Tag Archive: shooting

Suspect arrested in Backpage killing of SC man

Michael Saheem Spears

Michael Saheem Spears

Backpage murders don’t seem to get the same media attention as ‘craigslist killings’. Maybe it’s because of the lack of alliteration. Backpage bloodshed doesn’t seem to have the same ring to it. I’m only half-kidding too. However, I will give each of these stories the attention they deserve to show that Backpage, while not only the online haven of prostitution and human trafficking, is also just as dangerous as craigslist if not more so.

22-year-old Michael Saheem Spears of Aiken, South Carolina, has been charged in the murder of 62-year-old Jesse Sanders of Whitmire, S.C. Sanders is said to have responded to an ad for an escort that is said to have featured Spears, however Spears was said to be only interested in robbery. Sanders was shot multiple times and his body was dumped on the side of a highway.

The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at 803-321-2211, www.newberrycountysheriff.com, or Crime Stoppers of the Midlands at 888-CRIMESC.

No one really uses Backpage for sofas or used cars, it is mainly used for criminal activity and Backpage is making millions of dollars from it. Sadly, Mr. Sanders was only worth a few bucks as far as Backpage is concerned.

Father murdered in KC craigslist killing

Jake Brantner

Jake Brantner

39-year-old Jake Brantner of Lee’s Summit, Missouri was murdered recently in Kansas City. Bratner was believed to be meeting a potential craigslist buyer that he was said to be selling his gun to. Instead witnesses say that Bratner was shot to death while still in his car in front of his 10-year-old daughter.

Craigslist officially does not allow firearms to be sold through their website however since they do no moderating whatsoever it obviously happens anyway.

As of this time Jake Bratner’s killer is still walking free.

If you have any information or saw anything call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

Police are currently looking for a blue Ford Five Hundred with a sunroof.

One suspect dead, another wanted in craigslist home invasion

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It seems that even the bad guys aren’t safe on craigslist anymore solidifying its wild west comparison.

In Littleton, Colorado, one suspect is dead and another is on the run after a home invasion gone wrong. A man had advertised something for sale on craigslist and two men showed up at his house and tied him up. They tired stealing the man’s cars but the man freed himself, retrieved his own gun and shot one of the suspects that was trying to steal his SUV. The other suspect got away in a gold 90’s Ford Mustang. The Mustang has been retrieved but the suspect is still at large.

The Sheriff’s Office is still searching for a Hispanic male in his forties. Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office tip line at 303-271-5612 or Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).

So far no charges have been filed against the homeowner.

UPDATE: According to a Facebook post by another local man this may not have been the first time the home invaders tried robbing someone in their gold Mustang.

UPDATE 2/4/2016: The man who was killed is reported to be 38-year-old David M. Martinez.

The second suspect has been identified as 54-year-old David Ernest Mascarenas and he has been arrested.

UPDATE 2/18/2016: No charges will be filed against the homeowner.

Long con turns to craigslist killing in Oklahoma

Kathryn Lynn Hicks

Kathryn Lynn Hicks

44-year-old Kathryn Lynn Hicks is accused of shooting and killing 59-year-old Michael Ray Beach of Cordell, Oklahoma, sometime in late November. Mr. Beach met his alleged killer back in June through the craigslist personals after his wife had passed away in 2014. During their relationship Hicks had moved in with the victim and allegedly had him change his will and bank account to include her. Beach had her removed from the premises after he believed he tried to kill him.

From NewsOK

“Beach later told Perkins that Hicks had given him a milkshake that night and it tasted gritty. Beach had told several people that he thought Hicks had tried to kill him,” OSBI Special Agent Dannie Sanders wrote in the affidavit.

Beach did have to go to the hospital shortly after that incident.

Thinking that she was still in Beach’s will Hicks is said to have shot and killed Beach in his own home. She reportedly claims that she did not kill him but found his body then claimed that there were two men in the house who assaulted her and left. They must have planted evidence on her because police found a bullet in her purse which matches the type of gun allegedly used to kill Beach. Not to mention this was all for naught as Mr. Beach had Hicks removed from his will and other documents prior to his murder.

I would indeed classify this as a craigslist killing. Hicks appears to be a grifter in my opinion and was using craigslist to find a victim and it also appears that murder was always the end game to get to Beach’s money. Also this shows what kind of criminal element uses craigslist to their advantage. It has become much too unsafe to use for anything in my opinion.

Suspect shot and killed by off duty NYPD officer during craigslist robbery

Or "Never bring a pellet gun to a New York robbery"

Or “Never bring a pellet gun to a New York robbery”

30-year-old Devon Holder was shot and killed by an off-duty New York City cop when Holder allegedly tried to rob the cop. The policeman was responding to a craigslist ad for a used car but when he arrived to meet the sellers in Queens he was met with a gun pointed at him and his wallet stolen. Feeling that his life was in danger the officer drew his weapon and fired striking and killing Holder. Another suspect is still on the loose as of this posting.

The gun that Holder was using turned out to be a realistic looking pellet gun. That’s right he robbed someone who was armed with a real gun by using a fake gun.

Again here is someone using the used car scam to try to rob someone. In the past year or so several victims have been killed by craigslist robbers luring them to their deaths with fake used car ads and back in November one of these robbers was killed by civilian in South Carolina acting out of self-defense.

So if you’re in the market for a used car you might want to avoid craigslist altogether.

