Two Washington Brothers Are Charged With Sexually Assaulting And Murdering Their Childhood Friend

After the disappearance of a longtime friend led to the discovery of his body, two brothers were charged with one count of first-degree murder, first-degree rape, tampering with physical evidence, and unlawful disposal of remains.

16-year-old Ben Eastman from Randle, Washington was reported missing on June 27, according to The Olympian.

Police records show that Eastman had contact with longtime friend Benito S. Marquez prior to his disappearance.

Cell phone records show that the two were planning to meet up in the early hours of June 24, and that Eastman was headed for the meetup. Marquez later told police that Eastman never arrived before posting the below Facebook post about his missing friend.

Afterwards, citizens and family members started search parties to look for Eastman. They eventually came across disturbed soil with a cross made of sticks marking the spot. Marquez, and his older brother Jonathan R. Adamson, said that they had recently buried a dog there.

Police investigators later searched the area and found a human foot buried in a shallow grave. The Lewis County Coroner’s Office then confirmed on June 30th that the body buried in the grave, and wrapped in plastic and twine, was Eastman’s.

After the body was found, 21-year-old Adamson and 16-year-old Marquez fled, but were caught by Washington State Patrol in Ellensburg.

"The two had planned on assaulting Eastman and lured him to a wooded area under the guise of a camping trip," charging documents say.

Adamson then later admitted to kicking Eastman more than 100 times and that his brother sexually assaulted Eastman with a stick. That said, he didn’t share their motive for the attack.

"Eastman went to the ground and the pair continued to kick and hit Eastman. It was estimated by Adamson the assault lasted between 20 and 45 minutes,” the charging documents continued.

The brother allegedly hit Eastman in the head with a rock which caused the blunt force trauma to the head that eventually killed the boy.

The two are being held on $10 million bail pending their next hearing.

h/t: The Olympian, Oxygen

U.S. Supreme Court Passed On Hearing The Case Of Man Sentenced To Death By Anti-Gay Jury

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear arguments in the case of Charles Rhines, a South Dakota prisoner who says he was sentenced to death by a homophobic jury.

Keep in mind that Rhines is not innocent in the slightest. In 1992, he was caught in the middle of a burglary. Rhines tried to rob a doughnut shop in Rapid City, which was the workplace of 22-year-old Donnican Schaeffer. Rhines ended up stabbing Schaeffer in the abdomen and back before stabbing him in the skull.

Charles Rhines was convicted in 1993 for the murder and sentenced to death. That said, he and his legal team have kept up a long legal battle to escape that fate.

Their possible saving grace came in 2017 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that jury deliberations could be impeached if racial bias was proven to be a factor. Rhines’ lawyers then argued that bias based on sexual orientation should be the next-step in that reasoning.

Shawn Nolan, who oversees Rhines’ defense team at the Federal Community Defender Office in Philadelphia, argued that the the jury was homophobic.

As Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote for the MiamiHerald:

“Evidence of the effect of Rhines’ sexuality on the panel’s reasoning abounds. Jurors sent the judge a note asking if he would be housed in general population, if he might ‘brag’ to ‘young men’ about his crime, if he might ever marry or have conjugal visits, if he would have a cellmate. As if that weren’t enough, several jurors later issued sworn declarations affirming how homophobia warped their deliberations.”

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.’”

As heinous as those comments appear, the Supreme Court decided to pass on hearing the arguments in the case.

In addition, the court doesn’t have to give any reasoning for rejecting a case, so we won’t hear why they chose to reject it.

So it looks like Charles Rhines is still to be executed.

A Former Police Employee Got Away With Murdering His Neighbor After Using The "Gay Panic" Defense

A former police employee got away with murder after using the “gay panic” defense.

69-year-old James Miller from Texas is a retired civilian employee of the Austin Police Department.

After retiring, Miller spent of a lot of his time playing music. One of his past times was to meet up with his 32-year-old neighbor named David Spencer and play with him.

But one night in September 2015, Miller was shocked to find his neighbor and friend coming onto him. Apparently, Spencer closed in for a kiss, but Miller told him he wasn’t interested.

“We were playing back and forth and everything, and I just let him know — Hey, I’m not gay,” Miller, stated in an affidavit, according to Austin NBC-affiliate KXAN.

Things calmed down from there between the two before they suddenly escalated again. In James Miller’s account, Spencer came onto Miller again and Miller’s instinct was to pull out his knife and stab Spencer twice.

While in court, Miller says the he felt threatened by Spencer who was at least eight inches taller than him.

“He had height advantage over me, arm length over me, youth over me,” Miller said, according to the American-Statesman. “I felt he was going to hurt me.”

A few hours later, Miller showed up at a police station to turn himself in. He was then charged with murder, but he would later get his conviction lowered thanks to the “gay panic” defense.

After three years of court cases, Miller was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and not murder or manslaughter.

Because of this, he’s been sentenced to six months in jail and not prison. Plus, he has to carry around a portable alcohol monitor for the next year, be on probation for a year, complete 100 hours of community service, and pay $11,000 to Spencer’s family.

Despite Miller still being convicted of the murder, many are upset that his “gay panic” defense allowed him to lower his conviction.

The “gay panic” defense is legal in 48 states besides California and Illinois. Many see it as offensive due to the nature of the defense. It centers on the belief that the murder of gay people is somehow inherently justified.

