19-year-old shot in Florida craigslist killing

19-year-old shot in Florida craigslist killing

(Story broke 6/16/2017)

19-year-old Brian Brown was shot and killed this week after trying to sell a Playstation on craigslist. Brian went to the meeting place in North Miami Beach, Florida, but instead of meeting a buyer, he was shot in the back three times and died from his injuries. This happened during the middle of the afternoon in a very public spot. Sadly, Brian was a kid who had everything going for him in life before it was tragically and selfishly cut short. He had received a football scholarship to a college in California that he’ll unfortunately never get to use.

So far, no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at 305-471-2400 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. A reward of up to $3,000 is offered for information that leads to an arrest.

As I’ve said before, the old rules don’t apply anymore. Craigslist criminals don’t care anymore if it’s the middle of the day or if it’s in front of a crowd of people. They’ve shown time and time again they’ll do whatever it takes just to make a few lousy bucks. Think about it for a second. Someone killed this bright kid who was full of potential just to steal a video game console they probably could have gotten for couple of hundred bucks at a pawn shop. I hope justice is swift and unforgiving toward those who committed this heinous crime.

My thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the friends and family of Brian Brown.

Craigslist drug deal leaves 1 dead, 3 arrested in Austin

Craigslist drug deal leaves 1 dead, 3 arrested in Austin
Akeem Bradford

(Story broke 6/8/2017)

Once again, even criminals aren’t safe when using craigslist. In Austin, Texas, 26-year-old Cutberto Moran-Ayala was killed in a shootout with three men from Chicago. Moran-Ayala advertised weed for sale on craigslist and when he arrived for the sale he was greeted by 22-year-old Savon Galloway who allegedly stuck a gun in the dealer’s face. The two exchanged fire along with 22-year-old Akeem Bradford who was with Galloway. Also arrested was 19-year-old Christopher Hamilton. All three have been charged with capital murder. Considering this is Texas we’re talking about, capital murder charges often lead to capital punishment.

No honor among thieves and dealers, I guess.

Maybe if craigslist actually moderated their ads, maybe Moran-Ayala would still be alive. While illegal activity may attract other illegal activity, very few people deserve to be gunned down like that.

Reverse craigslist killing in Houston leaves robbery suspect dead

Reverse craigslist killing in Houston leaves robbery suspect dead

(Story broke on 5/25/2017)

Two men allegedly tried to rob two other men during a craigslist deal in Houston, Texas. The suspects posed as buyers and when they tried to rob the sellers, this being Texas and all, one of the sellers opened fire in what they claim was self-defense. One of the robbery suspects was killed while the other was taken to the hospital. So far no charges have been filed against the man with the gun.

While I wouldn’t count a criminal on my list of craigslist killing victims, it does go to show that even criminals aren’t safe when it comes to using craigslist.

Two men charged in Georgia’s latest craigslist killing

Two men charged in Georgia's latest craigslist killing
Brooks and Scott

Last Monday afternoon, 26-year-old Mezaio Pickett was shot and killed in a restaurant parking lot in Smyrna, Georgia. Local news outlets reported the killing was related to a craigslist deal gone wrong. I did not see any word on if this was a robbery planned from the start, or what item the deal may have involved. Pickett’s alleged assailants remained at large for two days before police arrested 22-year-olds Damien Akeen Scott and Vincent Diandrez Brooks. Both have been charged with homicide-murder and aggravated assault.

Sadly, the Peach State of Georgia is not unfamiliar with craigslist killings and other crimes. While the most high-profile one was the murder of elderly couple Bud and June Runion, there has also been the recent disappearance of Vicente Cruz, and the murder of 51-year-old Sam Norman who was using the classifieds app LetGo.

When dealing with people from craigslist, the old rules no longer apply. It isn’t just enough to meet someone in public. Too many people have been hurt for this to be a viable form of business anymore. Most articles state the best way to complete these transactions safely is to meet at a police station, but how much longer will it be before a robbery is even attempted there? That’s not even counting the less than legitimate transactions that have led to violence. With such a low barrier of entry and the perceived notion of anonymity it gives its users, craigslist is just a bad deal all around.
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SC man accused of running victim over in craigslist vigilante killing

SC man accused of running victim over in craigslist vigilante killing
Nowell Harrison Riddle

I can’t stress this enough, if something of yours is stolen through craigslist or shows up on craigslist, report it to the police and let them do their job. As I’ve mentioned previously, the media loves to run stories where people circumvented police in order to get their stolen belongings back, however, if something were to go wrong you could end up in dire straits.

