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Tag: Murder

Updated: Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Church Elder Robert Harris Convicted of Murdering His Wife

robert harris

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In 2018, Robert Harris, an elder at Repairers Kansas City (also known as Repairers of the Breach Christian Center) in Kansas City, Missouri, was charged with murdering his wife, Tanisha Harris. The church has no Internet presence.

The Kansas City Star reported at the time (link no longer active):

An Overland Park man was charged Wednesday with the killing of his wife, whose body was found in Cass County.

Johnson County prosecutors charged Robert Lee Harris Jr. with premeditated first-degree murder in the death of Tanisha Harris.

Overland Park police said Tuesday that officers were called to the couple’s apartment in the 8000 block of Perry Street around 4 p.m. Monday for a domestic disturbance.

Robert Harris was alone in the apartment, police said.

But later Monday night, he called police back to the apartment and and told them his wife was missing. Officers became suspicious of what he told them, and he then allegedly admitted he had a role in her disappearance, according to police.

The body of Tanisha Harris, 38, was found Tuesday morning in Cass County, and her 30-year-old husband was booked into the Johnson County Detention Center.

Court documents do not say how Tanisha Harris died.

….

Today, Harris was convicted of first-degree murder.

The Kansas City Star reports:

A former elder in a Kansas City, Missouri, church was convicted Friday of killing his wife four years ago. Robert Lee Harris was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 38-year-old Tanisha Harris at the couple’s home in Overland Park, Kansas. The couple was active in Repairers Kansas City, a nondenominational church. where Tanisha Harris was an associate pastor.

Police went to the couple’s apartment in Overland Park on Jan. 8, 2018, to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance. Officers found Robert Harris alone in the apartment and left. They returned when he reported his wife missing. Her body was found later near Raymore, Missouri.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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UPDATED: Black Collar Crime: Kristie Evans Sentenced to Life for Murdering Her Husband David Evans, a Baptist Pastor and Swinger

pastor david evans
David Evans, pastor of Harmony Freewill Baptist Church in Ada, Oklahoma

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In 2021, I reported that David Evans, pastor of Harmony Freewill Baptist Church in Ada, Oklahoma, was allegedly murdered by his wife, Kristie, and her lover (and threesome partner), Kahlil Square.

The Daily Beast reported:

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation on Friday said Kristie Dawnell Evans, 47, had been arrested and charged with first-degree murder after confessing her role in her husband’s murder. Her lover, Kahlil Deamie Square, 26, was also arrested on Thursday on the same charge.

Authorities say that Kristie Evans asked Square to kill her husband in a sinister plot the two hatched while the pastor was away in Mexico. According to an affidavit, obtained by The Daily Beast, the mother-of-three later told police her husband “was verbally abusive and controlling of her” and “called her names like ‘slut, fat, ugly, and whore.’”

“Kristie gave David’s gun and a box of bullets to Kahlil,” the affidavit says, based on interviews Evans had with investigators. “Kristie and Kahlil agreed upon an approximate time Kahlil would come to the Evans’ residence to kill David. Kristie left the backdoor unlocked so Kahlil could make entry to the resident.”

In a bizarre twist, the pastor’s wife told investigators that she and Square “had a sexual relationship that also included David at one point as well.”

“Kristie and David first met Kahlil months ago at a Super 8 Motel,” the affidavit states. The trio had sex at the Super 8 Motel on more than one occasion. One time, “Kristie secretly dropped her phone number on the floor for Kahlil. Kristine continued to communicate by phone daily with Kahlil without David’s knowledge,” the affidavit continues.

Evans admitted that Square stayed over for three nights while her husband was in Mexico, too. She told Square that her husband was verbally abusive, that he mistreated her, and that “it would be nice to have more freedom.” “Kahlil simply responded with, ‘damn,’” the affidavit says.

Then, at around 1 a.m. on March 22, Evans called 911 to report that “someone had shot her husband” inside their home in Ada, about an hour outside of Oklahoma City. When officers arrived, David Evans was “lying in bed, bleeding from the nose and mouth” with a gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Evans was later found guilty of murder. Yesterday, Evans was sentenced to life in prison.

The Oklahoman reported:

A judge Wednesday sentenced admitted murderer Kristie Evans to life in prison for the fatal shooting of her pastor husband after hearing sordid testimony about their secret swinger lifestyle.

The punishment means she will not be eligible for parole until she is in her mid-80s. She is now 49.

She showed no emotion as Pontotoc County District Judge Steven Kessinger announced his decision. The judge called the killing nothing short of cold-blooded and said any remorse was newly found.

She pleaded guilty in April to first-degree murder, admitting she coaxed a lover into fatally shooting her sleeping husband early March 22, 2021, inside their home in Ada. She testified Tuesday she was immediately remorseful.

