I initially posted about the murders of Alize Smith and Jarron Moreland here. Back in April, the two 21-year-olds from Moore, Oklahoma, were shot and killed during a craigslist gun sale gone wrong. Their bodies were found days later, weighted down in a pond. 22-year-old Kevin Garcia-Boettler and 43-year-old Johnny Barker were charged with their murders. Also charged was Garcia-Boettler’s 16-year-old brother who has now been identified as Brett Boettler who has been charged as an adult. 40-year-old Crystal Rachelle Boettler, the mother of the two brothers, has been charged as an accessory after the fact.
After allegedly shooting the two victims in their van, the Boettler brothers took their victims to their mom’s home where Barker, Mrs. Boettler’s boyfriend, is said to have helped the brothers dispose of the bodies. Reports are also now saying that Smith’s and Moreland’s bodies were dismembered before being thrown into the pond.
According to court documents, detectives found the White Chrysler Town and Country van which was seen during the shooting, at the Boettler home.
After looking inside, they found “cleaning products and a power washer around the vehicle,” “dried blood spatter on the ceiling of the van” and “a bucket of water with a chainsaw bar inside and soaking in the water along with several jigsaw blades.”
Again, all this senseless violence could have been prevented if craigslist had only moderated their own site for illegal gun sales. Selling firearms is against their terms of service, but they refuse to enforce it.
I’ve been writing about the murder of 15-year-old Jennifer Parks for the past 12 years, and I always feel a little bad when I write about it. I feel bad because whenever I write a new post on whatever the latest development is, I have to write about the details of her murder which are still horrific to think about. Since Jennifer’s murder, I have become friends with people who were close to Jennifer’s family and I’ve become friends with Jennifer’s mother, Laurie Parks. While Mrs. Parks is aware of what I write, I always feel guilty when I bring up Jennifer’s murder again for whatever reason. With this post I feel twice as bad.
For those of you who may be new to the site, Jennifer was killed on July 30, 2005 by 18-year-old Jonathan Zarate and his brother, 14-year-old James Zarate. Jennifer’s family were neighbors with the Zarates in Randolph, New Jersey. The two brothers stabbed and beat Jennifer to death in their basement just because Jennifer reported to her school that James Zarate was bullying her. After the Zarate brothers killed her, they dismembered her body so they could fit her remains into a trunk. The trunk was left in the back of the Zarate family’s Jeep until they could try to dispose of her body. Her body was there 24 hours before the brothers and an accomplice tried to dispose of her remains in the Passaic River. A police officer caught them trying to dispose of Jennifer’s remains. Jonathan Zarate was tried first and in 2009 was sentenced to life in prison. Then James Zarate was tried as an adult and later that year was sentenced to life with eligibility for parole after serving 76 years of his sentence. In 2016, a resentencing was ordered for James Zarate based on court rulings that state mandatory life without parole for teens is cruel and unusual. Back in September, it was ruled that James Zarate would remain sentenced as an adult.
Now, the reason I feel twice as bad with this post is because this past week, the same judge who sentenced James Zarate to life was forced to resentence him to 50 years with the eligibility for parole after 43 1/2 years. Back in January, the New Jersey State Supreme Court ruled that juvenile killers need to have a meaningful chance for parole from their sentences. This is not surprising, considering New Jersey abolished the death penalty when they had someone like Jesse Timmendequas (TL;DR The monster who killed Megan Kanka resulting In Megan’s Law) sitting on their death row.
To this day James Zarate has denied any responsibility in the killing and has become a paralegal while in prison. Meanwhile, Jennifer Parks’ death shows the massive loss of potential that she could have given this world. Jennifer would have been around 27 now. She could have been planning for her wedding or already taking care of a young family while her parents could have been the adoring grandparents. Or she could have been a strong woman entrenched in her career or causes. Tragically, neither is the case. After Jennifer’s death her parents divorced and later after that, her father died of a heart attack. So Jennifer’s murder has cost a family more than the loss of a daughter. However, if the Daily Record will allow me to indulge in a liberal dose of fair use I’ll let Laurie Parks’ own words speak for themselves.
“The heinousness of the crime is exactly the same as it was 12 years ago. Not a day has gone by since July 30, 2005, that I don’t miss my daughter Jennifer Parks. The horrific things that the defendant and his brother did to Jennifer remain exactly the same. They tortured her, punched her, stabbed her with a knife and choked her. When she begged for her life, they shoved a bandana down her throat to stop her from screaming,” Parks said.
“What kind of people can do such a thing? Only monsters,” Parks said to the judge.
“Because of the defendant I was not there for Jennifer when she took her last breath or said her last words. I cannot even imagine the fear and pain she went through in her last moments. I lost my daughter, my husband, my home and basically my whole life and the defendant still stands before us breathing. I buried my daughter in pieces but the defendant still gets to fight for his life, something he took away from Jennifer. Something I believe he planned for a long time,” Parks said.
