Thursday, June 27, 2019

List Series: Betrayed by Blood

According to data from the FBI, over 50% of the murder victims each year are killed by someone known to them--such as a significant other, acquaintance, co-worker, etc. Out of the 50% of murder victims killed by someone known to them, almost half of those victims are killed by members of their own family. Below is a list of seven cases in which the victim was killed by a member of their family, and ultimately betrayed by their own blood.

7. Keaira Henderson
Murdered by her older brother, Gavin Henderson
Keaira Henderson (left), Gavin Henderson (right)
Keaira Henderson was only 15 years-old when she was brutally murdered by her own brother, 27 year-old Gavin Henderson, on June 18th, 2018. Gavin had moved in with his mother and his siblings at their home in Dunwoody, Georgia the previous year. At that time, he had recently been released from prison in Florida after serving several years behind bars for violent crimes. Gavin had violent tendencies towards his family members once he moved home, as well. In fact, prior to Keaira’s death, Gavin pulled a knife on another one of his sisters. Nobody called the police at that time; the family stated that they dealt with the incident privately.  

On the afternoon of June 18th, 2018, Gavin turned violent once again. He grew angry at his 15 year-old sister, Keaira, because he felt she was taking too long in the bathroom. By the time Keaira finally did leave the bathroom, it was too late—Gavin was already too angry. He then grabbed a 10-inch hunting style knife and chased Keaira outside. Keaira began banging on her neighbor’s doors for help, but nobody answered the door. Their terrified 12 year-old sister called their mother at work, who then called the police as she rushed home. Then, the 12 year-old opened the front door and witnessed a horrific sight: her brother Gavin was stabbing her sister Keaira as Keaira screamed and begged for him to stop.

Keaira died shortly after paramedics arrived on the scene. She had been stabbed over 53 times. Gavin was arrested shortly thereafter and is currently behind bars as he awaits further proceedings. [read more]

6. Jarmecca 'Nikki' Whitehead
Murdered by her 16 year-old twin daughters
Nikki Whitehead (left), Tasmiyah Whitehead (center), Jasmiyah Whitehead (right)
34 year-old Jarmecca ‘Nikki’ Whitehead was stabbed to death by her own 16 year-old twin daughters, Tasmiyah and Jasimyah Whitehead on January 13th, 2010. Nikki was a single mother, and at the time of her death, she lived with the twins in Conyers, Georgia. The mother-and-daughters had previously lived with Nikki's grandmother when the girls were young, but they moved to Conyers once the girls were teenagers. From that point forward, Nikki's relationship with her daughters began to sour. Tasmiyah and Jasmiyah felt their mother was too strict and they felt resentful towards her. There were numerous altercations at the home where police were called. It became clear during each incident that Tasmiyah and Jasmiyah were actively working as a team against their mother. Unbeknownst to Nikki, the two were formulating a plan that would have fatal results. 

The twins put their plan into motion on the morning of January 13th, 2010. The girls brutally attacked their mother inside the home, stabbing her over 80 times--nearly severing her spinal cord. Tasmiyah and Jasmiyah then placed their mother in a bathtub, cleaned themselves up, and went to school--leaving Nikki to die. When the twins returned from school that afternoon, they called the police and claimed that someone had broken into their home and killed their mother. Police eventually uncovered evidence that Nikki had been killed by her own daughters. The girls were eventually arrested and charged with murder. Both eventually confessed to killing Nikki and they are both currently serving a 30 year sentence. [read more] [Dangerous Duos]

5. Rachel Pernosky
Murdered by her older half-brother, Matthew Pernosky
Image result for rachel pernosky

Rachel Pernosky was only 18 years-old when she was murdered by her half-brother Matthew Pernosky on March 16th, 2013.  The two share a father and are ten years apart in age--making Matthew 28 years old at the time of the murder. Although the murder occurred in 2013, Matthew had betrayed Rachel's trust for the first time many years earlier--when she was five and he was 15. That year, Matthew sexually assaulted Rachel. Charges were eventually sought against him--and by time he was 19, he was sentenced to probation for the assault.

