#Murder

Police Identify Stabbing Victim As Gay Graphic Designer Jeffrey Parker

A 35-year-old graphic designer from Toronto was stabbed to death.

First responders found Jeffrey Parker, known as Jay Parker or Jay Tripper, in a George Street apartment around 4:10 p.m. on Thursday. Parker was rushed to St. Michael’s Hospital, but died of his injuries a few hours later, according to CTV News Toronto.

After hearing the news, several associates and friends of Parker mourned his passing. Several remembered him as a kind and passionate soul.

“When I was 21, I had cancer and Jay threw a party for me. Almost 500 people showed up. It was really a defining moment in my life,” said former roommate Daniel.

“It was very, very difficult, very unexpected,” Daniel added. “He’s not the kind of person that would get into a conflict that escalated.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jay Tripper (@jaytripper) on

Police also found a murder suspect, according to Toronto City News. A 22-year-old man named Tyler Reynolds was found at a fast food store near the house Parker was discovered. Reynolds was arrested in relation to the crime and charged with second-degree murder. Police say the two men knew each other, but are unsure of what their relationship was.

In addition, a GoFundMe page has been created to help pay for Parker’s funeral. Plus, some of the proceeds will go towards finding Parker’s boyfriend Kevin a new home due to the last one being where Parker died.

“We find ourselves in horror, in shock. Jay Tripper a.k.a Jeff Parker has left our cruel world without warning, without reason. We ask that you donate to help his partner Kevin cover the costs of extracting himself painlessly  from that accursed house on George st that has claimed two loved ones in the last year. We need a company to clean, pack and move out Kevin and jays belongings and to cover the storage costs while we grieve. Jay made some wonderful art, let us preserve it.”

Reynolds is scheduled to appear in court next week.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jay Tripper (@jaytripper) on

h/t: CTV News Toronto, Toronto City News

Closeted Man Accused Of Murdering Wife Shares "Ironic" Story Of Watching Strangulation Video Together

The UK Man who’s accused of choking his wife to death decides now’s the time ot share the story of how they watched a video about strangulation. We've been following the case for weeks now.

While on trial with the Teesside Crown Court for the death of 34-year-old Jessica Patel, 37-year-old Mitesh Patel, the pharmacist-turned-suspect shared what’s been on his mind since his arrest.

Mr. Patel shares that he and his wife once watched a YouTube video about “How long someone takes to die from strangulation.”

According to BBC News, Patel said the following while in court:

"For the last six and a half months, every day in that prison cell, one of the many, many things I have thought is, 'how ironic was this?'.

"The cause of Jessica's death was that, and anyone sat there would be thinking, 'What on earth is going on?’”

Patel denies the accusation that he killed his wife, but he does admit that he cheated on her.

The Teesside Crown Court found evidence that Patel was using the gay dating app Grindr to meet other men and wanted to start a new life with a male doctor.

The prosecution suggests that Patel murdered his wife to acquire a £2m life insurance claim and move to Australia.

The court also shared that the couple had been trying to hve children and went through three cycles of IVF treatment. During this process in 2017, Jessica Patel discovered that her husband was watching gay porn and was texting other men. She then sought the advice of Mitesh’s brother.

On top of that, the persecution also accused Mr. Patel of searching the internet for information about Hindu funerals for a married woman, insulin overdoses, and coroners.

In response, Patel says he feared being discovered as an Asian gay man, but he insists that he did not kill his wife.

"I cannot explain how I felt, it was the fear of being exposed as an Asian gay man, and I was going to let Jess down.

"One thing is the truth, I have not anything do to with killing Jessica."

The trial is ongoing.

Murder Suspect Claims There Were No Secrets in His Marriage

Earlier we wrote about the beginning stages of the court case of 37-year-old Mitesh Patel who was accused of killing his wife Jessica Patel. Mr. Patel was a prime suspect in the case and it was discovered that he had been cheating on his wife with various men using Grindr.

Now, the plot thickens as the trial unfurls with more details on the murder of Jessica Patel and the possible motives that Mitesh had to kill his wife.

Jessica was murdered by strangulation and suffocation with a plastic bag around her head. She was found bound by duct tape at the wrists and ankles. Mitesh called the police and said he was out and when he returned the home had been burglarized and she was dead. Authorities began to suspect Mitesh because he had scratches on his neck and then found the hard drive to their home security system buried in a suitcase. Not to mention, Mitesh had recently taken out a $2 million life insurance policy on his wife and also inquired about a will for he and his wife stating that the other would get everything should one of them die. Mitesh told police that the scratch was an injury he incurred at the gym, but his DNA was found under his wife’s fingernails.

One of the most horrific pieces of evidence is that Mitesh sent a text message to his wife asking her if he should order some pizza after the time she is assumed to have already been killed.

