Saturday, July 20, 2019

List Series: Murder Cases with Ridiculous Motives

When investigating a murder case, both detectives and prosecutors seek out the motive of the crime. Loved ones of murder victims often seek out the motive as well; in hopes for answers about what happened to someone they love. Identifying the motive of a murder not only may help in finding a victim's killer, but it also helps the prosecution build their case against the killer. Often times, when the motive of a killing finally is uncovered, it is revealed that the victim was killed over something completely ridiculous. Below is a list of five such cases.

5. Jaray Wilson
Killed by 'friend' Tucker McGee because he thought she was "annoying" and "talked too much about her problems"
Jaray Wilson was only 16 years-old when she vanished on October 14th, 2012. The teen was picked up from Hydro, Oklahoma by friends that afternoon, and never returned home. It was originally theorized that Jaray had been trafficked, however as time passed, investigators began to turn their attention to the last two people to see Jaray: Tucker McGee (pictured above on the right) and Cody Godfrey. 

Over a year after Jaray's disappearance, Cody told confessed to investigators that he witnessed Tucker shooting Jaray in the head after the three of them smoked synthetic marijuana together. Earlier that afternoon, Jaray had asked Tucker to pick her up in Hydro and drive her to Weatherford. Cody was already with Tucker while he was en route to pick Jaray up. On their way, Tucker complained that Jaray was "annoying and would not stop talking about her problems." Then, Tucker showed Cody a gun and said "we should just go kill Jaray." Cody told investigators that he thought Tucker was kidding. Once Tucker and Cody picked Jaray up, they ended up smoking synthetic marijuana in a field and chatting for about two hours. Towards the end of that time period, Tucker grabbed his gun and shot Jaray in the head while she was looking at her cell phone.

The following day, Tucker, Cody, and their friend Caleb McLemore proceeded to hide Jaray's body. Cody later told investigators where she could be found. 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] [Friendships Turned Fatal] [Initial Theories Gone Wrong]

4. Rachel Pernosky
Image result for rachel pernosky
Killed by half-brother because he was mad she pressed charges against him for molesting her as a child.

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. Rachel told a friend the conversation was "good, but emotional" and that she wanted it to end soon. Matthew, on the other hand, grew angry with Rachel for "‘acting like a victim’ when he was the one who had suffered by being charged and going through the court process for molesting Rachel as a child.” Matthew then hit Rachel on the head and pinned her down before suffocating her by holding his hand over her nose and mouth. Afterwards, Matthew took Rachel’s body to his home in Abbotsford and sexually molested her post-mortem before dumping her Chilliwack. 

On May 28th, 2018, Matthew pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges. He was given a life sentence, but he will be eligible for parole after 13 years. [read more] [Betrayed by Blood]

3. Monica Anderson
Murdered by her roommate/sometime lover during a fight over a cell phone charger.
26 year-old Monica Anderson (pictured left) was murdered by her roommate/lover, 20 year-old Lan Anh Le (pictured right) on March 13th, 2010. The two young women shared an apartment in Sacramento, California at the time. On the night of the murder, the two drank alcohol and ingested cocaine. Around 2:30am, an argument over a cellphone charger broke out inside the girls’ bedroom. Monica attempted to flee the apartment, but Lan chased her with a butcher knife and attacked her. Lan ultimately stabbed Monica 91 times. She then attempted to turn the knife on herself, but a friend was able to intervene until the police arrived.

Once in police custody, Lan admitted that she got angry at Monica because she would not hand over her phone charger. She told police, “[Monica] started running away from me, and that’s when it happened. I was just really pissed.” Lan was ultimately sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. [read more]


2. James Barry
Image result for james barry melanie eam
Killed by his girlfriend after breaking up with her via text message
James Barry (pictured on the right) was stabbed to death by his ex-girlfriend, 20 year-old Melanie Eam (pictured left), on November 17th, 2016. The two met in Loxahatchee, Florida, and were involved in an on-again, off-again relationship for about two years. In November 2016, James wanted to end the relationship for good. On the evening of November 16th, James sent Melanie a text message stating that he no longer loved her and wanted to end the relationship. That text reportedly sent Melanie into a fit of rage. She drove to James' mother's home to confront him over the text message break-up, and James continued to maintain that their relationship was over. Fueled by anger, Melanie entered the family's kitchen and grabbed a knife. When she returned to James' bedroom, she began fatally stabbing him to death before fleeing the scene. 

Melanie ultimately fled to her family's home in Silver Spring, Maryland. However, it did not take police long to catch up with her. Three days after the James' death, Melanie was arrested and charged with his murder. She confessed that she killed James in a fit of rage after he broke up with her via text. Despite the confession, Melanie still pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and initially went to trial in September 2018. A mistrial was declared. The case went to trial again in January 2019, and this time the jury found her guilty. Melanie was sentenced to 50 years in prison. [read more] [Cases of Break-Up Violence]

1. Michael Howell
Image result for michael howell crystal howell
Killed by his teenager daughter after he caught her attempting to shoplift

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] [Betrayed by Blood]

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