Her attorney, Joi Miskel, had asked the judge to order her to prison for only four years. The attorney said Kristie Evans had been a victim of domestic abuse throughout the 30-year marriage and a slave to her husband’s sexual wants.

“She is not a danger to society,” Miskel said.

A prosecutor had asked the judge to impose a life term without the possibility of parole. “She had options. She chose the worst one,” Assistant District Attorney Tara Portillo said.

The judge said he considered Kristie Evans’ testimony that her husband had abused her but could not discount that she had orchestrated his murder.

“As you testified,” he said, “actions have consequences.”

Her husband, David Evans, 50, was a beloved Baptist pastor. He had preached about attacks from the devil to the congregation at Harmony Church in Ada just hours before his death. The pastor, also known as Dave Evans, had just returned from a mission trip to Mexico.

He also had led a double life as a swinger, who collected porn and arranged for his wife to meet with men in Oklahoma City, Norman and Moore for threesomes, according to testimony at the two-day sentencing. The prosecutor conceded in closing remarks to the judge that the pastor was a sexual deviant and a “dark, dark individual.”

The judge noted as he imposed the sentence that Kristie Evans planned the crime, provided the murder weapon and ammunition, and allowed access to her home.

Kristie Evans testified she begged her lover, Kahlil Square, to help her get out of the marriage after enduring years of abuse. “I was desperate,” she said. “I wanted to be free from that. I knew of no other way.”

She said she left one of her husband’s guns outside the house and left the back door unlocked. She said she found Square hiding, dressed all in black, after hearing noises inside the house. She said she had to assure Square her husband was sound asleep because he was worried he was making too much noise.

….

She said she heard the shot and saw Square run out the back door. She said she found her husband, bleeding and gurgling from a shot to the forehead.

“I held his hand and told him I was sorry,” she said.

Square, 27, of Moore, also was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting. His next court date is Aug. 25. He also confessed, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing last year. The gun has never been found.

Kristie Evans insisted in her testimony that she still loves her husband, but the judge pointed out she had once described him as an obstacle to be removed.

The judge also said she showed no remorse when she wrote “pornographic” letters in jail to Square and another inmate. The judge said Kristie Evans first wrote Square only 19 days after her arrest to find out if he was OK, still her man and had everything he needed.

The letters were introduced into evidence Tuesday. In one letter to the other inmate, she wrote about her sexual prowess.

“I could wear a man out,” she wrote. “Any man would have done it for me after I got through with him.”

….

The prosecutor told the judge that Kristie Evans had her husband killed for money, a $250,000 life insurance policy. The prosecutor said the pastor and his wife had filed for bankruptcy months before, in October 2020.

The prosecutor also said Kristie Evans had manipulated her lover with sex and statements of love into putting a bullet into her husband’s brain.

“We also know that Kahlil Square wavered and that she talked to him on the phone from church and still persuaded him to carry out the murder,” Portillo said.

Kristie Evans and Square first met at the Super 8 in Moore for a threesome in January 2021, according to her testimony. She slipped him her phone number at a second threesome a week later and they began seeing each other without her husband.

Square visited her at her home over three days in March 2021 while the pastor was on his mission trip. He became a suspect because his car had been spotted at the house.

Kristie Evans claimed she didn’t leave her husband because she feared he would kill her parents, then her and then himself. She said she also needed to keep her job for the insurance to pay for medication for her kidney and thyroid issues.

She had a kidney transplant in 2013. She also has had her thyroid removed.

Her defense attorney, Miskel, said the judge will review his decision in a year and could modify it then.

“Her remorse is real and it was from the very beginning,” she told reporters. “Every time I’ve met with her, there is remorse.

“And you have to understand that she has suffered for years and years this horrific abuse. You don’t just shake that off in a matter of days, months, weeks or even years. And you have to think she still has had no kind of counseling, any kind of therapy, to work through these issues of decades of abuse.”

Asked about the sexually explicit jail letters, the defense attorneys said, “Kristie received positive feedback from her husband when she would perform sexually for him. That’s how she’d been conditioned over 30 years.”

She wrote the jail letters because of that conditioning to get a positive response, the attorney said. “She did cut it off.”

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Short Stories: The Day the Neighbor Tried to Murder His Wife

gerencser-children-1960s
Bruce “Butch” Gerencser and his younger brother and sister, 1960s, San Diego, California. First time I noticed that my pants are unzipped, underwear is above my waist, and no shoes. I was quite the fashion statement.

In the early 1960s, my dad packed up his family of five and moved us to San Diego, California in the hope of finding the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Dad never found his dream, but while there the Gerencser family found Jesus and became members of a large Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church. I attended kindergarten and first grade in California. My memories, as to be expected, are spotty, but one moment in time stands above all others, one I have not forgotten sixty years later.

