Bria Corrine-Janelle Blackmon
Late last month 57-year-old Michael Scott Freeland, of Sterling Heights, Michigan, was found dead in his home after a fire except it wasn’t the fire that killed him. Police say that 20-year-old Bria Corrine-Janelle Blackmon allegedly beat him to death in order to rob him then set the fire to hide the crime. Blackmon met her victim through craigslist and had a personal relationship prior to the murder so it seems like she was in it for the long con. Blackmon’s stepbrother, 19-year-old Demonte Marcellus Easterling, has also been charged in the murder.
Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith had the following to say about craigslist…
“Sadly, the dangers affiliated in conducting business with a complete stranger through Craig’s List has resulted in another tragic loss of life,” Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said in a news release announcing the charges.
My prayers and condolences go out to the friends and family of Mr. Freeland.
It’s a good thing that someone professional is keeping track of the list of craigslist killing victims because I didn’t even know about this one until recently. I guess that’s kind of a commentary on how common craigslist related murders have become.
Back in November of 2014, 31-year-old Papa Thiam was shot and killed in the taxi cab he drove in Louisville, Kentucky. Charged with his murder are Larico Lovings, 16, Barry Morris, 16, Quentin Lews, 17, and Anu White, 18. All four suspects have been charged as adults as they should be. Back in February it was made public that Papa Thiam was lured to his death by a craigslist ad for an iPhone 6 where the suspects had planned on robbing him.
I’m at a loss for words. I’m becoming numb to these killings. Even though the killings related to craigslist are under 100 out of the billions of transactions that take place it’s still way too many. Granted one is too many but I digress. Since craigslist ads are free it gives criminals a low threshold to post ads in order to lure people. Please be aware of that, please tell your friends and family if they plan on using craigslist.
I’ve been saying this too much lately but my prayers and condolences go out to the friends and family of Papa Thiam.
Speaking of creepy craigslist ads police in Utah arrested 31-year-old Ryan Sherry of Spanish Fork, Utah, on attempted child rape charges after investigators found the following ad in the personals section of their local craigslist.
As the officer was browsing other personal ads, he found one describing a man as someone who “just love[s] the sound of a girl’s genuine laughter. The best way to solicit such laughter is to tickle her.”
Yeah, that ad couldn’t have possibly have been written by some kind of predator.
As has become the norm he was contacted by investigators posing as a 13-year-old girl. Allegedly that prospect thrilled Sherry to no end…
Using the false persona, the officer asked Sherry what would happen if they met up. Sherry reportedly told the officer he wanted to “make out and have sex.” The officer asked if Sherry really wanted to have sex with a 13-year-old. According to police reports, Sherry said, “Well, yeah.”
Police reports state Sherry continually shared how much he wanted to have sex with the 13-year-old girl, and described in lengthy and graphic detail what would happen if they met up.
Police continued these conversations with Sherry for six months. So at his arrest after this six month investigation Sherry said he didn’t know if he would have actually gone through with having sex with a 13-year-old girl. That’s an answer that could have made Chris Hansen’s head explode.
Police should really start billing craigslist for trying to clean up craigslist’s own yard.
Police say that 58-year-old Donald Tisdale of Albertville, Minnesota, posted the following ad on the casual encounters section of craigslist…
“Who’s playing hooky from school today???” was posted in the casual encounters section on Monday, Feb. 23.
The ad invited students who were home from school on President’s Day to contact the ad’s author to see “how I can make your day.” The ad’s author said he was a middle-aged man and that responders “need to be Ok with that.” He said in the ad he was fun, interesting and has “a great sense of humor.”
Spoiler alert. he was contacted by law enforcement posing as a 14-year-old girl. He allegedly responded to the girl by sending her a pic of his junk and followed it up with the following message…
It was followed by a message that reads: “do you want it, do you want to touch it, suck it and feel it in you? Can I see a xxx pic of you?”
He was arrested at a local restaurant of course.
Craigslist could cut these ads off at the source but they choose not to.
Lee A. Paul
Lee A. Paul of Rochester, Minnesota, was indicted back in February on charges of sex trafficking a minor however the story is much more brutal than that. Paul allegedly lured a 12-year-old girl to a McDonald’s in 2013 then raped her before making her take explicit pictures of herself for advertising her on craigslist. Investigators say that Paul threatened to kill the girl or her family if she did not comply.