After that traumatizing court case, Rachel seemed to move on as best as she could. By 2013, she had a 1 year-old son and loved being a mother. However, Matthew was not completely absent from her life. On March 16th, 2013, Matthew went to Rachel’s home in Mission and told her that he wanted to apologize for molesting her as a child. A conversation ensued, and at a certain point, one of Rachel’s friends texted her to ask her how the discussion with Matthew was going. Rachel reportedly told the friend that the conversation was “good, but emotional” and that she was tired and hoped Matthew would leave soon. This is the last time anyone ever heard from Rachel, and she was later reported missing after she did not pick-up her son. Unfortunately, just three days later, Rachel’s body was found hidden in steep terrain near Old Orchard Road in Chilliwack. 

Matthew was immediately looked into as a murder suspect, but he denied involvement in Rachel’s death. Investigators did have other evidence, however it initially was not enough to charge Matthew with anything related to Rachel’s case. Finally, in 2016, investigators had an officer disguise himself as the head of a criminal organization in order to infiltrate Matthew. The disguised officer, who used the alias “Mr. Big”, was able to get a full confession out of him. Matthew was subsequently arrested and charged with both Rachel’s murder. On May 28th, 2018, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges. Matthew was given an automatic life-sentence, however he will be eligible for parole after 13 years. [read more]

4. Alycia Mesiti
Murdered by her father, Mark Mesiti
Alycia Mesiti (left), Mark Mesiti (right)
Alycia Mesiti was only 14 years-old when she was murdered by her own father on August 13th, 2006. Mark Mesiti was given custody of Alycia and her brother less than a year earlier. The children moved into Mark’s home in Ceres, California after a Santa Clara County court found their mother Roberta Allen to be an unfit mother who struggled with depression. Unbeknownst to the Judge that granted him custody, Mark was very, very unfit to be a father--or to be around children whatsoever. Not only did be begin to sexually abuse Alycia once she moved into his home, but he also began drugging her so she would not resist. He also had a large file of child pornography on his computer, which included explicit pictures of Alycia. On August 13th, 2006, Mark's abuse towards Alycia turned fatal. After feeding Alycia a cocktail of opiates, morphine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, diazepam, methadone, and anti-depressants, Alycia died of acute drug intoxication. Mark buried his daughter in his backyard and then told his girlfriend, Shelly Walker, that Alycia had runaway. Shelly reported Alycia missing as a runaway to the Ceres Police Department and police initially did not find any evidence of foul play. Mark was eventually evicted from his Ceres residence and he ended up moving to Los Angeles with Shelly.

After nearly 3 years passed without any sign of Alycia, the investigation shifted. In March 2009, investigators brought cadaver dogs to Mark’s old home in Ceres. After getting a hit, a team dug up the backyard and ended up finding remains. Those remains were later identified as that of Alycia Mesiti. When police went to Mark's new home in Los Angeles, they found out that he and Shelly were making meth inside their home where children were living with them.The two were subsequently arrested and booked on drug and child endangerment charges. While behind bars on those charges, investigators found evidence on Mark's computer that he had sexually abused and drugged Alycia on a continuous basis. Once it was revealed that Alycia had died of acute drug poisoning, it became clear to investigators that Mark was responsible for her death. He was eventually charged with her murder. Mark pleaded guilty and was sentencing to life in prison. [read more] [Runaway Theories Gone Wrong]

3. Kailee McMullen
Killed by her father, Ronald McMullen Jr.
Kailee McMullen (left), Ronald McMullen Jr. (right)
During the early morning hours of June 29th, 2017, 43 year-old Ronald McMullen Jr. called 911 and frantically told dispatchers that his daughter, 22 year-old Kailee McMullen had been shot in the face. The 911 operator is heard asking Ronald, “did she do it?”, to which Ronald replied “Yes.”