Most of my time in California was spent living in a small single-story home on Columbine Street. The house sat across the street from a canyon that would provide my siblings and me with countless hours of fun. That said, I can’t imagine letting a 6-year-old, 5-year-old, and 3-year-old play by themselves without adult supervision. Such were the times, I suppose.

In our backyard was a courtyard of sorts, with three other homes closely situated to ours. One day, I heard a bunch of screaming in Spanish. Always a nosey little boy, I went to the courtyard to see what was up. Much to my fascination — at the time — a Mexican man was savagely beating his wife. Adults stood by and did nothing — out of fear, I suspect — as the man inflicted such damage on his wife that one eye popped out of its socket on her blood-soaked face. The man’s white T-shirt was covered with his wife’s blood. As I think about this event decades later, it’s clear that the man intended to murder his wife.

By the time the police arrived, the man had fled the scene, and could be seen attempting to escape via a water pipe of sorts that traversed the canyon. Soon apprehended, he was placed in the back seat of a police car. As the car began to pull away, the man turned to look out the back window. Still filled with rage, his mouth was foaming.

Little children should never have to experience such things in their lives. I am not sure where my mother was at the time, or why she didn’t shield us from the carnage. Perhaps she tried to do so, but my curiosity won the day. Regardless, this event made a deep mark on my life. When confronted with circumstances later in my life, I chose to intercede instead of standing by and fearfully doing nothing as those adults in the courtyard did over half a century ago. I refuse to stand by and do nothing when people use physical strength or power to psychologically or physically harm others. Yes, that means putting myself in harm’s way, but imagine if all of us stood up to bullies and those who use violence to make a point or get their way. If we don’t, who will?

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Updated: Black Collar Crime: Former Evangelical Pastor Ronnie Hyde Sentenced to Life in Prison for 1994 Murder

ronnie hyde

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In 2017, Action News Jacksonville reported:

Ronnie Hyde, 60, was arrested Tuesday in the 1994 murder of 16-year-old Fred Laster and the FBI began searching his Jacksonville Beach home, as well as a property of his on Jacksonville’s Eastside.

….

For more than two decades, Laster was known as “John Doe” to investigators looking into his death. His dismembered body was recovered behind a dumpster on Highway 441 near Interstate 10 on June 5, 1994.

In a related story, Action News reported:

A Duval County judge denied bond on Wednesday for Ronnie Hyde, 60, who has been charged in the death and dismemberment of Nassau County teen Fred Laster.

Twenty-three years after the killing, the suspect in the case faced a judge for the first time.

Hyde was wearing a red jumpsuit which indicates a high risk inmate. He will likely hire an attorney of his own.

Andrew Sturm was at the hearing to support him. He said Hyde is his friend and counselor.

“We recommended him to my mom and my nephew who he sees and he’s done nothing but great in my life,” said Sturm.

Sturm said he met Hyde through Crosswater Community Church.

According to Sturm, Hyde counseled his 13-year-old nephew and while he doesn’t suspect Hyde harmed him, he said he still called the FBI after learning of his arrest.

“Per my nephew’s own words, no one put words in my nephew’s mouth, Ron never did anything at all inappropriate, Ron never touched him at all,” said Sturm.

In court, Hyde tried speaking with the judge but the judge stopped him saying it was not the time to speak about his case.

Sturm said this is not the Hyde he knows.

“Ron is an extremely intelligent person, very much a loner he likes to play his guitar. He would play at county festivals and stuff like that,” said Sturm.

The Florida Times-Union added:

Authorities credited advancements in technology, increased exposure from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the assignment of a fresh detective to the cold case unit with the recent break in the case.

“All it takes is that one spark of information that can lead to an arrest,” Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter said.

Local FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles Spencer asked the public for help as the case continues, saying Hyde traveled abroad, was “a named subject in a previous child exploitation case” and had access to numerous children over the years.

Hyde, who lists his employment as a licensed mental health counselor at Crosswater Community Church in Nocatee, previously worked as a youth pastor at Strength for Living Church in Jacksonville where he first met Laster’s family.

Rev. Jack Millwood of Hyde’s current church issued a statement: “We are working and cooperating fully with the FBI in their investigation of Ron Hyde. I am personally not aware of any victims of Ron Hyde that involve anyone associated with Crosswater. If any person or persons has any information regarding potential victims of Ron Hyde, please contact the local FBI office.”

A neighbor watching the flurry of law enforcement activity at Hyde’s Jacksonville Beach home said there was something about the place always made her uneasy as did Hyde.

“It was always a house we skipped when we went trick-or-treating,” the neighbor said.

A similar search took place throughout the day at a second home on Thelma Street in Jacksonville. Spencer said agents will continue an extensive search of the homes, but would not disclose what exactly investigators are looking for.

