Crystal Boettler, the matriarch of a Moore, Oklahoma family, is accused of helping her sons, Brett Boettler and Kevin Garcia-Boettler, cover up the murders of two African-American men whose bodies were dismembered and tossed into a pond.
Also accused in the grisly deaths of Jarron Moreland and Alize Smith: Johnny Shane Barker, the boyfriend of Crystal Rachelle Boettler. The Boettlers and Barker are white; Moreland and Smith were black, and that’s led some on Twitter to compare their deaths to a lynching. Authorities, however, say the motive was a Craig’s List deal over a gun that went south, not race. Brett Boettler is only 16, but authorities are prosecuting him as an adult.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Two Victims Were Dismembered & Chained to Cinder Blocks, Authorities Say
The two victims, who were both only 21-years-old, were reported missing by loved ones in April 2018. According to The Associated Press, the bodies “were found dismembered and chained to cinder blocks in an Oklahoma City pond.”
Authorities say they quickly unraveled the plot, and placed the four suspects under arrest for what they allege were varying roles in the homicides. The two victims were shot before they were dismembered and tossed in the pond, authorities believe.
Authorities allege that they found the blood-spattered van used in the shooting at the family’s home. They allegedly found “cleaning products and a power washer around the vehicle,” “dried blood spatter on the ceiling of the van” and “a bucket of water with a chainsaw bar inside and soaking in the water along with several jigsaw blades,” court documents obtained by ABC11 allege.
Kevin Garcia-Boettler, 22, and Brett Boettler, 16, are brothers; Crystal Rachelle Boettler, 40, is their mother; and Johnny Shane Barker, 43, is her boyfriend.
According to ABC 7, Brett Boettler is accused of being the shooter, and the mother was charged with allegedly being an accessory after the fact.
Mooreland and Smith were missing for four days when their bodies were discovered, the AP reported, adding that the murders occurred in Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City. Barker, the brothers’ mother’s boyfriend, is accused of helping the two “remove the bodies, cover them with tarps, and attached cinder blocks around them with chains before dumping them in a lake,” reported ABC 11. It was alleged the victims’ clothes were removed.
2. The Slayings Allegedly Stemmed From a ‘Craigslist Deal Gone Bad’
The victims, Alize Smith and Jarron Moreland, disappeared “after a shooting in the parking lot of a Crest Foods near 12th Street and Eastern Avenue,” reported ABC 11. The two brothers accused in the crime “arranged a meeting over Craigslist to buy a gun from Smith and Moreland,” AP reports. It quickly went south.
“The brothers told police they thought one of the victims was racking a gun and turned around and shot them several times,” KFOR-TV alleged of Brett Boettler and Kevin Garcia-Boettler.
“There was apparently going to be a sale of a gun, possibly off of Craigslist when the two victims entered the vehicle,” said Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis. “The suspects claimed they heard a gun being racked or cocked. At that point, one of those individuals fired at the two victims that entered the van and killed them both at that time.”
A GoFundMe page established to help Moreland’s family says it all started with the Craigslist deal. “hello. as you may already know, my brother Jarron and another individual by the name of Alize Smith were murdered and abducted as the result of what I, myself, would call a cold blooded unnecessary craigslist deal ‘gone wrong.’” the summary on the GoFundMe page states.
The brother wrote that Moreland was a young father. “My brothers funeral was April 28th, just two days after his son Jarron Jr.’s 6th birthday. His funeral has been paid for by some sort of victims fund provided to us by the state of Oklahoma. At this point the only thing we as a family are worried about is taking care of Jarron Jr. in Jarron Sr.’s absence. Anything helps and everything is appreciated, Thank you for your time and if you choose to donate, thank you for your donation,” he wrote.
3. Crystal Boettler Was Previously Accused of Allowing Her Son to Be Truant & Meth Dealing
All of the suspects, except the teenager, have criminal histories in Oklahoma, according to a review of court records. That’s also true of the mother involved, Crystal Boettler.
