Monday, April 8, 2019

List Series: 10 Cases of Friendships Turned Fatal

I've written about a lot of cases on my Tumblr blog about victims who were killed by their friends. This sort of betrayal is always shocking and devastating; but unfortunately it likely occurs far more often that we realize. Below is a list of some of my top cases of friendships turned fatal. Links to the detailed write-ups of the case can be found as well.

10. Joshua Rose, Preston Layfield, Amanda Wayda & Tyler Mirabelli.
Joshua Rose (left), Preston Layfield (top right), Amanda Wayda (center right) and Tyler Mirabelli (bottom right)

21 year-old Joshua Rose spent the day of August 25th, 2016 at a friend’s house in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was using heroin inside the home, along with his friend Preston Layfield (20) and his ex-girlfriend Amanda Layda (20). At some point, Joshua fell unconscious, and his friends began to fear that he overdosed. Amanda called another friend, Tyler Mirabelli (22) and asked him to help them take Joshua to the hospital. The trio got Joshua into Tyler’s car, but for unclear reasons they drove straight past the hospital instead of stopping for help. Instead, they put a plastic bag over Joshua’s head, and then Preston strangled him to death. The trio later dumped Joshua’s body in Susquehanna county. Eventually, though, the trio was apprehended and they eventually all pleaded guilty to third-degree murder. All three are currently incarcerated. [read more]

9. Mike Williams & Brian Winchester.
From left to right: Denise Williams, Mike Williams, and Brian Winchester
During the year 2000, Mike’s wife Denise Williams was secretly involved in an affair with Mike’s best friend, Brian Winchester. Denise and Brian wanted to be together, but Denise refused to divorce Mike because she wanted to “keep up appearances”. The two eventually decided that, in order to be together, Mike would have to die. Together, they plotted a plan for Brian to murder Mike so Denise could collect his insurance policy and then eventually marry Brian. 

On December 16th, 2000, Brian took Mike duck hunting at Lake Seminole in Tallahassee, Florida. At some point, he pushed Mike into the lake in hopes that his waders would cause him to sink and drown. After being pushed in, Mike was actually able to escape from his waders, so Brian eventually ended up panicking and shooting him in the head. When Mike was later reported missing, investigators were lead to believe that he fell out of his boat and was eaten by gators. 

For nearly 16 years, Denise and Brian were able to keep what really happened to Mike a secret. By 2016, Denise and Brian were separated and Denise actually had Brian arrested for kidnapping after he held Denise at gunpoint and forced her to drive around. While in custody, Brian ultimately confessed to his and Denise’s role in Mike’s death. Brian was given immunity in exchange for his cooperation in the investigation, but he remains behind bars on the kidnapping charges. Denise was arrested in May 2018. In December 2018, Denise was found guilty for her role in Mike’s death. [read more]

8. Christian Aguilar & Pedro Bravo
Left: Christian Aguilar and Erika Friman in 2012. Right: Erika Friman and Pedro Bravo in 2011.
Christian Aguilar (18) was murdered by his longtime friend Pedro Bravo (18) on September 20th, 2012. The murder was fueled by Pedro’s jealousy of Christian’s relationship with Erika Friman (18). Erika had actually dated Pedro for years during high school, but they broke up once Erika moved to Miami for college. Christian also moved to Miami for college, and the two sparked up a romantic relationship. Pedro was depressed over his breakup with Erika and decided that he, too, would move to Miami to attend college. Christian and Erika attempted to hide their relationship from Pedro, as they were aware of his depression and they did not want to worsen it. However, Erika and Christina were unaware that Pedro had already found out about their relationship.

On the afternoon of September 20th, 2012, Pedro asked Christian to meet up so they could buy video games. The were spotted at a local Wal-Mart that afternoon, but Christian never returned back to his college campus and was never seen or heard from again. When questioned, Pedro initially told police that he confronted Christian about his relationship with Erika while driving home from Wal-Mart. Pedro told police that a fight ensued, and Pedro ended up punching Christian in the face before leaving him on the side of the road. Pedro was then arrested and charged with depriving a crime victim of medical care.

As police continued to investigate Pedro, they found a journal in which he had written about his desire for Christian to be gone so he could reunite with Erika. Investigators also discovered that Pedro purchased duct tape and a shovel the day before he met up with Christian; suggesting that he planned to harm him. Pedro’s charges were upgraded to murder after that, and Christian’s remains were found in a wooded area shortly thereafter. Pedro went to trial in August 2014, and a jury ultimately convicted him. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. [read more] [case also featured on season 2 of ID's See No Evil]

7. Adrianne Reynolds, Sarah Kolb & Cory Gregory
Adrianne Reynolds (left), Sarah Kolb (top right), and Cory Gregory (bottom left)
Adrianne Reynolds (16) was killed by her friends Sarah Kolb (16) and Cory Gregory (17) on January 21st, 2005. The three teens lived in East Moline, Illinois at the time. Adrianne was new to that area; she had just moved there in November 2004 when she moved in with her father. Sarah and Cory had already been friends for about a year at that point--in fact, Cory harbored romantic feelings for Sarah. However, Sarah identified as a lesbian. When Sarah and Cory met Adrianne in November 2004, Sarah immediately knew she wanted to pursue her. Adrianne returned the romantic feelings, and the two began to send flirtatious notes to one another. Their relationship began to sour, though, when Sarah and Adrianne attended a party together and Adrianne reportedly became intimate with two of their male classmates. Sarah was no longer interested in Adrianne romantically or as a friend. Adrianne, on the other hand, did not want to lose her one of her closest friendships she had formed since moving to East Moline. She continually tried to make amends with Sarah, but Sarah continued to brush her off. 

