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Update: 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 February 28, 2018, Florida Times-Union report about Hyde’s case here.

In April 2022, 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.

On January 4, 2023, Hyde pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of child porn and was designated a sexual offender. Hyde was sentenced to seven years in prison, which will run concurrently with his murder sentence.

News 4 reports:

Ronnie Hyde, who was convicted last year of killing 16-year-old Fred Laster, pleaded guilty Wednesday in the possession of child pornography case against him, according to Duval County court records.

Court records show Hyde, 66, pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of child porn and was designated a sexual offender.

Hyde, a former youth pastor, was sentenced to seven years in prison, and that sentence will run concurrently with his life sentence for his conviction in the murder of Laster, whose dismembered remains were found in 1994 behind a Columbia County gas station.

Hyde’s attorney successfully lobbied for the child pornography charges to be tried separately. Hyde had originally been charged with 25 counts of possession of child porn.

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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Abraham and Isaac: God Has a Right to Command You to Kill Your Child and Faith Demands You Do It

abraham sacrificing isaac

Years ago, Petrus Klopper, a writer for the Isaiah 53:5 Project and Solid Rock Apologetics, attempted to answer the question, How could God command Abraham to kill his son? I say “attempted,” because Klopper miserably failed at his task, just as every other Christian apologist has failed when attempting to do the same. According to Klopper, God had every right to ask Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Notice that I used the word “sacrifice,” not “kill,” as Klopper did in his title. God, in no uncertain terms, asked Abraham to put his only son Isaac on an altar and sacrifice him. Someone is sure to ask, “don’t the words sacrifice and kill mean the same thing”? Yes and no, and I will demonstrate Klopper’s sleight of hand in a moment by using the word sacrifice.

For those not schooled in the mystical stories of the Christian Bible, here’s the text, Genesis 22:1-13, that tells the story of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac:

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

According to seventeenth-century Baptist theologian John Gill, God commanded Abraham to:

… offer him (Isaac)  there for a burnt offering; this was dreadful work he was called to, and must be exceeding trying to him as a man, and much more as a parent, and a professor of the true religion, to commit such an action; for by this order he was to cut the throat of his son, then to rip him up, and cut up his quarters, and then to lay every piece in order upon the wood, and then burn all to ashes; and this he was to do as a religious action, with deliberation, seriousness, and devotion… (John Gill Commentary, E-Sword)

According to eighteenth-century Anglican cleric John Wesley, God wanted Abraham to not only kill his son, but also offer him as a burnt sacrifice. Wesley wrote:

…offer him (Isaac) for a burnt offering – He must not only kill his son, but kill him as a sacrifice, with all that sedateness and composedness of mind, with which he used to offer his burnt – offering. (John Wesley Commentary, E-Sword)

Eighteenth-century theologian Matthew Henry, chiming in agreement with Gill and Wesley wrote:

 …offer him (Isaac) for a burnt-offering. He must not only kill his son, but kill him as a sacrifice, kill him devoutly, kill him by rule, kill him with all that pomp and ceremony, with all that sedateness and composure of mind, with which he used to offer his burnt-offerings. (Matthew Henry Commentary, E-Sword)

Nineteenth-century Presbyterian theologian Albert Barnes called Abraham’s potential sacrifice of Isaac a “human sacrifice.” Recognizing the moral issue raised by human sacrifice, Barnes writes:

The only solution of this, is what the ease itself actually presents; namely, the divine command. It is evident that the absolute Creator has by right entire control over his creatures. He is no doubt bound by his eternal rectitude to do no wrong to his moral creatures. But the creature in the present case has forfeited the life that was given, by sin. And, moreover, we cannot deny that the Almighty may, for a fit moral purpose, direct the sacrifice of a holy being, who should eventually receive a due recompense for such a degree of voluntary obedience. (Albert Barnes Commentary, E-Sword)

Based on the aforementioned references, we can conclude that God, as a test, commanded Abraham to take his only son Isaac to Mount Moriah, and kill him so he could be offered as a human burnt sacrifice to God.

Klopper makes clear in his post that there are three things God is NOT doing in this story:

  • God was not tempting Abraham
  • God was not instituting or condoning child sacrifice
  • God was not telling Abraham to do wrong

Christian apologists like Klopper will go to great lengths to justify God’s command to sacrifice Isaac. Klopper used the word kill in the post title because he doesn’t want readers to confuse what God is asking Abraham to do with human sacrifice. However, it is clear from the text that the human sacrifice of Isaac is EXACTLY what God is asking Abraham to do.

Is Isaac human? Yes. Does Abraham build an altar to be used for sacrifices? Yes? Did Abraham place Isaac on the altar, preparing to offer him as a human sacrifice to God? Yes. Does Abraham implicitly obey God’s command to sacrifice his son? Yes. Then, pray tell, how is what God commands Abraham to do NOT child sacrifice? Any fair and honest reading of the text shows that God clearly intended for Abraham to kill (murder) his son as a flesh and blood sacrifice.

