Michigan’s Backpage Killer sentenced

Man sentenced to life for killing 4 Michigan women:

Backpage.com killer stays in cell on sentencing day:

James Brown

James Brown

This past Tuesday 26-year-old James Brown, of Sterling Heights, Michigan, was sentenced to life without parole for the murders of Renesha Landers, 23, and Demesha Hunt, 24, Natasha Curtis, 29, and Vernithea McCrary, 28. If you haven’t been following the story Brown killed the women after answering their advertisements on Backpage. The four victims were working as prostitutes but that shouldn’t devalue their lives or Brown’s sentencing.

In pairs Brown left their bodies in abandoned cars in Detroit although the murders took place at his home. One of the cars he lit on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence.

Like the coward that he is Brown stayed in his cell rather than go to court to face his sentence. I mean, how bad do you have to be for a Michigan judge to say that he wished that Brown could have been sentenced to more than just life. This coming from a state that has never had a death penalty since it was accepted into the Union.

Yet Backpage’s business continues unabated like the victims never existed or had family and friends that loved them. I’m sure you’re tired of me saying this but every penny they make from the prostitution ads is nothing but blood money. Hopefully one day there will be a reckoning for Backapge and its owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.

UPDATE 9/26/2015: Brown had all four of his convictions and life sentences upheld recently.

Michigan's Backpage Killer convicted

Backpage murderer Brown convicted on all counts:

James Brown

James Brown

Yesterday James Brown of Sterling Heights, Michigan was convicted on four counts of murder. Brown killed Renesha Landers, 23, and Demesha Hunt, 24, Natasha Curtis, 29, and Vernithea McCrary, 28, after finding them advertising on Backpage. While these women may have been working as prostitutes it doesn’t change the fact that they had families and people who loved them as shown by their attendance in court.

After asphyxiating his victims in pairs at his home he would put their bodies in the trunk of the cars they arrived in and abandoned them near an interstate. He set the car on fire that Natasha Curtis and Vernithea McCrary were found in.

Brown will receive a mandatory sentence of life without parole as Michigan has no death penalty. That’s right, the state that contains Detroit has no death penalty.

At the time of the murders Backpage almost broke their arms patting themselves on the back claiming they helped in the investigation rather than taking any kind of responsibility for the fact that the money they make from the ads of these four woman, and any other woman advertised on their site, is nothing but blood money.

Detroit backpage murder case moved

James Brown (Obviously not THE James Brown)

James Brown (Obviously not THE James Brown)

Backpage.com Murder Case Moves to Macomb County:

Wayne County, Michigan, which includes Detroit, has dropped all their charges against James Brown. Brown is believed to be involved with the murders of Demesha Hunt, Renisha Landers, Natasha Curtis and Vernithea McCrary. Three of the women are believed to be prostitutes that were advertising on the Village Voice Media owned backpage.com.

With Wayne County dropping the charges, charges have been filed by nearby Macomb County. Previously investigators said that it was unknown where the murders actually took place. With these new charges being filed I would hazard a guess that they believe they took place in Macomb County.

I guess if Liz McDougall was quoted for this article she’d probably say how great it was that Backpage was able to help catch a killer.

UPDATE 12/2/2012: Brown’s attorney entered a plea of not guilty on his client’s behalf.

Arrest made in Detroit Backpage murders

Renesha Landers and Denesha Hunt

Renesha Landers and Denesha Hunt

Charges announced in “Backpage.com Murder Investigation”:

Around last Christmas Detroit was rocked by two pairs of murders. This is Detroit we’re talking about so it takes a lot to shock them. On December 19th the bodies of cousins Demesha Hunt, 24, and Renisha Landers, 23, were found in the trunk of a car. Then on Christmas day the bodies of Natasha Curtis, 29, and Vernithea McCrary, 28, were found inside a burning car. Three of the four victims were prostitutes that advertised on the Village Voice Media owned backpage.com.

24-year-old James Brown of Sterling Heights, Michigan has been arrested in connection with the murders but has not yet been charged with the murders. Police say that’s because they believe the murders themselves may have taken place outside of Detroit.

Backpage actually tried claiming that they were ‘helpful’ in the investigation as soon as the murders occurred. What they should have done is admitted that their site was the directory a murderer used to find his victims. Unfortunately they have 27 million reasons not to do that.

Detroit backpage murder victims ID’d.

Vernithea McCrary

Vernithea McCrary

Another Detroit woman identified in escort investigation:

Again I apologize in my tardiness of posting these stories.