Adrianne then began to pursue a stronger friendship with Cory, which infuriated Sarah. On the day of Adrianne's murder, Sarah invited Adrianne to lunch with her and Cory under the guise of repairing their friendship. Unfortunately, Sarah had other plans in mind. Once they arrived in the Taco Bell parking lot, a physical fight ensued between the two girls. Cory intervened, but only to help Sarah. He ultimately held Adrianne down as Sarah strangled her to death. Both were eventually arrested on murder charges. Sarah is currently serving a 53 year sentence, while Cory is serving a 45 year sentence. [read more]

6. Jaray Wilson, Tucker McGee & Cody Godfrey
Jaray Wilson (left), Tucker McGee (top right), and Cody Godfrey (bottom right)
Jaray Wilson (16) was killed by her friend Tucker McGee (18) on October 14th, 2012.  That afternoon, Tucker was hanging out with their mutual friend Cody Godfrey (18) in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Jaray reportedly called Tucker in the evening and asked him if he could pick her up in Hydro and give her a ride back to Weatherford. Tucker agreed, but according to Cody, Tucker spoke poorly of Jaray during the entire drive to Hydro. Tucker reportedly thought that Jaray was annoying because she "would not stop talking about her problems." Before arriving to pick Jaray up, Tucker revealed that he had a gun with him and he suggested killing Jaray--but Cody reportedly thought he was joking. 

Tucker and Cody eventually arrived in Hydro, and Jaray got into the car with them.  The three eventually stopped to smoke synthetic marijuana. After that, they spent the next two and a half hours chatting. Towards the end of the night, while Jaray was distracted by her phone, Tucker pulled out his gun and shot Jaray in the head. Then, Tucker and Cody hid Jaray's body before returning to the scene with their friend Caleb McElmore the following day to move her body to a separate location.

Jaray's family members reported her missing after she failed to return home on October 14th. Investigators initially believed Jaray had been trafficked, as she was telling people prior to her disappearance that she was afraid of being sold into trafficking in order to repay a drug debt to a local dealer. However, that man was eventually questioned and cleared. In December 2013, Cody finally confessed to police that Tucker killed Jaray and that he and Caleb helped cover up the crime. He eventually lead authorities to the remains, and all three men were arrested. On March 4th, 2015, a jury found Tucker guilty of first-degree murder in Jaray’s case. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Shortly after, both Caleb and Cody pled guilty to accessory after the fact. Caleb was sentenced to 10 years, while Cody was given a suspended sentence. [read more]

5. Brittney Gargol & Cheyenne Antoine
Cheyenne Antoine (left) and Brittney Gargol (right) 
Brittney Gargol and Cheyenne Antoine were both 18 years old when Cheyenne strangled Brittney to death on March 24th, 2015. The two girls snapped the above selfie together that evening before going out to a few bars in Saskatoon, Canada. The following morning, police found Brittney's body on the side of the road in the outskirts of town. She had been strangled to death. Cheyenne denied involvement in Brittney's death, and claimed that the two of them separated that night after Brittney left the bar with an unidentified man. 

Two years into the investigation, detectives came across the above image that both Brittney and Cheyenne posted in Facebook on March 24th, 2015. At this post, the detectives noticed that Cheyenne was wearing the same belt that found near Brittney's body--and was ultimately used to strangle Brittney to death. Cheyenne was arrested and charged with Brittney's murder at that point, though she maintained that she had no memory of the event. However, a friend of Cheyenne's told police that Cheyenne admitted that she snapped at hit/strangled Brittney just days after it occurred. She accepted a plea deal, and pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Cheyenne is currently serving a seven-year sentence. [read more]

4. Kayla VanWert & Cathleen Boyer

Kayla VanWert (left) and Cathleen Boyer (right)
Kayla VanWert (18) and Cathleen Boyer (16) were friends from the town of Scranton, Pennsylvania. The two were close up until 2016 when Kayla began to suspect that her boyfriend/father of her child Jorge DeJesus (19) had cheated on her with Cathleen. On May 29th, 2016, Kayla confronted Cathleen about Jorge via Facebook messenger. An argument ensued that led to Cathleen initiating a physical brawl in the 800 Block of Mckenna Court. The two teens, accompanied by friends, met up at the location that afternoon. Kayla and Cathleen then began to physically fight each other. At some point, Cathleen pulled out a knife and began to stab Kayla. Everybody fled the scene afterwards, but the police were called, and they found Kayla laying on the ground with stab wounds to her neck and her chest. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she later died.