Craigslist shooting in SC leaves one dead

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This past week in Aiken, South Carolina, there was a craigslist killing of sort. 23-year-old Frank Frazier Jr. was shot and killed during an attempted craigslist robbery police say. A couple responded to a craigslist ad for a used car for sale but the ad was a fake used to set up a robbery. The twist here is that Frazier was one of the alleged robbers and was shot and killed by a victim who was said to be defending herself. So far no charges have been filed against the woman but police are still investigating.

Even though it was one of the supposed bad guys that was killed this time this is another example of a scam that has cost too many lives recently. As I’ve mentioned before what criminals will do is post ads on craigslist, and many other un-moderated classifieds, for a car that is either high-end and rare or has a too good to be true price. Once at the meeting place the respondents to the ad will usually be robbed. This is because the victims usually have cash in had in order to buy a used car. In recent history these kinds of scams have cost the lives of Taylor S. Clark of Illinois, Bud and June Runion of Georgia, and Robert Polk of St. Louis.

With such a low threshold of entry virtually nothing on craigslist should be trusted. When shopping for a car I would recommend instead using a website where people pay to place ads. Not only does that mean someone is usually serious about selling a car but if some kind of criminal activity does take place there should be a paper trail to the perpetrator.

Body of missing St. Louis soldier found

 Robert Polk

Robert Polk

I’m saddened that I have to post that the body of 22-year-old Robert Polk of St. Louis was found this past Thursday. It appears that Mr. Polk had been there for some time however police have released that the cause of death appears to be a shooting. As you may recall Mr. Polk went missing a week ago today after going to look at a car that he found on craigslist.

Police aren’t saying if craigslist is related to his murder since they have not yet named a suspect. However police have said that there has been a transaction on one of Mr. Polk’s financial accounts that is said to have taken place after his death.

Anyone with information is urged to contact CrimeStoppers. The phone number is 866–3 71–8477.

As I mentioned in my last post about Mr. Polk too many people have been murdered in the past year or so after going to look for cars on craigslist. If a deal for a car looks too good to be true on craigslist it probably is. A lot of criminals use fake ads for cars as a way to lure a victim that they know will have a substantial amount of cash on them.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Robert Polk.

UPDATE 11/1/2015: I received the following information from MissingVeterans.com on my Pinterest page

The regional CrimeStoppers organization is requesting help from the public. Anyone with information that leads to an arrest in the murder of Mr. Polk will be eligible for up to a $5,000 reward. Call or text a crime tip to the CrimeStoppers hotline: 1-866-371-TIPS (8477)

Idaho man shot and killed by your latest craigslist killers

Marshall and Kimball

Marshall and Kimball

53-year-old Kent Storrer of Twin Falls, Idaho, was shot and killed while he and his son-in-law were trying to sell his son-in-law’s car on craigslist. Police say that 22-year-old Jerry Burton Kimball and 20-year-old Jacob Lyn Marshall responded to the ad and took the car for a test drive. After the drive Marshall allegedly shot both men and he and Kimball then took off with the car. Mr. Storrer succumbed to his injuries while his son-in-law, 32-year-old Jasper Qualls, survived. Marshall was arrested after a police chase where he is said to have rammed a police cruiser with the stolen car while Kimball later turned himself in.

Sadly this is not the first major craigslist related crime to happen in Twin Falls. Back in 2012, Justin Crawford tried to have his wife raped multiple times through craigslist. He posed as his wife of the classifieds site and claimed to be into rape fantasies.

So just because you live in a small town or rural America don’t think craigslist is safe by any means.

My prayers and condolences go out to the friends and family of Mr. Storrer.

Illinois craigslist killer gets new trial

Timothy Smith

Timothy Smith

Back in 2011 Timothy Smith of Woodstock, Illinois, shot and killed 48-year-old Kurt Milliman in Smith’s home. Smith was prostituting his then wife, Kimberly Smith, on craigslist. Supposedly Milliman got to rough with Kimberly Smith and Timothy Smith emerged from hiding and shot Milliman.

More than likely to hide their criminal activities the Smiths concocted a home invasion story where they claimed that Milliman was killed in self-defense after tampering with evidence to try to make the scene look like am attempted burglary.

In 2013 Timothy Smith was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 50 years behind bars. This past Tuesday Smith was granted a new trial on the grounds that the judge at his trial did not allow an involuntary manslaughter charge to be considered by the jury. Smith’s attorney claims that his client meant to scare Milliman and not kill him. I don’t buy it but it is what it is.

As I said before no one in this story was clean but I can see the grounds for involuntary manslaughter as Smith did not allow Milliman into his home with the ‘sole purpose of killing him. Then again, it was a killing in the commission of another crime so I can see the murder charge as well.

No word on when the retrial is scheduled to take place.

Backpage prostitute killed in Massachusetts

Fisher and Jeune

Fisher and Jeune

34-year-old Sanisha Johnson, of the Bronx, was shot and killed while working as a prostitute on Backpage in Burlington, Massachusetts. Charged in her murder are 24-year-old Epshod Jeune and 21-year-old Derrell Fisher, both of Roxbury, Mass.

The pair was allegedly robbing escorts in the area as one escort who was robbed was able to tip police off to Ms. Johnson’s alleged killers. If this sounds familiar it’s because it was the same racket Philip Markoff was running when he killed Julissa Brisman after using craigslist to find his victims. The Boston media is already making that comparison.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is calling for Backpage to shut down its ads for prostitution. However, Backpage may already be on its way out since the major credit card companies stopped allowing their cards, pre-paid and otherwise, to be used on Backpage. Currently the only form of payment they’re accepting is Bitcoin which isn’t exactly the easiest form of payment to use.

Will the attention brought on Backpage by this murder be the final nail in their coffin? One can only hope that will be a positive that comes out of this senseless tragedy.