a college prep school) to discuss the one-time honor student's repeated absences, where they apparently engaged in a heated argument. The next evening, Louissant and Leung waited for Stephen Leung to come home from work. While the father was resting in his bedroom watching television, the pair sneaked up behind him and strangled him with a belt. When the mother arrived home a few hours later, the pair also strangled her with another belt. After waiting several days, Louissant and Leung dumped the two bodies in the East River. Leung and Louissaint were also charged with theft for having sold the parents' rings and gold chains, worth about $5,000, at a pawn shop after the murders.
CALIFORNIA v. GREGORY EVAN LANE was a 2002 California court case. In February 2002, Gregory Evan Lane, 36, of Willow Creek, California, stabbed numerous times with a large knife David Jones, 49, of Salyer, inside the Willow Creek Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. The two men apparently had went into a back room to talk, when an argument broke out that led to the stabbing. Greg Lane reportedly then went back into the main auditorium and sat down until police arrived. Outcome for both parties unknown.
MANITOBA v. GORDON EDWARD WATSON was a 2002-03 Manitoba criminal court case. In July 2002, after having spent many years caring for her invalid husband, an unidentified 75 year-old female was admitted to Brandon Regional Hospital to be treated for depression and to receive a psychiatric assessment. This elderly woman's status with the Jehovah's Witnesses was not reported by the media, but it has been asserted that she did occasionally attend services at her own local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.
On a SATURDAY NIGHT in early August 2002, that elderly female alleged that a well-dressed and well-manicured man, whom she did not know, entered her hospital room and introduced himself as a "doctor". She alleged that the "doctor" instructed her to lie back, and that he then proceeded to push on her stomach as if he were checking for something. The "doctor" then allegedly opened her nightgown and began kissing her breasts. The traumatized elderly female screamed for help when the "doctor" allegedly started to pull down his trousers. What happened thereafter is not known, but the elderly female was eventually asked to identify her alleged attacker from 7 photographs shown her by Brandon Police. The elderly female identified a photograph of a 42 year-old Jehovah's Witness Elder at the Brandon Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, named Gordon Edward Watson, as being her attacker. Gordon Watson was criminally charged with assault and impersonation.
At the November 2003 trial, Gordon E. Watson apparently admitted that he had been at the hospital that Saturday night in his capacity as a Jehovah's Witness Minister, and Watson apparently admitted that he purposefully went to the room of this elderly female. Watson simply DENIED that he had identified himself as a "doctor, and Watson DENIED that he had assaulted the elderly female. The female judge found Gordon Watson "Not Guilty" despite reportedly indicating that she had suspicions about his guilt. The judge indicated that there was not sufficient evidence to convict Watson, plus the photo lineup used to identify Watson had unfairly highlighted him as a suspect.
TEXAS v. CHARLES PLOEGER was a 2001-6 Texas appellate court decision. Sometime in 2001-2, a 61 years-old "long-time" member of the Stafford, Texas, Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, named Charlie Ploeger Jr., was "disfellowshipped" from the congregation for conduct relating to his showing romantic interest in another member, named Sylvia Solis, who was then in her 20s.
At some point thereafter, Charlie Ploeger was convicted by a jury of misdemeanor "stalking". Ploeger received a suspended 365 days jail term, and was placed on probation for 24 months. On appeal, in 2006, the conviction was reversed and remanded due to an improper jury charge. However, the Texas Court of Appeals ruled that the evidence presented at trial was legally sufficient to support each element of the offense as set out in the "hypothetically correct" charge for stalking. The court stated, in part:
"Appellant was charged with stalking Solis from March 1, 2001 through May 14, 2002. The undisputed evidence showed, among other things, that from at least August, September, or October 2001 through May 2002, appellant repeatedly sent flowers, letters, gifts, and cards to Solis - eventually almost daily- and that he actually called and went to her mother's place of business, when Solis and her mother had the same first and last name. The jury could rationally have believed that these actions constituted a course of conduct, occurring on more than one occasion, that was directed specifically at Solis. ... ...
"Appellant repeatedly sent flowers, letters, gifts, and cards to Solis, eventually almost daily, and went to and called her mother's place of business. Once, appellant placed a gift on the car of Solis's friend, which was the same color as Solis's car, and which the jury could rationally have believed that appellant thought was actually Solis's car. After Solis first reported appellant's behavior to a church elder, Leon Kinloch, in either June or in the Fall of 2001, the church elders decided to 'monitor the situation' and to try to prevent appellant from sitting near Solis. However, they were unsuccessful at preventing his approaching her: 'on multiple occasions,' appellant would position himself 'to either get in close proximity to [Solis] to pass her notes or to get in her line of sight to establish some sort of-what appeared to be to try to establish some sort of eye contact.' After the elders had asked him to leave the congregation because of his actions toward Solis, appellant 'often would drive through the parking lot of our Kingdom Hall'; after the elders told him not to drive through the parking lot, appellant at least once stood in another church's nearby parking lot in sight of those (including Solis) exiting the church. Solis testified that she believed that appellant was waiting specifically for her because he 'kept staring at me ... ,' although she followed up by admitting that she did not know whether he was actually waiting for her. Finally, Elder Kinloch explained that Solis had come to him in the Fall of 2001 complaining that 'according to her, [appellant had] been following her.' ... ...