Paramedics and police officers were sent to Ronald’s home located in Norman, Oklahoma. When asked what happened, Ronald told police that Kailee had been playing with a wheel gun that went off when he tried to take it from her. As police pieced together the events over the following few days, they noticed many inconsistencies in Ronald’s story. The gunpowder residue found on Kailee’s face indicated that the gun was fired from around 18 inches away from her face. If Kailee had fired the gun herself, it could not have been more than 14 inches away. Police have stated that it is likely that the gun was fired out of Kailee’s reach. Police also spoke to Kailee’s friends and family about her relationship with her father, and learned that they had a dark past. Many described him as a “very controlling father” with abusive tendencies. In 2009, Ronald was accused of sexually abusing Kailee. No charges were ever filed. In the months leading up to Kailee’s death, she told her friends that her father had begun sexually abusing her again. He also allegedly slapped her in the face during an argument two months before her death.

On July 5th, 2018, Ronald McMullen was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with Kailee’s death. He pleaded not guilty and remains behind bars as he awaits trial. [read more]

2. Michael Howell
Murdered by his 17 year-old daughter, Crystal Brooke Howell

17 year-old Crystal Brooke Howell reportedly began to think about murdering her father Michael Howell early in the day on February 24, 2014. That day, Michael and Crystal were on a shopping trip together in Ingles, North Carolina. During their shopping trip, Michael apparently caught Crystal attempting to shoplift. After this incident, Crystal started to think about removing her father from her life, permanently. When the two returned to their home in Maggie Valley, Michael took a nap while Crystal took a shower and allegedly continued to think about killing her father. Once she got out of the shower, Crystal grabbed a shotgun and shot her father once in the head as he napped on the couch. According to investigators, she then then hid his body in a plastic container inside the family’s storage shed. Then, she dumped the couch he was laying on and sold the shotgun that she used. Life seemed to just continue for Crystal after that–she began to drive her deceased father’s car, spend his money, and damage his house. Her friends moved in, and they often threw parties at the house. Crystal even had a stripper pole installed in the kitchen. When asked about her father’s whereabouts, Crystal told her friends that he moved to Georgia and then killed himself.

On March 22nd, 2014, two of Crystal’s house guests decided to move a pinball machine into their storage shed. While doing that, one of the men noticed the plastic container and found Michael’s body inside. The police were called, and Crystal was eventually arrested and charged with murder.  In October 2016, Crystal pleaded guilty to the murder of her father and was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison. She remains behind bars today. [read more]

1.The Pladl Family (2 generations)
Steven Pladl broke apart his first family by starting a relationship/having a baby with his oldest biological daughter. Then, he murdered his new family. 
Katie Pladl and her infant son that she had with her biological father (left), Steven Pladl (center), Alyssa Garcia Pladl, Katie's biological mother and Steven's first wife (right)
This case is a bit more complicated than the others, as it deals with betrayal that spans across two generations. Additionally, it deals with an inappropriate relationship between a young woman and her biological father. Alyssa Garcia and Steven Pladl gave birth to a baby girl they named Denise in 1998. According to Alyssa, Steven was abusive towards Denise and the couple eventually placed her up for adoption while she was still an infant. She was eventually adopted by a couple named the Fuscos, who renamed the little girl Katie and brought her to live with them in Duchess County, New York. Once Katie hit 18, she grew curious about her biological parents and eventually tracked the Pladls down on social media and began to correspond with them. During the summer of 2016, Katie decided to go with her Steven and Alyssa and their two other daughters at their home in Virginia. 

From there, a spiral of betrayal began. Katie began to have an inappropriate sexual relationship with Steven, despite the fact that he was her biological father. Alyssa reportedly felt betrayed by both her husband and her daughter. Alyssa moved out of the house shortly before Katie got pregnant with Steven's child. Eventually, Alyssa and Steven divorced, and Katie and Steven got married during the summer of 2017. The two were able to legally wed, as they did not disclose their father-daughter relationship. In the fall of 2017, Katie gave birth to their son. Just a few months later, Katie and Steven were arrested and charged with incest and adultery. Both were released on bail. Katie went back to New York to live with her adoptive parents, with Steven went to North Carolina to live close to his mother--who gained custody of Katie and Steven's son. Katie and Steven were ordered to have no contact, but Katie still decided to call him in early April 2018...because she wanted to end her relationship with him. 

Fuming from their breakup, Steven went to his mother's house and killed his infant son. Then, he drove all the way to New York where he followed Katie and her adoptive father in a vehicle before he shot them both to death. Then, he turned the gun on himself. [extensive timeline of this case]

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