Anyway last week prior to the new year police in Detroit named one of the women who were found in the trunk of a burning car.

Police say they have identified one of the victims as 28-year-old Vernithea McCrary. As of the time of this article police had not released the name of the other victim found with her but family members believe it is 28-year-old Natasha Curtis. Both women were found burned beyond recognition. A cause of death has yet to be announced.

As mentioned before Detroit police believe that three of the four victims, the others being Renesha Landers and Denesha Hunt, were prostitutes that advertised on the Village Voice Media owned backpage.com. Backpage, being the slimy weasels they are, are quick to point out that multiple websites were involved. That’s like the pitbull defenders who say wiener dogs maul just as many people.

You’re the top dog now Backpage and you’re foaming at the mouth while your handlers say what a good dog you are. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll have to be put down.

Backpage responds to Detroit murders (through their lawyer)

backpage

Statement from Backpage.com representative on Detroit murders:

Backpage released a statement through one of their attorneys in reference to the recent murders in Detroit of Demesha Hunt, Renisha Landers and two unnamed women. Three of the victims are believed to have been prostitutes that were advertised on the Village Voice Media owned backpage.com.

Here is the statement in its entirety…

“After we heard about these terrible crimes, we reached out to the Detroit Police Department, even before we heard from them, to offer assistance in the investigation. Our team has already provided the police with detailed information about the ads that the suspect or others posted on numerous web sites.

“Law enforcement authorities now have evidence that the investigation appears to connect to at least 30 different ads or other postings on at least 15 different websites, separate and distinct from ours. We are not aware of the existence of any evidence that would indicate which of these many sites were used by the suspect to establish contact with his victims.

“We have a team of more than 100 content monitors and internet experts who will continue to cooperate with the investigation and provide as much helpful information as we can.

“Backpage.com shares the concerns of law enforcement and the community that every effort be made to stop violent criminals from using the internet to commit their crimes.

Backpage has developed strong cooperative relationships with front-line state and federal police agencies nationwide, assisting with sting operations, promptly responding to subpoenas, and otherwise aiding in the identification, apprehension and prosecution of criminals.

“We do our best to provide a safe and legal environment for our customers through aggressive content monitoring and sophisticated content filtration software.

We agree with a recent USC study that recommended leveraging online technologies and datadriven information in real time to detect and apprehend online criminals.

Steve Suskin
Legal Counsel
backpage.com

Pretty much exactly as I predicted.

For those of you who aren’t fluent in bullshit please allow me to translate for you.

*AHEM*

Since this is a PR nightmare for us we decided to call the Detroit police to see how much they know to see what we could exploit in our favor.

But it wasn’t just our website. There are other websites too. So we’re not so bad if other websites do it right?

We have a guy in India who we call a monitor but he doesn’t really do much.

By ‘cooperating’ with police we are trying to establish plausible deniability.

We have so much legal paperwork in our offices we’re drowning in them.

We pay a lot of lip service saying that we monitor the content of our site but not to the point where it would eat in to our profits.

But there can be a 1000 murders and we still won’t shut down the adult section. We’re all getting filthy rich from it.

Slimy McMouthpiece
Head Weasel
Classifieds site that makes its money from the trafficking of women and children.

Did a Backpage serial killer murder 4 Detroit women?

Renesha Landers and Denesha Hunt

Renesha Landers and Denesha Hunt

3 women found dead linked to escort Web site, Detroit police say:

Bodies found in Detroit linked to online ads:

Detroit police chief says 4 murders related:

Within the last week four murdered women were found in the trunks of cars in Detroit, 3 of them were reported to be escorts on the Village Voice Media owned backpage.com.

The bodies of cousins Demesha Hunt, 24, and Renisha Landers, 23, were found in the trunk of a car in December 19th. On early Christmas morning two more women were found burnt beyond recognition in the trunk of a burning car. Their names have not yet been released. It has also not been made public yet which of the three women had ads on backpage. The causes of death have also not been released. However police do believe that the incidents are connected.

Not surprisingly Village Voice Media has not yet responded to media requests for comment. I’ll save you all some time. VVM will say something to the effect that those these deaths are regrettable they are working with law enforcement. Then they’ll stick in something about how their thinly veiled prostitution ads are a first amendment right and that they’re ability to make money off the women and children that are trafficked on their site trumps the right for these women to not be murdered. Not necessarily in those words but you get the idea.

Will this new national attention on backpage get VVM to reconsider their stance on the adult ads on backpage? As long as their making money hand over fist I seriously doubt it.

Thanks to Sue and Bonnie for the tips.