“The search could take several days and no stone will be left unturned, I can assure you of that,” Spencer said, asking residents for patience during the process.

Hunter said investigators met with Laster’s family in November 2015 to collect his siblings’ DNA samples, building a profile that they could possibly match with the DNA taken from the torso found in 1994. Three months later, lab tests confirmed the remains and Laster’s family members were related.

A match still left the case unsolved. A second DNA profile recovered from a flannel shirt found near the torso in 1994 had no match in a law enforcement database. But last April, investigators sifted through trash cans outside Hyde’s home and retrieved nasal swabs containing DNA that was also matched to the flannel shirt.

“I am extremely proud of the detectives who worked on this extremely difficult case,” Hunter said. “… It has allowed the family to have some closure.”

The sheriff demurred when asked whether there was a sexual nature to the case. Still, court records show Laster’s sister told authorities she and her brother had spent the night at Hyde’s home a year before he went missing and that she woke up to find Hyde nude and trying to quietly wake her brother.

Laster’s siblings said they confronted Hyde numerous times over the years, and each time he seemed to provide a different version of events regarding Laster’s disappearance. In one breath Hyde told the siblings he had dropped Laster off near Pecan Park, in another breath he said it was in the Oceanway area and in another still he said he’d taken Laster to their grandmother’s house in Nassau County.

Eventually, Lasters’ siblings gave up trying to get answers from Hyde. They said they last spoke to him in 2003.

You can read a February 28, 2018, Florida Times-Union report about Hyde’s case here.

Today, Hyde was sentenced to life in prison.

The Florida Times-Union reports:

A Duval County jury took a little more than three hours to find former Jacksonville Beach youth pastor Ronnie Leon Hyde guilty of killing and dismembering a 16-year-old Yulee boy in 1994.

Following a tearful victim impact statement from Travis Laster, whose brother Fred Laster’s remains were found in Columbia County behind a gas station dumpster, Hyde was sentenced to life in prison.

Hyde, 65, stood motionless as Judge Tatiana Salvador read the sentence just after 3:30 p.m., his attorney Ann Finnell at his side. The verdict came after four days of witness and evidence presentations to the jury, wrapping with Hyde testifying in his own defense.

Standing at a courtroom podium, not looking at Hyde, Travis Laster said his entire family all lost someone who “was loved dearly.” And since no one knew the remains were his until a 2016 DNA test, his grandmother died never knowing what happened to her grandson, his brother said.

….

When Hyde addressed the court in his own defense Thursday and again when he was questioned by the prosecutor the next day, he denied having done anything to the boy who he knew and spent a lot of time with.

He said the teen was upset over a dispute with his sister when he last saw him and he had bailed out of Hyde’s car on U.S. 17 in Nassau County and disappeared.

…..

Laster’s torso was found on June 5, 1994, behind a Lake City dumpster and missing the head, legs and hands, police said. Evidence was collected but his identification wasn’t unknown for years.

In 2014 the case was advertised on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website and prompted Laster’s twin sister to contact staff saying it could be him. More DNA samples were obtained and submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which compared results to the evidence found at the 1994 scene.

That led to his identification in 2016 and eventually to Hyde, believed to be the last person to see Laster whom he met in the mid-1980s and formed a relationship with the Laster family, according to the investigation.

A search warrant at Hyde’s Jacksonville Beach home uncovered more evidence and led to his arrest in 2017. He was charged with first-degree murder, plus 25 child-pornography possession counts that will be processed separately in court.

A motive was never clear.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: God is Behind Every Murder and Rape

john piper

Hello, Pastor John [Piper], and thank you for APJ! I write because last year someone very close to me was assaulted and murdered. At the time of the tragedy, I had not devoted my life to Christ. The pastor at the funeral service said, ‘I don’t think it was God’s plan for this to happen.’ I remember feeling so lost and angry. I gave my life to Christ a few months later. But I still don’t understand why my loved one would be murdered if God is omnipotent. Does God allow sin to roam unchecked? Does the Bible say anything about God allowing such awful sin to happen, and why? I am a new Christian with a lot to learn.

It’s difficult for me to know what the pastor at your friend’s funeral meant when he said, “I don’t think it was God’s plan for this to happen.” Maybe all he meant was that God never does anything wrong and never sins against anyone. But it’s one thing to say that God never does wrong, and it’s a very different thing to say that God does not govern or oversee or direct or control the wrong that happens in this world. If that’s what the pastor meant — that God doesn’t do that — I think he’s mistaken, because the Bible teaches from cover to cover that God does, in fact, govern all the details of the world, including the bad things that happen to us and to our friends.

….

So God’s counsel, God’s wisdom, God’s purpose always comes to pass. That’s what it means to be God. Not the devil, not nature, not fate, not chance, not sinful man — nobody and nothing can thwart the plan of God.