I’m not posting this to bury craigslist for once since the actual crime took place two years ago. I’m posting this to once again try to hammer the point home that prostitution is not a victimless crime and is usually never between consenting adults. It’s filled with monsters like this behind the scenes making money from what is essentially the modern slave trade.
They say that April is the cruelest month but I think February may have just taken the crown.
Back in February 56-year-old Frank Steinsiek of Little Rock, Arkansas, was shot and killed by someone allegedly posing as a craigslist buyer for the motorcycle he was advertising. Arrested for the shooting and charged with capital murder was 24-year-old Jeramye Hobbs. Hobbs allegedly told police that he bought the bike from Mr. Steinsiek legally but police gathered other evidence that led them to arrest Hobbs.
My prayers and condolences go out to the friends and family of Mr. Steinsiek.
Again, no matter where you are or what you’re selling or buying you are taking your life in your hands by using craigslist. As I’ve stated many times, possibly the only safe place to make transactions is at a police station.
James Jones Jr.
Only just a few weeks after the craigslist murders of Bud and June Runion a 21-year-old college student was shot and killed during a craigslist robbery. Police in Marietta, Georgia, say that James Jones Jr. was shot to death while trying to buy what he thought was going to be an iPhone 6. His assailants even took the Nike sneakers he was wearing as he sat in his car dying. Police have arrested Jordan James Baker, 18; Jonathon O’Neil Myles, 19; and Kaylnn Shiquez Ruthenberg, 21. Police have testified that Ruthenberg pulled the trigger.
Such a stark contrast in lives too. James Jones Jr. was a well-dressed colleges student who mentored kids at a local school. Ruthenberg on the other hand has a long criminal history and once pawned a $1500 watch he stole for $50.
Even though Jones’ murder happened back in February my prayers and condolences still go out to his friends and family.
In closing always remember that when you deal on craigslist no one is looking out for you, not even craigslist themselves. Due to the sheep amount of criminal activity and violence that takes place on craigslist you’re better taking your business elsewhere.
Baker, Myles, and Ruthenberg
Ever since I started posting about crimes as they relate to craigslist I’ve been talking about making a list of all the victims who have been killed by way of the online classifieds site. I no longer have to worry about that daunting task becuase someone with better resources than me has.
I’ve talked about the AIM Group many times before. They’ve done many studies on the effects of human trafficking that craigslist and backpage have had. More recently they’ve put together a list of all the victims of ‘craigslist killings’ since 2007. In those years I’ve lost count of how many victims there have been. The AIM Group lists the number of victims at 86 and I’m sure that number will continue to increase at an alarming rate since there were 21 of these killings in 2014 alone.
Granted that number is a small number compared to all the transactions that take place on craigslist but 84 is still an inordinate amount of people who were taken away from their families in some of the most violent fashions often time just for a shiny bauble or trinket they were selling.
In that vein Aim Group has started an initiative called SafeTrade. Their goal is to organize police stations and other law enforcement offices to be safe havens for online classifieds transactions with no cost to the police departments.
Help take back the online classifieds from criminals and visit the SafeTrade website today for further information.
A man was shot in killed in DeKalb County, Georgia after allegedly trying to rob a man who was selling a bulldog puppy on craigslist. The man was offered an extra $500 to deliver the dog late at night. When the man arrived at the meeting place with the dog two men were waiting for him. One produced a gun in an attempt to steal the dog. The man selling the dog brought a friend with him who happened to be legally carrying his own gun. The man’s friend shot and killed the alleged robber in self-defense. The man who was killed has been linked to other robberies in the area as well.
Even the bad guys are taking their lives in their hands on craigslist.
Back in September 41-year-old Mamuka Chamiashvili of Brooklyn, New York, was shot and killed in Elizabeth, New Jersey, after responding to a craigslist ad for a Mercedes-Benz SUV.
Back in October 28-year-old Ali Garner and 30-year-old Keon Lewis, both of Elizabeth, were arrested in connection with Mr. Chamiashvili’s murder and recently 36-year-old Travis Picou of Paterson was also arrested. All three are being held on $2 million bond each.
I’ll say it again that using craigslist for any reason is very akin to playing Russian Roulette.