Saturday, June 28, 2014

Five Murders in Four Months: Carina Saunders, Kelsey Bransby, Alina Fitzpatrick, Jaymie Adams, and Jessica Brown

In many ways it seems like it was ages ago, but in reality it has been less than three years. Perhaps in this era of hyper media, when everyone who owns a laptop, or smart phone has become a video journalist with a world wide audience, a quarter of a decade does equal ages.

On November 2, 2011 this blog debuted. The first post concerned the murder and dismemberment of Carina Saunders. She had been reported missing on September 28th of that year, although, in reality, her family hadn't been in contact with her for longer than that. On October 13th her dismembered body was found stuffed into a duffel bag behind a grocery store in Bethany, OK.

Over the course of the next year plus the Bethany police investigated the case which became more and more lurid with each news release. Witnesses reportedly told the cops shocking accounts of drugs, violence, and human trafficking, while rumors ran rampant a cell phone video documenting the murder was out there somewhere. People were dragged in for questioning and nearly a dozen names were mentioned by the media in connection with the terrible mystery. By July of 2012, Jimmy Massey and Luis Ruiz were charged with the gruesome crime.

There was a problem though. The Bethany cops, who were in over their heads from the word go, apparently decided bringing charges against a couple of suspects was a far more important thing than actually proving them. Their "evidence" came primarily from inmates at the county jail looking to cut a deal and elements of the drug and prostitution cultures in Oklahoma City, who, as we all should have known, proved less than reliable.

In early February, 2013 the Bethany Police Department gave up and turned their now stale and for the most part, disproven evidence over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Within three weeks the charges against Massey and Ruiz were dropped. The killer, or killers of Carina Saunders remain out there, on the prowl.

Kelsey Bransby was discovered dying in her apartment on October 28th of 2011. Like Saunders, she was struggling with drugs and the people who haunt that dark netherworld. It turned out two friends she'd been shooting up with that day were involved. Cole Hopper was apparently screwing around with a gun as all three of them kissed the sky.The weapon went off accidentally. He and Danielle Cooley, instead of calling for medical assistance, immediately deserted their dying  friend and began to concoct alibis.

Last summer Hopper was given nine years. Cooley, who had pleaded guilty and testified against him, violated the terms of her probation. In November of last year she was also sentenced to nine years.

On November 4th, 2011, Alina Fitzpatrick, the youngest of all these victims, was reported missing. She was last seen near the intersection of N.W. 23rd St. and Classen Blvd. in OKC. It didn't take long to find her. Her nude body was discovered on November 9th in far north east Oklahoma City. Besides being naked, she had suffered numerous bruises and abrasions and there was a wad of paper or cotton stuffed in her mouth.

Unfortunately for her and her family, the medical examiner's report came back saying none of her injuries were life threatening and she had, in fact, died of a meth overdose. At that very moment, you could almost hear the OKC police department slamming the file cabinet drawer shut on her case. To this day her disappearance and death are not considered a homicide and remain a mystery.

On December 12th of the same year, Jaymie Adams was reported missing by her husband, Justin. According to him she was going to meet a friend in Midwest City, a suburb of Oklahoma City. Her was body found on January 7th, 2012 near lake Stanley Draper. She had been stabbed 29 times and her jaw was broken in three places.

Justin Adams' story shifted to and fro so the police initially charged him with two counts of murder, because his wife was pregnant at the time of her death. Over the next few months it was revealed Jaymie Adams had been pimped out over Craigslist by her husband and had gone to meet a potential John.

A man named Joseph Cyr is now awaiting trial for her murder. Justin Adams pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter, because, according to the DA, he facilitated her death by putting her in harm's way. A deal was struck for the guilty plea and Mr. Adams won't face any time other than what he has already served.

Four days after Adams' body was discovered, police found Jessica Brown, who was also pregnant, shot to death in her Midwest City home. From the very beginning her case was different from the other four  She wasn't out roaming around in a drug and sex infested world like Saunders, Bransby, and Adams had been--or Fitzpatrick possibly was. She was, in fact, at home asleep with her two other children in the house.

Her estranged husband, Fabion Brown, his freshly minted girl friend Emily Matheson, Brodric Glover, and Laquan Ashley were eventually charged with the crime. According to the prosecution, Brown paid Glover to shoot his wife while Matheson knew of the plot and Ashley drove the getaway car. Brodric Glover's price for the hit was a whopping $250.

According to The Oklahoman's Matt Dinger, on Thursday a jury found Fabion Brown guilty of two counts of first degree murder. Yesterday they sentenced him to death. Dinger noted Glover, who was known on the street as "Savage," Matheson, and Ashley had all struck deals with the DA last summer and fall. "Savage" got life without parole, Matheson 15 years, and Ashley was hit with eight.

Fabion Brown chose to serve as his own attorney during the trial. His defense was he didn't know a thing about the plot and it was Matheson who came up with the whole plan. The defendant may be many things, but he clearly isn't Perry Mason. The jury took all of 30 minutes to convict him.

So there we have it on a rainy Saturday afternoon here on the southern plains.

Less than 36 months ago five young women were murdered in a period of 125 days.Two of the crimes are solved and those who committed the acts are now in jail. A third is pending, while one was so mishandled by the authorities the perps might never be found. Then finally, when it comes to Alina Fitzpatrick, it appears the OKCPD, despite overwhelming evidence of foul play, hasn't given a rat's ass about her death from the second they received the ME's report.

And now you know why television police procedural dramas are the rankest sort of fiction.

sic vita est


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