Johnny Shane Barker has a criminal history in Cleveland County, Oklahoma, according to court records. In 2006, he was convicted of second-degree burglary and drug offenses. He described himself as “self-employed” on Facebook.
Kevin Garcia-Boettler also has a past drug case in that county from 2015. Court records say the disposition was deferred.
Crystal Boettler, who was born in 1978, was previously accused of multiple counts of violation of the compulsory education act (truancy). Fourteen charges are listed in the court records; they all resulted in acquittal or dismissal. The court records, from 2011, state, “COURT BELIEVES STATE SHOULD OFFER PROOF BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT AS TO DEFENDANT’S WILLFUL FAILURE TO CAUSE OR COMPEL MINOR CHILD TO ATTEND AND COMPLY WITH SCHOOLS RULES) IN THIS CASE MINOR CHILD IS CLEARLY BEYOND THIS DEFENDANT’S PARENTAL CONTROL.”
She was also accused of being a meth dealer in 2009, but the charge was dismissed upon request of the state.
A second drug charge involving PCP in that case resulted in a deferred disposition. There are other cases under a different first name with Crystal Boettler listed as the alias in Oklahoma court records.
4. Brett Boettler Shared a Video of an Oklahoma Police Chase on Facebook & Crystal’s Page Hints at a Past Broken Relationship
On Facebook, Brett Boettler, 16, who listed himself as being in high school, shared a video of a cartoon character shooting an airsoft gun and also shared a video of an Oklahoma police chase. The victims also had some prior contacts with the criminal justice system. A bench warrant was issued for Smith in a drug case that was pending at the time of his death; he was to have been sentenced in that case in April. Moreland was convicted of possessing a firearm in 2015.
Brett also shared a few stock photos that contained guns and references to Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto videogames. He liked pages relating to marijuana use and street outlaws.
“My Mom and Me. I Love You!!” Kevin Garcia-Boettler wrote with a photo of him with his mother on Facebook, which you can see above.
Crystal’s page just contains a few selfies and a cover photo of her with a man who wrote in the comment thread, “Too bad we are no longer together….” Crystal responded with a sad face emoji and the man, who was not Barker, wrote, “Why the sad face….u chose it.” He added, “You can take this pic down now …u have proven we aren’t together so why keep it.”
In 2014, Kevin Don Garcia-Boettler wrote on Facebook, “I’m glad I spent my 2 days off work hanging out with my family! It’s good to see us all doing good an staying away from all the bullshit I swear we are going to make it there ain’t nothing to it but to do it Yall just remember keep your heads up high always an we arent friends we family straight up friends do nothin but get you in trouble we all here to support eachother an that’s how family should be!! Love all Yall.”
5. The Prosecutor Doesn’t Plan to Seek Race-Related Charges & Moreland’s Mother Says the Murder ‘Ripped My Heart Out’
Despite the buzz on social media, the Cleveland County prosecutor Greg Mashburn told the Associated Press that “he does not plan to seek additional charges related to race.”
“We definitely explored that, and the evidence absolutely shows that this was not racially motivated,” Mashburn told the wire service.
The deaths have left behind grieving families. “When it first happened, I told the detective that if my son don’t call me by a certain time, my son is hurt bad or he is dead,” Kennetha Moreland, the mother of one of the two victims, told KFOR-TV.
Jarron and Alize were tortured, she believes, and she told the television station, “Felt like somebody ripped my heart out of my chest.”
Loved ones also paid tribute to Alize Ramon Smith. “He was the sweetest person you could wish for,” said Alivia Smith, Alize’s 12-year-old sister, to News9. “He was the best person to me.”
Raquel Hall, Alize Smith’s aunt, also commemorated Alize to News9, saying, “He had this goofy laugh that we all still can see and hear. And we want people to know that he really tried. He had a few problems in his life but he had a great support system and we were all there for him.”
Alize’s great aunt wrote on Facebook to the many people offering support, “Thank you all for the outpouring of support and prayers. Much needed and appreciated. We can feel the prayers of so many being lifted for our family.”