….

In other words, from the tiniest, most insignificant happening, to the largest global happenings, God governs all things.

….

So, when you feel that you can’t understand why God does what he does, let your heart rest here: the worst suffering and the deepest sovereignty meet at the point of greatest love — the cross of Christ. So rest there.

— John Piper, Desiring God, Is Violent Crime Under God’s Providence? November 19, 2021

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

UPDATED: Black Collar Crime: Pastor Tim Crumitie Convicted of Murder, Now Facing More Murder Charges

tim crumitie

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In 2018, Tim Crumitie, former pastor of an unnamed church, was accused of the attempted murder of Kimberly Cherry along with the murder of Michael Gretsinger, Cherry’s boyfriend

The Charlotte Observer reported:

One of two bullets lodged in her head made it difficult for Kimberly Cherry to speak.

When asked by a 911 operator in August 2016 to identify the person who had shot her, Cherry’s halting voice seemed to teeter on the edge of consciousness. But her answer was clear.

“His name is Tim,” she said.

Sitting between his two attorneys, Tim Crumitie showed no emotion Monday morning as the voice of his former girlfriend – and an expected witness against him – wafted through the courtroom, opening the former minister’s first-degree murder trial in a haunting way.

The 52-year-old convicted felon is accused of the predawn ambush of Cherry and her boyfriend Michael Gretsinger in University City. Mecklenburg Assistant District Attorney Clayton Jones told the jury that after springing from behind the front door of the couple’s apartment, Crumitie fired two shots, execution style, into Gretsinger’s head. The Charlotte man died about 10 days later.

Crumitie then bound the arms of Cherry, put her in the passenger seat of her own car, and eventually drove her to his Rowan County home, Jones said, “figuring out what he wanted to do.”

Later that morning, Crumitie doubled back, Jones said, driving Cherry’s car to a construction site near her apartment. There, according to Jones, Crumitie shot her once in the back of the head. After Cherry fell to the ground, Jones said, Crumitie shot her again in the left temple.

Miraculously, Cherry was still alive when Crumitie put her in the trunk of the car and started driving again. Eventually the car stopped. At that point, Cherry popped the trunk and escaped, Jones said. A neighbor at the Ardmore Kings Grant apartments called 911.

Eventually, Cherry got on line. “Please send someone to help me,” she said.

If convicted of the murder charge, Crumitie faces a mandatory life in prison without parole. He is also charged with assault, kidnapping and attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of Cherry.

….

How much they [the jury] will hear about Crumitie’s past before making that decision remains unclear.

On Monday, Superior Court Judge Hugh Lewis cleared the way for prosecutors to mention that Crumitie served eight years in prison back in the 1990s for armed robbery and other crimes.

Crumitie also has been physically present or criminally linked to three mysterious shooting deaths over less than a decade – including those of his wife and a former business partner.

In 2005, while Crumitie was a Kannapolis pastor, he was charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Danny Johnson, who operated a flooring company next door to the church. Crumitie spent five years in jail before authorities dropped the charges, saying they lacked the evidence to take the case to trial.

Eight years later, Crumitie was the lone surviving witness to a double homicide inside the garage of his Concord home.

He told police that during an attempted robbery, James Blanks fatally shot Crumitie’s wife, Sharon, then shot Crumitie in the hand before Crumitie wrested the gun away and shot and killed Blanks in self defense. No charges were filed.

At the time of the 2016 shooting, Gretsinger’s family questioned why someone with Crumitie’s background was not in jail.

“It’s shocking. It’s frightening … Why is he out there?” Kim Gretsinger, the victim’s mother, told WCCB the day after the shooting.

In 2018, Crumtie was convicted of these crimes and sentenced to life in prison.

In 2020, Crumtie was charged with the murder of Anastasia Meaders.

Fox-46 reported:

A man who is linked to multiple open cases and has been serving a life sentence for the attempted murder of a Charlotte woman and killing her boyfriend is now charged with murdering her daughter, according to the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office. 

Timothy Lavaun Crumitie, 54, has been charged with the death of Anastasia “Star” Talisha Meaders, whose skeletal remains were found on Jan. 15, 2019. 

Meaders’ remains were located a wooded area off Bridgewater Lane near Mooresville. Over a two-day period, deputies searched the wooded area locating approximately 70 human bones. The bones were taken to North Carolina Baptist Hospital where an autopsy was performed. The cause of death was ruled to be a gunshot wound to the head, deputies said. 

In October 2019, DNA extracted from teeth positively identified the remains as Meaders, who had been reported missing from Charlotte in August of 2016.

Meaders was last seen alive in Charlotte in June 2016. She was 29-years-old at the time of her disappearance, deputies said. Her vehicle, a black 2007 Chevrolet Impala, was located abandoned at Liberty Park in Mooresville in July 2016.