GazetteLive reports on the latest updates on the trial of this man who was leading a double life.

Several witnesses spoke on the trial that began presenting evidence on Thursday.

Jessica Patel’s uncle, Sharadkumar Patel shared that in 2012 Jessica mentioned to him that their marriage would not be going forward because they were having marital and intimacy issues. Mitesh would come home from work and go into another room to speak to another man, a doctor who lived in Australia.

The prosecution shared with jurors:

You will, however, hear that by the beginning of 2012, Mitesh Patel had met the man of his dreams.

The evidence shows that this relationship was not only passionate but that the two were in it with a view to spending the longest possible time together.

By February of that year, 2012, Mitesh Patel was to tell this man that he was the one for whom he had been waiting for nine years.

By the end of April just four months after they’d met, they were planning a life together in Australia.

It was also presented that from 2013-2018 Mitesh had searched the following phrases online:

  • “I need to kill my wife”
  • “insulin overdose”
  • “plot to kill my wife, why do I need co-conspirators”
  • “life after loss of spouse”,
  • “finding your way after losing a spouse”,
  • “coping with the death of your spouse”,
  • “The death of spouse, rebuilding your life after the first year”
  • “how do I arrange a funeral”
  • how much methadone will kill you

According to court reporting, Jessica had shared with her sister Divya that Mitesh had been violent toward her by putting his hands around her neck and sharing that he sometimes hurt her.

A pharmacy employee also shared that Patel would bring men into the pharmacy’s back door and lead him into the back to have sex. There is also footage of Mitesh kissing and cuddling with other men in the pharmacy. Men that his wife and the employee knew he was meeting on Grindr.

The Teesside Crown Court was presented with a series of text messages demonstrating the couple’s dealings with IVF. In a text message conversation on July 26, 2017 they discussed:

Mitesh Patel said:

Listen to me. If you still don’t want to do it, just say. We can stop, cancel and go our own ways. I’m being honest with you. I’ve done nothing wrong. I can’t carry on like this.

Jessica Patel:

Just think, you’re not being honest with me.

Mitesh:

Well that’s up to you. I’m not going through this every day. If we do the IVF I don’t want there to be any cracks in us. The way we behave with each other, that’ll affect our child.

Jessica:

Those texts and images tell me a different story to what you’re saying. I did say you’ll be forgiven. I want to be a mother and always have felt that since I got married. To have my own little family was my dream. I think it would be right to cancel for now.

Mitesh:

I think you’re mad. You can forgive me but I won’t forgive you for this.

Earlier in 2018 the couple vacationed in India where Mitesh Patel paid for a male prostitute. He also began looking for properties in Sydney while his wife continued IVF treatment.

The prosecution also presented several other pieces of evidence that Mitesh was engaging in sexual relations with other men in the home he shared with his wife. The prosecution said, however, that Mitesh asserts they had no secrets and does admit to meeting a ‘handful’ of men on Grindr.

The trial over the death of Jessica Patel continues, but this evidence is very clear.

h/t: GazetteLive

After Cheating on His Wife With Other Men on Grindr, Man is Prime Suspect in Her Murder

On May14th, 34-year-old Jessica Patel was found dead in her home of Middlesbrough, England. Her husband, 37-year-old Mitesh Patel is accused of her murder. Patel and his wife were pharmacists who ran a business together according to GazetteLive. Patel denies murdering his wife, but it is known that he had cheated on her numerous times with men who he had met on the gay hookup app Grindr.

In order to get a fair trial, High Court judge Mr. Justice James Goss QC was careful to inform potential jurors that anyone who was familiar with Grindr would not be allowed to serve as a juror.

He shared with jurors at the Teesside Crown Court:

It is agreed that during the course of the marriage, the defendant Mitesh Patel had been unfaithful to his wife, including having met men for sexual intercourse.

Some of them he met using a social networking site called Grindr.

In a moment the names of witnesses and others to whom reference may be made during the trial will be read out to you.

If you know any of them and believe that that knowledge of them is sufficient to compromise your objectivity as you consider the evidence, you should indicate that in a note that you write to me.

It is agreed between the prosecution and defence and approved by me that in order to seek to ensure your objectivity as potential jurors in this case, if you have frequented the Roman Road pharmacy in Linthorpe over the last seven years, or you have used the Grindr app at any time over the same period, that’s in the last seven years, you should be excused from sitting in this case.

If you entertain any doubt about any names you’ve heard, put that in a note as well.

There’s no rush. This is important. So think about it all.

The trial began on November 13th with a jury of six men and six women and two additional women as ‘surplus jurors’.