Similar stories can be found in other tribal cultures, and Evangelicals are quick to label these stories as murderous and barbaric. Evidently, according to Evangelicals, there is some sort of difference between stories of human/child sacrifices to false deities, and the God/Abraham/Isaac story. Try as I might, I can’t find the difference.

Klopper, perhaps realizing that his this is not child sacrifice argument is intellectually vacuous and lame, goes on to say that God is not commanding Abraham to do wrong. Really? In what universe is child/human sacrifice not wrong? Every civilized society in the world condemns child/human sacrifice. Even atheists consider such murderous actions wrong. Yet, somehow, according to Klopper, God asking Abraham to slice, dice, and sauté his son is not, in any way, wrong.

Klopper makes one final argument which, according to his Fundamentalist-infused mind, should silence every critic. It is the one argument, next to faith, that Christians will turn to when no other argument will work: God is God and he has a right to do/command whatever he wants to. Klopper states his argument this way:

God has the right to take human life and could therefore authorize Abraham to do so in a particular case. Note that had Abraham decided of his own accord to sacrifice Isaac, he would have been wrong and his act would have been condemned by God (as were other human-initiated sacrifices).

According to Exodus 20, murder is a sin. Thou shalt not kill, right? But, according to Klopper, if God authorizes (commands) someone to commit murder (human sacrifice) then it is okay. Hmm, so then, Christians who have, in the past, said that God commanded them to kill their children or spouse, these murderous behaviors are okay, right? I’m sure that Klopper will object to my line of inquiry, but is this not exactly what he is saying? Or is he making a distinction between murderous stories in the Bible and those found on page one of the newspaper? Evidently, if a God-sanctioned murder is recorded by an unknown author in a so-called divine religious text, that makes the slaying moral. However, if a devout twenty-first-century Christian — a person we can see and talk to — says and does the same, it is not a God-approved murder. This makes “perfect” sense to me.

human sacrifice
Comic by Scott Maynard

Surely we can all agree that a God, ANY God, commanding someone to commit murder is wrong. It matters not whether it is Abraham or Victoria Soliz, a woman who tried to drown her 3-year-old son in a puddle because Jesus told her to do so. While Evangelicals will attempt to make a distinction between God speaking to Abraham and God speaking to someone like Soliz, there is no difference between the two. Both are hearing voices in their heads that are telling them to murder their child. And hearing voices in one’s head commanding immoral, unethical, or dangerous acts is always a sure sign of mental distress or illness. Despite knowing this, Klopper is determined to present Abraham as a great man of faith who was willing to do whatever God commanded him to do.

It is too bad that Klopper is boxed in by his belief that the Bible is an inspired, inerrant text. Such a belief requires Klopper to accept the Abraham/Isaac/human-sacrifice story as factual history. While Klopper does make numerous spiritual applications from the Genesis 22 text in his post, he is hamstrung by the requirement to accept the text as history. Jews, on the other hand, treat this text as an allegory or a metaphor. They understand, along with everyone else except Evangelicals, that no one in his or her right mind should accept Abraham sacrificing Isaac as literal truth.

And here’s the thing, IF Abraham had actually murdered Isaac, twenty-first-century Evangelical preachers would be preaching sermons about Abraham’s great faith and his willingness to explicitly obey God, even if it meant murdering his own son. Praise Jesus!! (And how is this any different from the Muslim who believes God is commanding him to kill in Allah’s name?)

Let me be clear, any deity who demands his followers to murder as a test of obedience is not a deity worthy of our worship.

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.

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Did I Try to Murder My Father’s Wife?

bruce gerencser arizona 1975 (1)
Bruce Gerencser, 1975, Sierra Vista, Arizona

Several weeks ago, Evangelical troll Victor Justice shockingly alleged that I tried to murder my father’s wife. Is Justice right?

In April 1972, my Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) parents divorced after fifteen years of marriage. I was fourteen. Both of them remarried several months later. Mom married her first cousin, a recent parolee from the Texas prison system. Dad married a nineteen-year-old girl with a toddler. Dad had met her at the local dirt track — Millstream Speedway — where she was the trophy girl.

My younger sister and I lived with Dad after the divorce. My younger brother lived with Mom for a time, though a few months later he returned home due to the danger and volatility in Mom’s home. We would, over the next four years, move between Dad’s and Mom’s homes as children of divorced parents often do. From the time of their divorce in 1972 to when I went to college in 1976, I lived with Dad three times for about twenty-six months, and with Mom three times for the balance of the time, save for living my eleventh-grade year with a family in the church we were attending when Mom and Dad divorced. I was living with Mom when I left for Midwestern Baptist College in August 1976.