"... when Solis first reported appellant's behavior to church Elder Kinloch in either June or in the Fall of 2001, Elder Kinloch described Solis's demeanor as 'very concerned.' Elder Kinloch described Solis's demeanor during the period that the church's 'monitoring' period and afterwards as 'very, very concerned,' 'very, very jittery and jumpy,' 'incredibly nervous,' 'consistently nervous,' 'extremely jumpy,' and 'maybe even frightened so much so that she was hesitant to attend meetings,' 'so fearful of the situation that she actually stopped coming to the Kingdom Hall,' 'afraid of her shadow,' and 'consistently in fear of someone coming up behind her.' The elder explained that Solis's demeanor over the last three years had changed 'dramatically.' ... ...
"... In addition to Officer Veazy's doing so, Elder Kinloch talked to appellant about the situation, asking him to stop sending Solis things, at least once in November or December 2001 and possibly more than once. When appellant's behavior toward Solis continued, the church elders eventually asked appellant to leave the congregation. ... ...
"Solis had never even spoken to appellant, encouraged appellant to take any interest in her, or had any contact with appellant (except for her written refusals to have lunch with him the very first time that he sent her notes) at any time before or after he began his efforts in March 2001. Nonetheless, starting in August, September, or October 2001, appellant repeatedly and persistently - and, later, even daily- pursued Solis through letters, cards, flowers, and gifts. Appellant called and came to Solis's mother's store and left things in the mailbox there. Appellant's letters used language that one might use if one were intimate with someone or knew that person extremely well, stating that he and Solis would marry, referring to their children and grandchildren, and often speaking in language that indicated that he believed that their love was deep and mutual and that their marriage was a fait accompli. Appellant also referred to Solis's buttocks, to wanting to see her breasts, and to how they would keep his bedroom busy after they were married - all without her having spoken even one word to him.
"Even after Elder Kinloch had told him to leave Solis alone and to leave the congregation, appellant 'often would drive through the parking lot of our Kingdom Hall' and at least once stood nearby in sight of those (including Solis) exiting the church. Appellant's efforts became more frequent as time went on, and he continued his conduct even after he had been advised by Officer Veazy (January 2002) and Elder Kinloch (Fall of 2001) that Solis was terrified or did not welcome his advances and that he should leave her alone; even after he had been expelled from the church because of his behavior toward Solis; and even after he had been arrested for this offense.
"Even as early as January 2002, Officer Veazy was 'concerned' with appellant's behavior because '[i]t just wasn't normal' and because appellant had admitted already having watched Solis for a very long time. The officer also opined that, although Solis did not mention on her first visit to him that appellant had injured or threatened to injure her, the officer 'could understand where [Solis] was coming from,' given appellant's conduct. As for appellant's conduct at church meetings, Solis explained: '[W]e even got up to move [at church] and he kind of just got mad and he, you know, stormed out a couple of times when the Elders told him, you know, 'You can't sit there' or 'You can't do that.' ... ... ."
CROWN v. RICHARD THORPE was a 2008 British criminal court case in which a "mentally ill" Jehovah's Witness named Richard Thorpe, then age 26, beat and kicked to death his 58 year-old father, Eddie Thorpe, on the sidewalk in front of his JW Parent's home in Batley, West Yorkshire. In October 2008, Thorpe was convicted in Leeds Crown Court of manslaughter due to his diminished accountability. Richard Thorpe died of influenza in January 2011 at a mental health institution.
IN RE R. N. was a 2003 Ontario, Canada, involuntary hospitalization proceeding due to mental illness. In June 2003, an unmarried 32 year-old Jehovah's Witness Male was involuntarily taken into custody and hospitalized at Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital, Windsor, Ontario -- apparently at the request of his JW Parents. RN was previously hospitalized for depression and obsessive compulsive disorder in 1994. RN had been threatening various Elders and other members of his local congregation who he believed were all part of a conspiracy to make him "homosexual". RN stated that he was told by a fellow JW that she had put a hex on him and a mark on his back indicating he was gay, and that other JW Females were part of a conspiracy to make him gay using witchcraft and demons. RN stated that during one of his trips to the Kingdom Hall that two JW Females had been staring at him and gasping in horror at him. RN also believed that a JW Elder and others were making homosexual advances towards him. RN told his JW Mother that he would fight the hex and do whatever he had to do to rid himself of the demons that weer controlling his mind, including fight anyone to the death. RN told his JW Mother that he was willing to die to get rid of the demons and that death would be a relief.
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