A white family of four has been arrested and charged in the brutal murder of two black men in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, but the double murder had nothing to do with race, so says the prosecutor in the case.
Ramon Smith and Jarron Moreland, both 21, were shot to death last month, dismembered, and their remains were dumped in a pond.
On April 18, four days after the victims were reported missing, police arrested 16-year-old brother, Brett Boettler, who is believed to be the shooter, his 22-year-old bother, Kevin Garcia-Boettler, and his mother’s boyfriend, 43-year-old Johnny Shane Barker. The mom, 40-year-old Crystal Rachelle Boettler, was also arrested and charged as an accessory to the heinous homicide.
According to reports, Garcia-Boettler drove his brother to meet with Moreland to buy a gun that was advertised on Craigslist. It’s unclear if the victims willingly entered the suspect’s van or were forced inside. Nonetheless, both men were killed during the meet-up.
Witnesses reported that after the shooting Moreland was slumped over and may have been pulled in the van before it drove away.
“When [Moreland and Smith] entered the vehicle, the white men said they heard a gun being racked, so one of them fired rounds,” said Sgt. Jeremy Lewis of the Moore Police Department.
The brothers reportedly told authorities that after killing the victims, they were scared and called their mother who told them to drive to a nearby residence where Barker helped dispose of the bodies, as well as clean out the van.
Police found “cleaning products and a power washer around the vehicle,” in addition to “dried blood spatter on the ceiling of the van,” a chainsaw bar soaking in a bucket of water,” along with several jigsaw blades,” according to court documents reported by Oklahoma's KFOR. Pliers, and a hatchet were also found.
When Moreland and Smith’s bodies were recovered from a pond, they had been stripped, dismembered, and chained to cinder blocks, the Associated Press reports.
While the murders are being called a “modern day lynching” (which doesn’t mean that the victims were physically lynched but that the gruesome slaying is a “modern day” version of lynchings of black men and women throughout the country), Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn explored the possibility of a hate crime, but concluded that “the evidence absolutely shows that this was not racially motivated."
Boettler is being held on $5 million bond and faces two counts of second-degree murder, unlawful removal of a dead body, desecration of a human corpse and felony firearm possession. His brother faces felony accessory to murder after the fact, and unlawful removal of a dead body. Barker faces the same charges as well as desecration of a human corpse, while his girlfriend faces one count of an accessory to second-degree murder.
Barker and Garcia-Boettler are being held on $3 million bond. They are expected to appear in court later this month.