“He still gets to see his mother and his father. He still gets to live and stand before this court and say ‘my life matters.’ Well I say it doesn’t,” she said.
“He should have to remain behind bars. He should never experience freedom. He took that away from Jennifer, from me and all of Jennifer’s friends and family. I’d like to end by saying Jennifer Parks was a beautiful soul, a beautiful girl and she matters. Jennifer’s life matters,” Parks said.
It doesn’t get more powerful than those three words: Jennifer’s life matters. She didn’t ask to be killed. She can’t appeal her death. The New Jersey State Supreme court can’t make a judge rule her back to life. Jennifer doesn’t have the same luxuries that James Zarate does. Therefore, James Zarate’s life should be forfeit and he should be made to spend the rest of his unnatural life behind bars. Rehabilitation should not come at the expense of justice.
This past Friday, it was six years since the remains of 19-year-old Carina Saunders were found inside a duffel bag behind a store in Bethany, Oklahoma. Also this past Friday, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation renewed the $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Carina’s killer. This reward has been offered multiple times in the past but has to be renewed after 90 days according to state law. Also, $10,000 is the maximum reward that can be legally offered in the state of Oklahoma.
Many theories abound as to why Carina was murdered and dismembered. The prevailing thought is that Carina was somehow involved with human trafficking, and was killed to make an example. Several suspects have been previously arrested for her murder but charges were dropped, however charges could be refiled at a later time if any conclusive evidence indicates those suspects were involved.
Earlier this year, police seized items, which belonged to Carina, from a home where Carina was last seen alive. The person who owned the home was believed to have prostituted Carina but maintains his innocence. State investigators also believe there is a cell phone video of Carina’s murder in someone’s possession.
Call OSBI at 1-800-522-8017 with information or email a tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2005, 14-year-old James Zarate helped his older brother Jonathan brutally kill and dismember their neighbor, 16-year-old Jennifer Parks of Randolph, New Jersey. The younger Zarate brother was tried as an adult, convicted, and sentenced to life plus 14 years. Jonathan Zarate was sentenced to life plus 24.
Back in April, James Zarate, now in his mid-20s, attempted to appeal his life sentence by arguing he should have been tried as a juvenile. His defense used the same old argument of his brain supposedly not being fully developed. While a teenage brain is obviously not fully developed, it’s developed enough to the point where they know the difference between right and wrong, and there was nothing more wrong than what the Zarate brothers did to Jennifer.
The brothers invited her over under the guise of watching TV, but when she went to their house they stabbed her to death, dismembered her body then stored her body in a large trunk for 24 hours before trying to dump her remains in the Passaic River. All because Jennifer reported to the school James Zarate was bullying her.
At any time between the time Jennifer was invited over their house until the time they were caught by police trying to dump her body, James Zarate could have told his parents, or police, or anyone. Instead he chose to remain complicit in Jennifer’s murder, up until the point where the Zarates almost got away with it.
Yesterday, a Superior Court judge upheld the original decision to try James Zarate as an adult, which basically upholds his life sentence. In 2016, New Jersey passed a law which said no one under the age of 15 could be charged as an adult. However, the judge ruled the 2016 law does not have to be retroactively applied.
In no way does James Zarate ever deserve to see the outside of a prison ever again. No matter how ‘undeveloped’ his brain might have been, his cold-blooded brutality was fully developed.
(Thanks to Lady Gray for her editorial assistance)
A new development has been made public in the investigation into the murder of 19-year-old Carina Saunders. For those of you new to the site, Carina was murdered in 2011 and parts of her dismembered body were found in a duffle bag behind a store in Bethany, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) says they believe there is a video of Carina’s murder somewhere out there and have offered a $10,000 reward for receipt of the video. Two men were arrested for her murder, but the charges were withdrawn, for now.
More recently, the OSBI searched two properties in Oklahoma City that belonged to a guy named Kenny Richards. Several items were collected at the sites by state investigators, although they have not commented on what those items are. Richards is believed to have prostituted Carina and is believed to have been the last person who saw Carina alive.
Now, court records have stated the OBSI received a cell phone from the DEA that contained a picture of Carina Saunders. The phone was seized by the DEA during a drug operation. The phone is said to belong to one Kenny Richards. Richards has stated publicly Carina was a friend of his and he did not kill her.
What I would like to know is what is it about the picture that made it important to the OBSI? Is it something in the picture itself, the date, or something else contained in the photo’s data? So far what I’m taking away from this is there’s a picture of Carina on a phone that belonged to a person of interest in the investigation, but someone who also knew Carina personally. To put it bluntly, I’m not seeing the big deal so far.