For example, take 31-year-old Nowell Harrison Riddle of Lyman, South Carolina. Mr. Riddle was selling a motorcycle on craigslist. The man posing as the buyer took off with the bike after claiming he was taking it for a test drive. Riddle then reported the theft to Spartanburg County deputies. Things should have ended there, but while Riddle was out in his vehicle he spotted the man on the stolen bike. Riddle called deputies again, but then allegedly took matters into his own hands by running the man down with his car after the alleged bike thief tried to leave the scene. Riddle is said to have killed 36-year-old Steven Russell Ridenour, of Greer, South Carolina, after striking him with his car and dragging him for a short distance. Riddle has also been charged with child endangerment because he had his infant son in the car with him when he is said to have killed Ridenour. Ridenour is said to have died from blunt force trauma to the head.

I don’t care if the guy rode the motorcycle onto your front yard, did donuts and wheelies before flipping you off and driving away. Under no circumstances was lethal force necessary in this situation. Riddle’s intent may not have been to kill Ridenour but that’s what happened and that can’t be changed. Now because of either impatience or uncontrolled anger issues, an infant boy may now have to grow up without his father while he sits in jail. There is no motorcycle worth that.
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3 charged in KC craigslist killing of man and burning his body

3 charged in KC craigslist killing of man and burning his body
Dozier and Wren (Not pictured: Tayelor Fitzpatrick)

The charred remains of 29-year-old Michael Luckey, of Osawatomie, Kansas, were found in his burnt out car in the driveway of an abandoned home in Kansas City, Missouri. Luckey allegedly went to Kansas City after responding to a craigslist ad for sex. Once he arrived at his destination three men identified as Micah Dozier, 18, Tayelor Fitzpatrick, 20, and Larry K. Wren III, 18, allegedly attempted to rob Luckey, but in the ensuing struggle Luckey was stabbed to death. The trio then reportedly put Luckey back in his car and moved the car to the abandoned home before setting it on fire. All three suspects have been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and tampering with evidence.

I wasn’t able to find out if the fake ad was a casual encounters hook up ad or a straight up ad for prostitution. Yes, they still exist on craigslist. Let me give a word of advice to all the internet Lotharios out there. If it’s a casual encounters ad she’s more than likely a prostitute and looks nothing like her picture, and if she’s not a prostitute she’s actually a bunch of guys looking to rob and beat you. So unless you want to end up like so much Kansas City BBQ I suggest you try to meet women the honest way and not through places like craigslist.

Craigslist vigilante accused of killing an innocent man

Craigslist vigilante accused of killing an innocent man
William Knight

The media loves to publish stories about people who found their stolen possessions on craigslist and confronted the person who stole them. I always thought that this was irresponsible of the media as I knew it would eventually lead to something like this.

63-year-old William Knight, of Akron, Ohio, is said to have found his son-in-law’s stolen dirt bike, worth $4000, being sold on craigslist. The bike had been stolen a year earlier. Knight and his family reported the ad to police who said they would go with Knight to approach the seller. Police then had to respond to another call, but Knight and his family went anyway.

Knight is said to have shot and killed 24-year-old Keith Johnson who was selling the bike. Knight claims the shooting was in self-defense, but reports make it sound like that Johnson was fleeing the scene rather than attacking Knight.

“I had to,” Knight said, alleging that Johnson had tried to flee and that he could have hurt his family members.

Knight told dispatchers his son-in-law tried to hold on to the bike to prevent Johnson from riding away. He said he fired his gun to protect his family and himself, and that he thought he hit Johnson in the chest.

