Three white men have been arrested and charged with a host of crimes in connection with the grisly murder and dismemberment of two young Black men, an act many activists are saying evokes the history of lynching in this country.
When Alize Ramon Smith and Jarron Moreland, both 21, went missing on April 14, their families hung up posters around their Oklahoma City community, hoping to find them. Four days later, police found Smith and Moreland’s dismembered bodies in a pond, and arrested three men they say carried out the grim killing.
Kevin Garcia-Boettler, 22, and his 16-year-old brother, and 43-year-old Johnny Shane Barker were arrested in connection with the slaying. Circa reports, “The teen is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, unlawful removal of a dead body, desecration of human corpse and possessing a firearm after delinquent adjudication. Garcia-Boettler is charged with accessory after the fact and unlawful removal of a dead body. Barker, is charged with accessory after the fact, unlawful removal of a body and desecration of a human corpse.”
Crystal Rachelle Boettler, the mother of the alleged shooter, has also been charged with accessory after the fact.
Police believe Smith and Moreland were killed after meeting up with Garcia-Boettler and his teenage brother, who was attempting to buy a gun. However, instead of buying the firearm, the teen shot the men.
“When [Moreland and Smith] entered the vehicle, the white men said they heard a gun being racked,” Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said. “So one of them fired four rounds.”
After killing Smith and Moreland, the Garcia-Boettler brothers enlisted Barker’s help to dismember and dispose of their bodies. Baker told police they burned the men’s clothing and tied cinder blocks to their feet before dumping them in a pond.
Kennetha Moreland, the mother of one of the victims, said she’s distraught over her son’s murder.
“It’s like my whole world’s been crumbled,” she said. “I can’t even have proper closure because my baby is disfigured,” Kennetha Moreland said, “and I can’t even see him.”
Kennetha Moreland said the medical examiner and the funeral home director cautioned her against viewing her son’s body because he was in such bad shape.
“The medical examiner told me to remember the vision that I have of him in my mind. The funeral home director man, when he got him, he said, you don’t want to look at him because that’s something that you’ll never, ever, ever forget,” she said.
In spite of her grief, Kennetha Moreland said she will fight for justice and carry her son’s memory forever.
“I know he’s in heaven, he’s looking down,” she said, “and he knows that his mama got him.”