Liberty Park is a few miles from the location on Bridgewater Lane where Meaders’ remains were discovered, deputies said. 

Iredell County Sheriff’s Office detectives interviewed her family members and other witnesses which lead them to a possible suspect, Timothy Lavaun Crumitie.

Through the investigation, detectives determined Crumitie was convicted of the attempted murder of Kimberly Cherry who was Anastasia’s mother, along with the murder of Michael Gretsinger, Cherry’s boyfriend. Crumitie committed these crimes in August 2016 in Mecklenburg County, deputies said. He was convicted in 2018 and is currently serving a life sentence in this case. 

Anastasia Meaders was reported missing during the same time as the attempted murder on her mother, Kimberly Cherry. The last time Meaders was physically seen was June 17, 2016, at a beauty shop in Charlotte, deputies said. 

Phone records indicate Anastasia’s last communication was with a family member on June 24, 2016. Throughout the investigation, detectives were able to gather evidence and statements which indicated Crumitie was the last person to be seen with Meaders.

While gathering information about Crumitie, detectives learned he was the pastor of a church in Concord where he met Kimberly Cherry and Anastasia Meaders. 

In September 1989, Crumitie was arrested for armed robbery in Onslow County. He was convicted of this crime in March 1990. He was released in August 1998 after serving eight years in prison.

In September 2005, Crumitie was arrested for the murder of his business partner, Danny Kaye Johnson in Mecklenburg County. He spent five years in jail and was later released after the case was dismissed.

On July 3, 2013, Concord Police investigated the murder of Sharon Crumitie. Sharon was the wife of Timothy Crumitie at the time. She and a man named, James Blanks where at the scene of a reported robbery at the home of Timothy and Sharon Crumitie. The report says James Blanks was supposedly breaking into the garage of the home when he shot Sharon Crumitie in the head. Timothy Crumitie claimed he then wrestled the gun away from Blanks. During the altercation, Crumitie shot Blanks in the head after sustaining a gunshot wound to the hand.

In December of 2013, Crumitie’s home burnt to the ground. The resulting investigation determined the fire was intentionally set by Crumitie. He was arrested on March 24, 2014, for insurance fraud. In August 2014, Crumitie was arrested for fraudulently burning a dwelling and was convicted in December 2015.

In April of 2016, Crumitie was living with an older woman in Rowan County who died under “questionable circumstances.” Crumitie had befriended the elderly woman, and at some point during their year-long relationship, he became appointed as her power of attorney and executor over her estate.

Timothy Lavaun Crumitie is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Michael Gretsinger and the attempted murder of Kimberly Cherry.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, Crumitie was served with an arrest warrant for the murder of Anastasia Meaders. 

The Statesville Record & Landmark reported:

Timothy Lavaun Crumitie, 54, who is currently serving a life sentence for a murder conviction, has been charged with homicide in the death of Anastasia “Star” Talisha Meaders.

The case follows an investigation that took more than a year and involved a lengthy series of tests to identify the victim.

On Jan. 15, 2019, detectives, deputies and Crime Scene Investigators with the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office responded to a wooded area off Bridgewater Lane near Mooresville in response to a report of human skeletal remains having being located, according to a news release.

A two-day search resulted in 70 human bones being collected. After an autopsy at the North Carolina Baptist Hospital, the cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head. Ten months later, the victim was identified as Meaders. She had been reported as missing in Charlotte in June 2016. She was 29.

Her vehicle had been found at Liberty Park in Mooresville in July of 2016, just a few miles from where her body was later found.

Detectives with the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office interviewed family members, and Crumitie was determined to be a suspect.

Crumitie was previously convicted of the attempted murder of Kimberly Cherry, who was Meaders’ mother, along with the murder of Michael Gretsinger, Cherry’s boyfriend. Crumitie committed these crimes in August of 2016 in Mecklenburg County. He was convicted in 2018 and is currently serving a life sentence, according to a news release.

Meaders was reported missing during the same time as the attempted murder on her mother. The last time Meaders was physically seen was June 17, 2016 at a beauty shop in Charlotte.

Phone records show her last communication was with a family member on June 24, 2016, according to a release. Throughout the investigation, detectives were able to gather evidence and statements which indicated Crumitie was the last person to be seen with Meaders.

While gathering information about Crumitie, detectives learned he was the pastor of a church in Concord, North Carolina, where he met Cherry and Meaders, the release states.

The following details were also outlined in a release from Iredell County Sheriff Campbell:

In April of 2016, Crumitie was living with an older female in Rowan County who died under questionable circumstances. He had befriended the elderly female, and at some point during their year-long relationship, he became appointed as her power of attorney and executor over her estate.