Dad brought his new wife into our home, thinking that she would become our new mother. While I cannot speak for my siblings, I can say that this was a gross miscalculation on my father’s part. I didn’t need a new mother, I already had one. She was nineteen and I was almost fifteen. In three years, I would be in a serious relationship with a woman her age. (Please see 1975: Anita, My First Love.) There was no chance that she could EVER be my mother. As a result, we never bonded. This led to an adversarial relationship between us. She was thrilled when I moved home to Ohio to live with my mom; but not so thrilled when I moved back.

In March 1972, Dad abruptly informed my siblings and me that we were moving to Tucson, Arizona. We had no say in the matter. Overnight, Dad had our household goods auctioned off, packed up his two cars, and moved us in the night to Tucson. After arriving in Tucson, I learned that the real reason that we moved is that Dad had creditors chasing him — a scenario I experienced most of my young life. Dad was a wheeler dealer and could be, at times, a con man. As a district manager for Combined Insurance Company, Dad embezzled $10,000. Dad was investigated by the ATF for illegal firearm sales, and was even investigated by the FBI as a possible suspect in a bank robbery (which was unfounded). Throw in unpaid rent, utilities, and other debts, and life was definitely “interesting” for the Gerencser children. When people ask me if I moved a lot growing up because of Dad’s job, I reply, no, we moved all the time because Dad didn’t pay the rent.

After settling into our new home in Tucson, I set about carving out a new life in the desert. During the week, I was a tenth-grade student at Rincon High School. This was the first school where I experienced racial diversity. On Sundays and Wednesdays nights, I walked to the Tucson Baptist Temple to attend services. Neither my father, his wife, nor my siblings attended church. I tried to avoid interaction with my dad’s wife, but conflict was inevitable.

bruce gerencser arizona 1975 (2)
Bruce Gerencser, 1975, Sierra Vista, Arizona

One Sunday, I came home from church and walked into our home. Dad was working on Speedway Boulevard selling carpet. His wife and I had words. I don’t remember what the issue was. It didn’t matter. We always had words. All of a sudden, my dad’s wife picked up a leather belt and hit me in the face. I retaliated by picking her up and throwing her into a cement block wall, knocking her out. I left her lying on the floor and walked to where dad worked and told him what happened. He rushed home and took his wife to the hospital. She had a fractured back.

I could have been arrested for assault. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Neither my dad’s wife nor I talked about the incident afterward. Both of us understood we were wrong to do what we did. Our relationship changed after that. We both stayed away from each other. A couple of months later, I moved back to my mom’s home in Bryan, Ohio. By the time I returned to Arizona in November 1974, Dad and his wife had moved to Sierra Vista. I spent very little time at home, busying myself with my job as a stock clerk for Food Giant, church three times a week and working a bus route on Sundays, and roaming southeast Arizona with my girlfriend. I also worked part-time at my dad’s gun store and manned Dad’s table at various gun shows. My life was busy, which was good, since it meant I spent very little time with Dad’s wife.

In the fall of 1975, I moved back to my mom’s home. Outside of my marriage to Polly in 1978, I would not see or speak to Dad’s wife again. We had a brief email exchange in the early 2000s, but I have no recollection of what we talked about.

Was it wrong for me to throw my dad’s wife into a block wall? Absolutely. I am grateful that I didn’t end up in jail. All of us do dumb things; things that can have catastrophic consequences. On my dad’s wife’s part, hitting me in the face with a belt was child abuse or assault. What happened was the result of a hostile relationship driven by anger. Both of us were lucky to avoid the consequences of our behavior.

Did I intend to murder my dad’s wife? Of course not, and it is absurd to suggest otherwise. Could my actions have caused her death? Absolutely. That’s what happens when anger and rage take over. When passions are enflamed, anything is possible. I visited numerous murderers in local and state prisons. Most of their crimes had a flash point. One boy killed his dad over an argument they had; another killed his friend with a shotgun because they had a disagreement over who should pay for a pizza. We humans can do awful things when sense and rationality go out the window. If I learned one thing it is this: when you find yourself angry or enraged with someone, walk away. Don’t put yourself in a position where something tragic could happen.

An attempted murderer I am not. There was a time when I was a young, temperamental boy who was placed in living situations that were challenging and difficult. The adults in my life were, for the most part, AWOL, leaving me to fend for myself. Even my pastors paid very little attention to what was going on in my life. That’s life, is it not? That’s why it is crucial that children have loving parents who are there for them. Not helicopters, but a guiding presence as they navigate life. My parents were broken from the start, as was their marriage. They did what they could, but their dysfunction had real-world consequences in the lives of their children. I have made peace with my past, and have tried my best to be a good husband, father, and grandfather. Without a doubt, I have failed many times. All I know to do is learn from my past and do better today.

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: 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.

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: 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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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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, 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

Bruce Gerencser