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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, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

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.

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, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

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.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor David Evans Murdered by His Wife and Her Lover

pastor david evans

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.

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 reports:

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.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

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: 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.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

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 fifty-six 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 nosiness 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?

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.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Black Collar Crime: Orthodox Presbyterian John Earnest Shoots Up Jewish Synagogue

john earnest

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.

John Earnest is a committed member of Escondido Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Escondido, California.  The Calvinistic church is affiliated with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) — a Fundamentalist denomination. Earnest’s father in an elder in the Escondido church. On April 27, 2019, John Earnest entered a Jewish synagogue and opened fire, killing one worshiper and wounding several others.

CNN reports:

John T. Earnest, the accused synagogue shooter, may have summed it up best himself.

“If you told me even 6 months ago that I would do this I would have been surprised,” he allegedly wrote in an online manifesto before last weekend’s attack on the Chabad synagogue near San Diego.

On Tuesday, Earnest entered a not guilty plea in court. Wearing glasses and dark blue jail-issued clothes, the 19-year-old was assigned a public defender as he faces one count of murder, a count of arson of a house of worship and three counts of attempted murder.

He will be held without bail while investigators, family and friends continue to piece together Earnest’s baffling, and seemingly sudden, departure from the world he once knew.

How, and when, they wonder, did the piano playing, academic overachiever from a churchgoing family of lifeguards, go so wrong?

“How our son was attracted to such darkness is a terrifying mystery to us,” Earnest’s family wrote in a statement released this week. They said their son’s “actions were informed by people we do not know, and ideas we do not hold.”

Former classmates also say they were perplexed by the turn of events. The Earnest in court Tuesday is unrecognizable from the high school boy they knew two years ago.

Back then he was known as the guy who was so smart that he didn’t bother to take notes in advanced chemistry and physics, but still aced every exam; so quiet that some teachers were startled when he spoke.

“I walked the same hallways as this guy, read the same textbooks, drove around the same areas, and essentially had the same upbringing,” one student posted on the online forum Reddit, “but he became a murderer?”

….

According to law enforcement officials, Earnest used an “AR-type assault weapon” to shoot the victims. Prosecutors told a judge Tuesday that Earnest donned a tactical vest and helmet during the attack and had extra magazines of ammunition with him. The shooting, they said, was captured on video and abruptly ended when either his gun jammed or he was unable to reload. He fled the scene and called 911 on himself, making statements about the incident that San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan described as “consistent with the charges.”

….

In the online manifesto, Earnest allegedly wrote he was inspired by an attacker who killed scores of people at a New Zealand mosque and Islamic center on March 15. The teen said he conceived of and executed his own assault within a month. The assault on the synagogue was April 27.

The manifesto reflects a long-simmering, extreme hatred of Jews. His expletive-filled rant refers to Jews as degenerative, genocidal, ugly, cursed and corrupt. He blames the Jews for a multitude of what he considers societal problems, from communism to pornography. He added bigoted and racist comments about many other ethnicities, religions and races.

Earnest brags of what he calls his European ancestry — his “magnificent bloodline.” He claims that his violence is condoned by his Christianity. He rails against law enforcement. He lists Adolf Hitler as one of his inspirations.

The teenager’s family said they were disgusted by his actions, writing in their statement, “He has killed and injured the faithful who were gathered in a sacred place on a sacred day. To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries.”

The Washington Post adds:

Before he allegedly walked into a synagogue in Poway, Calif., and opened fire, John Earnest appears to have written a seven-page letter spelling out his core beliefs: that Jewish people, guilty in his view of faults ranging from killing Jesus to controlling the media, deserved to die. That his intention to kill Jews would glorify God.

Days later, the Rev. Mika Edmondson read those words and was stunned. “It certainly calls for a good amount of soul-searching,” said Edmondson, a pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, a small evangelical denomination founded to counter liberalism in mainline Presbyterianism. Earnest, 19, was a member of an OPC congregation. His father was an elder. He attended regularly. And in the manifesto, the writer spewed not only invective against Jews and racial minorities but also cogent Christian theology.

So the pastor read those seven pages, trying to understand. “We can’t pretend as though we didn’t have some responsibility for him — he was radicalized into white nationalism from within the very midst of our church,” Edmondson said.

Earnest’s actions on Saturday in Poway — where he allegedly killed one Jewish worshiper and injured a rabbi, a child and another synagogue-goer — have spurred debate among evangelical pastors about the role of a certain stream of Christian theology in shaping the young man’s worldview, which allegedly turned deadly on the last day of the Passover holiday.

Christian leaders across denominations condemned the attack, saying violence against others and white supremacy are completely antithetical to Christian beliefs. “Anti-Semitism and racist hatred which apparently motivated the shooter . . . have no place within our system of doctrine,” the OPC denomination said in a statement.

But while some said Earnest’s background in the church has nothing to do with his alleged crime, and the church shouldn’t have to answer for him, others called for a moment of reckoning.

Some drew comparisons to Muslim communities asked to account for terrorist actions and worried that they could be in the same position when the shooter claims to be a faithful Christian.

“When there’s an act of ‘radical Islamic terror’ — somebody claiming they’re motivated by their Islamic faith — if we’re going to call upon moderates in Muslim communities to condemn those things, we should do the same. I wholeheartedly, full stop, condemn white nationalism,” said Chad Woolf, an evangelical pastor in Fort Myers, Fla., who was one of the first to join in heated debate online about how the attack reflects on evangelicalism. “We should recognize that somebody could grow up in an evangelical church, whose father was a leader, and could somehow conflate the teachings of Christianity and white nationalism. We should be very concerned about that.”

Earnest could face the death penalty, if convicted.

For further information

National Review article

San Diego Tribune article

Terry Mattingly article

 

 

Black Collar Crime: Baptist CFO Roy McClendon-Thompson Accused of Embezzlement and Murder

roy mcclendon thompson

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.

Roy McClendon-Thompson,  the chief financial officer for Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, was arrested weeks ago and charged with embezzling over $100,000 from the church. McClendon-Thompson was released on a $15,000 bond. On April 8, McClendon-Thompson shot and killed his alleged lover, 45-year-old James Curtis Jones. Later that same day, with police in hot pursuit, McClendon-Thompson crashed into a dump truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Black Collar Crime: Pastor Masimba Chirayi Accused of Murdering Woman, Thinking She was a Vampire

arrested

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.

Masimba Chirayi, a pastor with the Jowane Masowe Chishanu sect in Zimbabwe, stands accused of murdering church member Wendy Thinnamay Masuka. Over the weekend, while baptizing Masuka in a nearby river, Chirayi drowned the woman, thinking she was a “vampire possessed by demons.” According to New ZImbabwe, Chirayi thought Masuska was going to kill people, so he held her under water until he overpowered her (Greek for she stopped breathing).

Chirayi’s bail has been set at $50.

Unfamiliar with the Jowane Masowe Chishanu sect? You can find more information here and here.

Bruce Gerencser