On July 3, 2013 Concord Police Department investigated the murder of Sharon Crumitie, who was the wife of Timothy Crumitie at the time. She and a man named James Banks were at the scene of a reported robbery at the home of Timothy and Sharon Crumitie. The report says James Banks was supposedly breaking into the garage of the home when he shot Sharon Crumitie in the head. Timothy Crumitie claimed he then wrestled the gun away from Banks. During the altercation, Crumitie shot Banks in the head after sustaining a gunshot wound to the hand.

In December of 2013, Crumitie’s home burnt to the ground. The resulting investigation determined the fire was intentionally set by Crumitie. He was arrested on March 24, 2014 on charges related to insurance fraud. In August 2014, Crumitie was arrested for fraudulently burning a dwelling and was convicted in December 2015.

In September 2005, Crumitie was arrested and charged with the murder of his business partner, Danny Daye Johnson, in Mecklenburg County. He spent five years in jail, and was later released after the case was dismissed.

In September 1989, Crumitie was arrested for armed robbery in Onslow County. He was convicted of this crime in March 1990. He was released in August 1998 after serving eight years in prison.

Crumitie is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Michael Gretsinger and the attempted murder of Cherry.

On January 21, Timothy Lavaun Crumitie was served with an arrest warrant on charges related to the murder of Meaders. Crumitie went before Magistrate S. Watkins who issued no bond on this charge.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Black Collar Crime: Presbyterian Music Director William Broyles Murders Wife and Two Children

william broyles

Willian Broyles, a music director at Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, Florida, allegedly murdered his wife, daughter, and one of his sons.

The Florid Times-Union reports:

Saying Wednesday morning’s massacre at a Callahan home “doesn’t make sense,” Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper announced the arrest of William Conway Broyles in the deaths of his wife and two grown children.

Leeper said the 57-year-old suspect called 911 about 7:15 a.m. to notify deputies of what had just occurred at his Deer Run Road home in the Spring Lake Estates community.

“The suspect was lying down in the driveway unarmed, waiting on them,” the sheriff said. “… Later on, he told us that he shot each victim multiple times just to make sure they didn’t suffer.”

His wife, Candace Lynn Broyles, 57, was found dead in the living room. Daughter Cara Lynn Broyles, 27, was shot dead in her bedroom as she was waking up. Son Aaron Christopher Broyles, 28, was killed in his bedroom after his door was broken in, Leeper said.

“He then went back to get another gun, came back and shot his son again,” the sheriff said.

….

“It doesn’t make sense when you look at the whole circumstance of what we believe happened,” Leeper said. “It’s just a senseless act. When he was asked why he just didn’t shoot himself, he said he was too scared to do that, which is crazy.”

The Christian Post adds:

Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church did not immediately respond to calls for comment from The Christian Post on Friday. In a statement on its website, the church urged prayers for the Broyles family. It is unclear where the minister’s other son, Evan Broyles, was at the time of the murders.

“It is with tremendous sadness that I report to you that this Wednesday morning Bill Broyles, our director of music, confessed to shooting his wife and two of his children,” a statement from Pastor Jonathan T. Swanson said.

Leeper said there is no history of any domestic or anger issues in the past with the family.

“Bill has been part of our church staff for 23 years, and this was completely out of character. We mourn this devastating loss to the church, Bill’s remaining family, and the larger community. We ask that you would hold the members of the Broyles family, our church family, and Bill himself in your prayers regarding this tragedy.”

At a virtual bond hearing Thursday, Broyles appeared barefoot and was dressed in a safety smock to prevent suicide attempts. Broyles was charged with three counts of second-degree murder. A judge also denied him bond and ordered him to appear in court again on Dec. 21.

According to his church, Broyles is a trained industrial engineer who, prior to the murders, “worked in the Aerospace and Medical Device industries for many years.”

He was driven by a passion for music as well, and, according to the church, “believes that music was created by God for His Glory and that the church stands as a witness to the grace and lordship of Jesus when our music glorifies Him in worship and life.”

In an archived page on the church’s website, Broyles was further described as: “[H]appily married for 30 years to Candace and they have three children, sons Evan and Aaron and daughter Cara, along [with] three crazy Corgi pups. In his free time, Bill enjoys all types of outdoor activities, reworking older cars, and home and garden projects.”

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Jim Bakker Says Democrats Might Assassinate President Trump

jim and tammy faye bakker

This political fight that is going on in America is going to bring America apart, America is going to come apart. I believe there is such a hatred for our president, and I will say this and you may say I shouldn’t but I’m going to say it: if they [Democrats/Liberals] can’t get him out by courts and politically and put him in prison somehow, they want him to go to prison, they’re applauding now for Trump to go to prison—they will kill him if they have to.