Johnson was not the man who had stolen the bike. Relatives say that Johnson had bought the bike from someone else last year. Knight has only been charged with involuntary manslaughter which has set off tensions in Akron since Knight is white and Johnson is black. While I can’t say that the charges are based on race, I will say I think the charge of involuntary manslaughter is not enough and Knight should be charged with second-degree murder.

If you find something of yours that has been stolen appearing on a site like craigslist, do not approach the seller on your own. Call the police and wait for them to go with you. Taking the law into your own hands could result in lethal consequences, for you or any one else involved.
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Craigslist caregiver charged with murder of missing TN man

Craigslist caregiver charged with murder of missing TN man
Pamela Bingham

59-year-old Ellis Vogt, of Fayette County, Tennessee, went missing in the summer of 2016 after hiring a caregiver off of craigslist. Back in February, his body was found and the caregiver, Pamela Bingham, had been arrested for theft for being in possession of some of Mr. Vogt’s property.

Recently, it was made public that Bingham has been charged with second-degree murder. According to an affidavit, butcher knives were found next to Mr. Vogt’s body that matched knives that were missing from his kitchen. Bingham allegedly went to great lengths to throw anyone off her trail…

Investigators said they discovered a burn barrel still smoldering outside Vogt’s home. They also discovered blood-soaked towels, a DVR recording device for the surveillance system, and a crowbar.

And why did she allegedly brutally murder a man who was just looking for someone to assist him around his home?

Surveillance video captured Bingham in the Walmart parking lot of Oakland, Tennessee on July 30, 2016, the day after Vogt was reported missing. The video shows Bingham making purchases inside the Walmart, but does not show that Vogt was with her.

I would lay odds that everything she bought from Wal-Mart was probably trivial at best and a flat-screen TV at best. This goes a long way in showing how low criminals who use craigslist are willing to stoop just to buy themselves some cheap crap.

Teen craigslist killers set house on fire to cover their tracks

Teen craigslist killers set house on fire to cover their tracks
Johnsey and Lasiak

18-year-old Jerry Johnsey, of Auburndale, Florida, and 16-year-old Byron Lasiak, of Winter Haven, have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 67-year-old Donald Merkley, also of Winter Haven. Johnsey allegedly knew his victim through craigslist and was having sex with the victim prior to this. In this instance the pair went to the victim’s house and during sex Johnsey allegedly put Merkley in a chokehold until the victim fell unconscious. At that point Johnsey and Lasiak are said to have taken turns beating the victim in the head with a baseball bat. They then found some gasoline and spread it around the house before taking $2.75 they found on a counter.

The next day Johnsey is said to have returned to the Merkley’s house, poured more gasoline and started the fire. Initially, investigators thought the fire was started by an electric heater until Lasiak came forward.

If you’re looking for a friend with benefits or just a one night stand, I would avoid sites like craigslist. Due to its low level of entry and perceived level of anonymity it is a criminal haven. Hook-ups like this in the past from craigslist have led to crimes ranging from robbery to rape to murder. While craigslist isn’t the only dating avenue where these crimes happen I would say that it is the most prevalent one.

Tampa craigslist killing leaves father dead, two arrested

Williams and Johnson

44-year-old James Beck, of Tampa, Florida, was killed this past Tuesday after trying to sell his 16-year-old son’s dirt bike on craigslist. Beck and his son met a pair of individuals when one of them opened fire on Beck, striking him twice in the neck. The two suspects then ran off with the dirt bike. Beck unfortunately died on the scene from his injuries right in front of his son.

Police have arrested 16-year-old Ramontrae Williams and 17-year-old Dontae Johnson, and charged them with first-degree felony murder and robbery.

A GoFundMe has been set up by Beck’s family in order to pay for funeral and other expenses.

Sadly, I don’t have much else to add here. Craigslist should be considered too dangerous for anyone to use anymore. While you, the reader, may have found the perfect deal on craigslist, and have never had a problem, the number of people killed through craigslist is now in the triple digits. Craigslist has become nothing more than a dangerous game of Russian Roulette, and too many people are becoming victims to a deadly game that they don’t even realize they’re playing.

UPDATE 2/27/2017: Last week a grand jury indicted both teens, and they will be tried as adults.

UPDATE 3/2/2017: Williams has been denied bond.