Shortly after Kayla’s death, Cathleen openly admitted to being responsible in a Facebook post. She posted the following: “I’m wrong, I’ll admit it and I’m gonna turn myself in … but it is what it is at the end of the day, got to face the consequences … no remorse.” Cathleen was arrested shortly thereafter and charged as an adult with criminal homicide. Cathleen eventually admitted that she did not intend to kill Kayla, and that she did not pull the knife on her in self-defense. Cathleen pleaded guilty to third degree murder in July 2017 and was sentenced to 7-23 years in prison. [read more]

3. Skylar Neese, Shelia Eddy & Rachel Shoaf
From left to right: Rachel Shoaf, Shelia Eddy, and Skylar Neese at University High School (2011)
Rachel, Shelia, and Skylar were known as an inseparable trio in their community of Morgantown, West Virginia. The three 16 year-olds appeared to be typical teenagers and had their fair share of drama, however nobody ever expected that their drama would escalate to murder--as it did on the evening of July 6th, 2012. That evening, Shelia and Rachel drove to Skylar's family's apartment complex and asked Skylar to sneak out of her apartment so they could joyride and smoke marijuana together. Skylar accepted their invitation, not realizing that Shelia and Rachel actually had other plans. After sneaking out of her bedroom, Skylar got into the backseat of Shelia's car, and Shelia drove the three of them around 30 miles away to a wooded area of Wayne Township in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Shelia and Rachel then lured Skylar into the woods under the guise of smoking marijuana--but then on an agreed upon moment, Shelia and Rachel counted to 3 and began to stab Skylar to death. Afterwards, they hid her body under some branches before disposing their bloody clothes and fleeing the scene.

Skylar's parents reported her missing after she failed to return home. Shelia told Skylar's parents that she and Rachel dropped Skylar off a block away from their apartment building the previous night. Shelia then feigned concern for Skylar and joined her parents on searches for her. Six months after Skylar's disappearance, Rachel Shoaf had a mental breakdown and was sent to receive inpatient mental health treatment. Upon her release from the facility, Rachel confessed to authorities that she and Shelia stabbed Skylar to death--simply because they "did not like her anymore." She named Shelia as the mastermind behind the murder. Rachel then led authorities to Skylar's remains. In exchange for her confession and for naming Shelia as the mastermind, Rachel accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Shelia was charged with first degree murder; she also ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. She will be eligible for parole after 40 years. [read more here and here]

2. Anel Baez & Erandy Gutierrez

Erandy Gutierrez (left) and Anel Baez (right) on Erandy's 15th birthday (2012)
Erandy and Anel were two teens living in Guamuchil, Mexico. The two had been best friends for years, however in 2014 their friendship appeared to sour after rumors circulated that Anel had posted a nude photograph of herself and Erandy on Facebook. Erandy was furious by the rumors and began to post a serious of threatening tweets towards Anel on her Twitter page. Despite this, Anel wanted to repair her friendship with Erandy and invited her over to her family's home on March 19th, 2014. Erandy accepted the invitation, and Anel thought they were ready to make amends. Unfortunately, Erandy had other plans. Upon arriving at Anel's home, Erandy said she was going to use the restroom. Instead, she grabbed a knife from the family's kitchen and subsequently stabbed Anel 65 times. Erandy then fled the scene before Anel's family later discovered her body. Erandy pretended to mourn for Anel--she even attended her funeral. However, during the service, the police arrived and arrested Erandy for murder. She was charged as a minor and ultimately sentenced to 7 years in prison. Erandy only ended up serving 3 years, and was released from prison in 2017. [read more]

1. Sarah Stern, Liam McAtasney & Preston Taylor
Picture from left to right: Preston Taylor, Sarah Stern, and Liam McAtasney
Sarah, Liam, and Preston were all childhood friends. They graduated from their high school in Neptune City, New Jersey in 2015 and remained friends after graduation. In 2016, Liam learned that Sarah would be inheriting a large amount of money after the passing of her grandfather. At that point, Liam decided he wanted to get his hands on that money. He began to formulate a plan to steal the money from Sarah. Liam's plans eventually escalated to a plot to murder Sarah in order to pull off the robbery. Liam let Preston know about his plans, and he put the wheels in motion on December 2nd 2016. 

On that day, Sarah and Liam spent the afternoon together. They went to the bank, where Sarah withdrew a large amount of money. The two then returned to Sarah's house. Upon arriving, Liam attacked Sarah from behind and began to strangle her. A slight struggle ensued, but after 30 minutes, Sarah was dead. 

Liam left Sarah's body at the scene to go to work. Later, both Liam and Preston returned to the scene. They placed Sarah's body in her car and drove it to the Belmar Bridge. Their plan was to throw Sarah over the bridge and stage her death as a suicide. However, their plans foiled after a few months when Liam ultimately confessed to his role in Sarah's death--implicating Liam in the process. Both were arrested. Preston pleaded guilty, while Liam pleaded not guilty and finally went to trial in January 2019. The jury ultimately convicted Liam of all charges. He will be sentenced later this year. [read more

For additional reading on some of these cases, check out these books:

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