The trial will continue with opening arguments by Prosecutor Nicholas Campbell QC and is expected to go until December 7th. It is likely that Mitesh Patel will plead not guilty.

This story is developing as the trial continues.

h/t: GazetteLive

 

Samuel Woodward Pleads Not Guilty To Blaze Bernstein Murder

We have another update on the story involving the University of Pennsylvania student who was found murdered and buried near his California home.

21-year-old Samuel Woodward pleaded not guilty during an Orange County Superior Court hearing on Friday for the first-degree murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein.

Earlier, Woodward’s bail was set at $5 million, but Judge Kimberly Menninger altered it so Woodward is now being held without bail on the grounds that he’s a potential danger to the community if released, according to 6 ABC.

Woodward is currently on trial for allegedly stabbing and killing Bernstein while he was home for winter break in January.

Bernstein, who was gay and Jewish, went missing and his corpse was later found in a park in Lake Forest, California.

A police investigation later found out that Woodward and Bernstein, who went to the same high school, met up the night of Bernstein’s disappearance. At some point, a fight broke out and Woodward allegedly stabbed Bernstein 20 times in the face and neck.

DNA evidence has connected Woodward to the crime and his cellphone was found to have anti-gay and anti-Semitic content. On top of that, the authorities have collected propaganda found in Woodward’s home for a neo-Nazi group.

Woodward, is due to return to court on January 25, 2019.  If convicted of the hate crime, he could be sentenced to a life in prison.

For more on this, visit CBS News and 48 Hours

Here are clips about people remembering Blaze and the 48 Hours report In The Name of Hate: Blaze Bernstein murder: Was an Ivy League student slain in the name of hate?

 

 

 

 

h/t: 6 ABC, CBS News

Trans Woman Found Dead in Florida in Potential Hate Crime

Trigger Warning: Murder, Hate Crime

On the morning of September 8th, the body of Londonn Moore was discovered near a bus stop in Florida on Sawyer Circle in an undeveloped part of Port Charlotte.

After discovering her body, police determined that her death was suspicious and began a search for her car. Her vehicle, a Chrysler 200, was discovered in another part of Port Charlotte. It is unclear where she was murdered.

The police have not classified the case as a hate crime.

Nathan Bruemmeer, the Executive director of ALSO YOUTH in Sarasota said:

“I think it is too early to say if it’s a hate crime, but I think what is important to recognize is that the state of Florida is leading the nation in violence against transgender population, specifically in trans woman and trans women of color.” -ABC affiliate

North Port Police Department officer, Joshua Taylor, said:

“Whether it’s a hate crime or not, you’re going to pay that price.” -NBC, Florida

The story is significant because although the police have not declared it a hate crime, many people feel that this is part of a larger pattern. Hal Trejo of All Rainbow and Allied Youth Inc. said:

“This would mark the 21st person in the nation since the start of the year that a transgender person has been murdered. It’s the fifth person in Florida alone this year, so we see it’s a huge crisis and needs to be addressed and talked about.”

The news media and police have also continued to misgender and “deadname” the victim in coverage in spite of calls from friends and local leaders. Her name was Londonn Moore.

Police are still seeking information.

h/t: ABC Affiliate Florida, NBC Florida

Accused Of Murder, California Man Denies Incident Was A Hate Crime

A 21-year-old man from Newport Beach accused of killing a former classmate could face life in prison without parole after prosecutors added a hate crime enhancement to murder charges.

Samuel Woodward is accused of murder in the stabbing death of his former high school classmate Blaze Bernstein.

Bernstein was reported missing by his parents in January while he was visiting home during the winter break at the University of Pennsylvania. His body was eventually found in a shallow grave in Borrego Park with over 20 stab wounds.

DNA evidence found in Woodward’s car and Borrego Park led to his arrest.

At the time the hate crime component was added to existing murder charges, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told CBS News that a search of Woodward’s social media and cellphone data revealed “graphic” and “chilling” photos and text messages.

Rackauckas said the material, which was "homophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynistic and anti-government" showed Woodward's "dark side."

CBS News also reports that Woodward has been linked to white supremacist group.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Woodward denied the hate crime enhancement during a court appearance on Wednesday even though he admits it was a kiss that sparked the altercation.

According to an affidavit, Woodward told investigators that Bernstein kissed him while they were sitting in a parked car Jan. 2. Woodward told authorities the kiss was unwanted and that he pushed Bernstein away.

After Wednesday’s court appearance, Woodward’s attorney, Edward Munoz, said his client has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a developmental disorder that can hinder a person’s ability to socialize or communicate.

Munoz said that “there’s going to be some evidence that comes out to say he’s very confused” about both his sexual identity and “his own identity.”