The warrants indicates a folding knife, shirt, windbreaker jacket, and slip-on sandals were recovered during the three-day excavation in Northwest Oklahoma City.
As has been mentioned previously, it could be months before any forensic evidence can reveal if these items are related to Carina’s murder.
What I also found interesting about the News9 article that I linked to above, is they seem to insinuate Kenny Richards may have had more involvement in the murder than he’s letting on. I hate to talk about someone who at least has not been arrested for the crime I’m posting about, but the property these items were found on belonged to Richards, and News9 has said court records show investigators had received tips claiming Richards allegedly drove Carina to where her body was found and he had buried her belongings in a metal drum on his property. Richards has steadfastly denied any involvement in Carina’s murder.
While I’m not necessarily defending Richards, in my opinion it seems like Carina’s murder was a multi-person affair. By walking an accusatory thin line, certain news outlets could be potentially jeopardizing the investigation by putting too much of the spotlight on any one person of interest. The brutal way Carina met her end demands justice and doesn’t need any more hindrances in bringing the guilty to justice.
As mentioned in my previous post, the man who used to own the properties is Kenny Richards. Not only is he believed to have allegedly prostituted Carina, he’s also believed to be the last person to see her alive according to news reports. After his name appeared in the news earlier this week he sent a series of text messages to local TV station News 9.
In a series of text messages, Richards said, “It [sic] all wrong…I told police everything I know.”
Richards explained via text Wednesday evening, “She [Saunders] was a friend of mine…I miss her, too!!” … “I have nothing more to say!!”
I’d be interested in knowing if News 9 reached out to Richards or if he reached out to them. They left that more than a little vague in their article.
The article does mention what items investigators were specifically looking for.
Saunders’ personal items were listed including shoes, socks, bra, underwear, belt, T-shirt, handbag and her wallet.
Investigators were also hoping to recover parts of her body that have been missing since she was found dismembered in a duffel bag in Bethany.
Considering they wrapped up their investigation of the properties early and said that the OSBI recovered items of interest, could they be finally getting closer to bringing Carina’s brutal killer or killers to justice? We can only hope.
Agents of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations have been searching two vacant properties in Oklahoma City for the additional remains of Carina Saunders. Carina was 19 when she was killed in 2011. Her dismembered body was found in a duffle bag behind a store in Bethany, Oklahoma. I was under the assumption that her complete remains had been found, but apparently I was mistaken.
Agents are using ground-penetrating radar in order to possibly find the last of Carina’s remains. The properties were rumored to have been occupied by people who allegedly knew who killed Carina but were too afraid to come forward due to fear of being killed themselves. While some may find this outrageous behavior, I can kind of understand because in the past there has been a theory that Carina may have been killed by a Mexican drug cartel as a way to send a message to someone close to her. While that may or may not be true, I could see how that could scare a neighborhood into silence.
So far the OBSI has not released what led them to check these properties or if they have found anything as of yet.
James Zarate was 14-years-old when he helped his older brother Jonathan brutally murder their 16-year-old Randolph, New Jersey, neighbor Jennifer Parks. For those of you not familiar with the story, Jennifer had been bullied by James Zarate and reported him to the school. To get back at Jennifer for his brother, Jonathan Zarate invited her over to his house to watch TV. Instead, the Zarate brothers brutally bludgeoned and stabbed Jennifer to death. In an effort to try to hide her body they dismembered Jennifer’s corpse and stuffed it into a trunk that they then put in the back of one of their parents’ Jeep. It was a full 24 hours before the pair, along with a friend, tried to dump Jennifer’s remains in the Passaic River. If it were not for a passing police officer, it may have been an eternity before Jennifer’s body would have been found.
Jonathan Zarate was convicted at trial and was sentenced to life plus 24 years. James was charged as an adult and was sentenced to life plus 14, but later had his sentence reduced by nine years. James Zarate has had many appeals denied, but now instead of appealing his conviction he’s trying to have his sentence reduced.
If you’re a regular reader of this site you’ll notice that Zarate’s attorney is trying a familiar ploy. In 2016, New Jersey passed a law stating that no one under 15 could be charged as an adult. Zarate’s defender is asking for a juvenile re-sentencing under this ruling arguing that a 14-year-old’s brain isn’t fully developed enough to understand their actions when they commit murder. If the ruling were to fall into Zarate’s favor, more than likely he would be released after time served.
As I have argued many times in the past, this is a load of crap, as a 14-year-old’s brain is developed enough to know what murder is. Zarate willingly participated in Jennifer’s murder and at any time could have gone to his parents, the police or Jennifer to warn her in advance. He did none of these things. Instead he took part in an act only the most bloodthirsty of killers would have committed. To have him ever breathe the air outside of a New Jersey prison would not only be a travesty of justice but an insult to Jennifer’s memory. He is where he belongs.