—  Jim Bakker, Newsweek, Conservative Televangelist Jim Bakker Says Democrats Will Kill Trump If Impeachment Fails, November 18, 2019

Janice’s Cruel God, Yet She Loves Him Still

i love jesusSeveral days ago, the local newspaper reported that a police officer under investigation for perjury was dead. While the cause of death has not yet been released, rumor abounds to its cause. His death is currently under investigation by law enforcement and the county coroner’s office. [update: his death was ruled a suicide, death by a single gunshot to the head] Regardless of the cause of death, this man died way too young, leaving behind his wife, two married children, and his mother. It’s his mother I want to focus on with this post.

Janice — not her real name — attended a non-denominational Evangelical church I pastored in West Unity from 1997-2002. Janice was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Every time the doors of the church were open, she was there. Any time we needed help in a particular ministry, Janice volunteered. She was what I call a one-percenter; the one-percent of church members who do ninety-nine percent of the work. Every church has a few Janices, and without them, the church would grind to a halt.

Janice’s husband, while a faithful attendee, was not as committed as she was. He was what I called a good-old-boy, a congregant who always had a story to tell, even if most of the tales were lies. Several years ago, Janice’s husband died of cancer. I believe he was 60 years old when he died. Janice remarried — her fourth. Today, she actively continues to serve Jesus with her new husband at a nearby Evangelical church.

During the seven years I was privileged to be Janice’s pastor, she went through three traumatic events.

I met Janice for the first time at a local restaurant which she and her husband operated. The restaurant was a greasy spoon and, thanks to its low ceiling, was often filled with cigarette smoke. This was in the days before No Smoking laws went into effect in Ohio. The smoke was so pervasive that after eating there, your clothing had the distinct odor of burning cigarettes (and greasy food). After Janice and her husband started attending our church, she asked if I could advise them about their business. She knew I had a business background, and had managed several fast-food and full-service restaurants. It didn’t take me long to figure out that Janice and her husband were drowning in debt with no way out. Owning a restaurant was Janice’s dream. Sadly, it was left to me to destroy her dream. No matter how I worked the numbers, it was clear that the restaurant would continue to lose money. Worse yet, Janice had stopped paying business and payroll taxes in the hope that the business would turn around. I finally told Janice that there was no possible way her business could survive, that throwing more money at it was a waste. This broke Janice’s heart, but I think she knew, deep down, that I was right. Several months later, she closed the restaurant.

One evening after church, I heard the office phone ring. Janice answered the phone. It was her youngest son, calling to say that he had just murdered his girlfriend while she worked at a nearby convenience store. In a fit of rage over being dumped, her son butchered his ex-girlfriend with a knife, leaving her young son motherless. Janice ran into the auditorium and asked for my help. I told her that her son needed to turn himself in before the police arrested him. I went with her to where her son was hiding and encouraged him to go to the sheriff’s office and surrender. He did and later pleaded guilty. Janice’s raised-in-church son is currently serving a life sentence in an Ohio penitentiary.

Janice had one daughter who loved Jesus, but loved having a good time too. She was quite the character, and would frequent our church off and on. Not long after getting married, Janice’s daughter came down with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She died ever so slowly, finally succumbing to the disease in her 20s. I had the sad privilege of performing her funeral.

And now, her son is dead. Four marriages, a failed business, a dead husband, two dead children, and a child behind bars for life. Yet, despite all of these things, Janice still lovingly and blindly worships, serves, and follows Jesus. (The day of and days after her son’s death, her Facebook wall was littered with dozens of memes extolling the wonders of Jesus.)  And for the life of me, I can’t understand why. Yes, Jesus supposedly saved Janice from her sins and promised her a mansion in Heaven after she died, but outside of that, her God has been a piss-poor father, friend, and lover. What is it, exactly, that God has done for Janice? Look at all she had suffered in this life. Yet, despite the abuse, she loves Him still.

Perhaps, believing in God and holding onto his promises is what helps Janice get through life. If so, I get it. That said, I want to scream, JANICE, LOOK AT YOUR LIFE! WHERE IS GOD? From my seat in the atheist pew, it’s clear the “friend that sticks closer than a brother” abandoned Janice long ago; that the deity — much like an abusive husband — who says “I love you” is a violent abuser; that Janice’s Heavenly Father is a child abuser, and is unworthy of her love, commitment, and devotion.

I am sure Janice hopes for great reward in Heaven after she dies. Sadly, what she won’t know is that her suffering came from the cruel roll of fate’s dice; that sometimes shit happens to good people; that time spent hoping and expecting God to come through is a fool’s errand. I wish Janice nothing but the best in the years that lie ahead. I wish most of all that she would tell her abusive deity to fuck off and spend her remaining days enjoying life without thoughts of worship, devotion, and commitment. Sadly, I suspect Janice will ride her God’s black train until the end.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Bruce Gerencser