 

A Gay Frenchman Was Knocked Unconscious, Burned, And Chopped Into Pieces

A Frenchman was found dead in India, and a young gay man was charged for the murder.

68-year-old Pierre Bernard Robert Rene’s remains were found charred and split up between several sandbags.

The police had been looking for Pierre after his suitcase, with his passport, his ATM cards, and a diary inside, was found abandoned.

It was the diary that pointed police in the direction of Thirumurugan.

Pierre was in India as a vacation and allegedly met up with 29-year-old student C. Thirumurugan, according to The Hindu. Pierre came to Tiruchi, India on August 3 and stayed at a lodge. It was there that he got picked up by Thirumurugan.

Allegedly, the two men traveled to another town and drank alcohol before engaging in sex. Afterwards, the two got into an arguments and the 29-year-old knocked his companion unconscious.

"The student got frustrated and hit him on the head with a wooden stick and he (the tourist) collapsed," said senior police officer Senthil Kumar to AFP.

Police say that Thirumurugan then panicked while thinking he killed the tourist and decided to hide the body. He did so by covering it with petrol and burning it. The charred remains were then split up and stuffed into three different sand bags, which were then dumped by the road.

Unfortunately for Thirumurugan, the police quickly caught onto him and he was arrested. He then confessed to his crimes while in custody.

h/t: The Hindu, Channel New Asia/AFP

ACLU And Company Want An Appeal For Gay Man Convicted To Death By A Homophobic Jury

Six civil rights organizations have gotten in the ring to fight for a death row inmate who was found guilty by a homophobic jury.

The American Civil Liberties Union, American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, Lambda Legal, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and National LGBT Bar Association have filed an amici brief advising the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the appeal of Charles Rhines.

In June, we shared with you the story of Charles Rhines. He was arrested after being caught in a deadly burglary of a doughnut shop in Rapid City, South Dakota in 1992.

While Rhines was convicted in 1993 for the murder and sentenced to death, evidence later arose that the jury that convicted him was biased. This evidence is three official statements from jurors who served during Rhines’s case.

As the Miami Herald wrote:

“One juror was quoted as saying that putting a gay man in prison would be ‘sending him where he wants to go.’ Another quoted a fellow juror as saying Rhines ‘shouldn’t be able to spend his life with men in prison.’ A third reported that, ‘There was a lot of disgust’ in the jury room. ‘This is a farming community.’”

While Rhines’s crime is very serious, his conviction to death because of a homophobic jury, who opted for him to not go to prison, doesn’t sit well with some. That includes the six organizations who have joined together to fight for him.

“New evidence confirms that some of the jurors who voted to impose the death penalty on Mr. Rhines did so because they thought the alternative – a life sentence in a men’s prison – was something he would enjoy as a gay man,” they shared in the brief. “Three jurors have made statements indicating that anti-gay prejudices played a significant role in the jury’s decision-making.”

 “As Chief Justice Roberts has explained, the core premise of our criminal justice system is that ‘[o]ur law punishes people for what they do, not who they are.’ (Buck v. Davis) Bias based on a characteristic that cannot be changed, such as race or sexual orientation, goes against this foundational principle. Allowing bias to play any role in sentencing is especially alarming when the bias may have made the difference between life and death.”

 Now, Rhines and his defense team have filed an Application for certificate of Appealabilty with the before mentioned U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The application can be viewed here and its exhibits can be seen here.

Will the support of these six major LGBTQ rights organizations give Rhines the yes that he needs or will his execution be upheld? We’ll see in due time.

Murderer Of Florida Gay Man Arrested After Using The Victims Credit Card

Florida police are interrogating the murderer of a Jacksonville gay man after they found him using the victim’s credit card.

On July 19, 30-year-old hair stylist Jessie Sumlar IV was found dead in his Water’s Edge apartment in Northside Jacksonville. A maintenance worker discovered the body and a handgun while doing a welfare check of the apartment, and police say the murder probably happened two or three days prior to that, according to News4Jax.

On top of the murder, Sumlar’s wallet and car were also stolen. This led police towards looking for Sumlar’s dark blue/green 2006 Chevrolet Impala with a Florida license plate saying EWXM16. While police did eventually find it, they found it burned near King Street and McCoys Creek Boulevard.

Thankfully, Jacksonville police later obtained surveillance footage of Sumlar’s credit card being used. They then released photos and video, seen below, and tips from the public led to the arrest of Omar Lewis.

Lewis was arrested this past Wednesday and charged with auto theft, credit card theft, and fraudulent use of a stolen credit card.

According to FirstCoastNews, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement connected Lewis’s DNA to the murder scene and he’s now been charged with murder as well.

Again, police are currently interviewing Lewis to find out more details about the murder.

h/t: News4Jax, FirstCoastNews

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