D’Arcy Kemnitz, the executive director of the LGBT Bar Association, spoke to the Washington Post about the case and said:

“This is something from the very darkest of ages, based on the idea that if a gay guy hits on a straight guy, then the straight guy gets to do whatever he wants to do to him, including a homicide.”

She also added: “If there’s a secondary chilling effect, when an individual gets to attack or indeed murder someone and walk away with a slap on the wrist or scot-free, it tells us that we’re still vulnerable,” she said.

h/t: The Washington Post

New Aaron Hernandez Documentary Explores The Former NFL Player's Bisexuality

A documentary about Aaron Hernandez has some… interesting commentary.

Oxygen recently released a two-part documentary, titled “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered,” about the former NFL player who committed suicide while in prison for two suspected murder charges (the trials of which were later acquitted).

Rumors of Hernandez’s sexuality started to circulate during the trails after freelancer Michele McPhee first reported on his bisexuality.

Now, the second part of the documentary seems to be heavily focused on his sexuality.

First, one of Hernandez’s attorneys stated that Hernandez was extremely worried about his sexuality getting out.

“His biggest concern about his sexuality was how it would impact [Hernandez’s fiancee] Shayanna [Jenkins] and somehow diminish — in her eyes — the tremendous love that he felt for her,” said attorney George Leontire, “Here’s a man who happened to be gay who loved a woman.”

“This man clearly was gay,” Leontire added. “Acknowledged the immense pain that it caused him. I think that he also came out of a culture that was so negative about gay people that he exhibited some self-hatred.”

Jenkins herself spoke on the issue and shared that she first heard word of Hernandez’s sexuality from Jose Baez who was on the former athlete’s defense team.

“Jose speaking to me about Aaron’s sexuality was very hard because I was confused. I still kind of am,” she said. “When you feel like you’ve kind of had it all with that one individual, it’s just something that took years to build, and now it’s completely breaking down. But I would not want him to go through anything by himself. I was the only thing that he had. Hurt or not — and I was hurt — I had to fight through it.”

On top of that, it seems that Hernandez had a pen pal while he was in prison. Alyssa Anderson, who had dated Hernandez when they were students at the University of Florida, admitted on the documentary that she was exchanging letters with the man.

During that video interview, Anderson shared that she was aware of Hernandez dating a man while they were in college, though she doesn’t know the finer details.

“Back in college there were text messages I saw on his phone when he came back from a trip to Connecticut,” she said. “There was a male, didn’t have a name, didn’t say too much, but it was a relationship with somebody. And when I questioned about it, he always denied it.

“In one of the letters he opened up about it, and he did admit to it,” she said.

It’s a shame that Hernandez was so afraid and haunted by the idea of his bisexuality getting out, and that he eventually took his life in 2017. Then just five days later, he was acquitted of the two murder charges.

h/t: BostonGlobe

Kansas City Gay Man Shot After Clubbing In What Many Call A Homophobic Attack

Police are still investigating the murder of Kansas City resident Ta’Ron Carson.

24-year-old Carson, whose friends also called him Rio, left club Aura early Sunday morning on March 4. As he sat at a bench on the corner of 39th and Main, Carson was shot by two people in a black SUV.

Brittany Bronson, a friend of Carson told Kansas City Fox News that she saw his final moments. The two had split up after exiting the club, and Bronson got inside her car. She then heard gunshots, turned around, and saw her friend on the ground.

“I saw my boy, I sa Ta’Ron, I saw Rio, I saw my boo,” Bronson struggled to say. “I saw him on the ground, like, I saw him. I saw him go.” [sic]

In the wake of his death, Carson's friends and community members have nothing but good words to say about the man.

“In gay vernacular, particularly in black gay vernacular, there is a term called "beating your face" and so Rio would always be beat for the gods,” said friend D. Rashaan Gilmore. “That is just powder, pad, getting your face together, because he was beautiful.”

"The beauty of Rio is that because of how he lived his life,” added Gilmore, “It helped to free others to live their lives in that way.”

Bronson also added that Rio’s love for himself helped him take care of others, “Rio, he loved himself, and in loving yourself you are able to love so many more people.”



It seems that’s increasingly true when it came to the people Rio chose to surround himself with.

The associate at Chipotle Mexican Grill and makeup artist at Sephora was known for his crazy home life. He had invited a diverse group of people to live with him either temporarily or permanently to the point that one friend called his house a circus.

All of this love in and around Carson was shown again on March 8th when more than a 100 people showed up for the candlelight vigil celebrating his life and mourning his death.

As the Kansas City Star reports, 100 people sat in the Center for Spiritual Living at 1014 W 39th Street, and more stood by the front doors as Carson’s parents spoke.

"Who you love is nobody's damn business, as long as they love you," said the father. He added that what was important is that you treat people right. "And he did that."

From there, the group then walked over to the spot where Carson was shot.

"This is a show of love and solidarity that I think Rio would be proud of," Gilmore said. "You have a responsibility when you walk out of these doors. The responsibility is to remain vigilant. We're going to stay on top of the police department. There will be no sweeping under the rug, no cold-casing this one."





Gilmore also added that the community would keep a watchful eye over the court case to see that justice is served.

Unfortunately, however, no culprit has been found yet.

While many believe Carson’s murder is a hate crime, police announced that they think he wasn’t the intended target of the attack. Instead, he’s the victim of mistaken identity.

On top of that, they’ve announced that the vehicle investigators were looking for is no longer being sought.

If you have any useful information that could help catch Rio’s killers, call the TIPS hotline at (816) 474-TIPS. All calls are anonymous.

h/t:  fox4kc.com/