The two victims of this Oklahoma lynching are 21 year old Ramon Smith and 21-year-old Jarron Moreland. pic.twitter.com/4H48x3EPq1— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 26, 2018
Two black men, Alize Ramon Smith and Jarron Keonte Moreland, disappeared after being last seen in a parking lot. Unfortunately, they were found dead in a pond days later.
Now that suspects, Kevin Garcia-Boettler, 22, and his 16-year-old brother, have been caught and are in custody, police said they hope to have all questions regarding this horrific murder finally answered.
Smith and Moreland, both 21, met Garcia-Boettler and his brother Saturday night at the Crest Foods parking lot in Moore, Oklahoma. Smith and Moreland were selling a gun, and Garcia-Boettler and his brother were apparently responding to an ad on Craigslist.
Garcia-Boettler told police that Moreland got out of a sedan and into the back seat of the van that Garcia-Boettler was driving. Then, he heard a gun click and saw his brother turn around and fire several shots.
“When [Moreland and Smith] entered the vehicle, the white men said they heard a gun being racked,” said Sgt. Jeremy Lewis of the Moore Police Department. “So one of them fired four rounds.”
Garcia-Boettler told police that both Smith and Moreland were shot, and he thought they were both dead. He and his brother took the men to a nearby residence. Once there, a third suspect, Johnny Barker, 43, helped dispose of the bodies. Barker also helped clean the van.
According to a local news outlet, Barker told police the men tied cinder blocks to the bodies to sink them in a pond. He also said that he thought the victims’ clothing was removed and then burned in a barrel.
On Twitter, journalist Shaun King called this incident a “modern day lynching.”
This literally appears to be a modern day lynching.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 26, 2018
These 2 men, and 1 other, abducted 2 young Black men from a grocery store parking lot in Moore, Oklahoma.
Then shot & killed them.
Stripped them naked. Burned clothes.
Took them to a pond & tied their bodies to cinder blocks pic.twitter.com/m7m0Sq03X5
After a search on Tuesday, police found two bodies. The Oklahoma Medical Examiner confirmed that they were Smith and Moreland.
Police said that Garcia-Boettler and Barker were both charged with accessory to first-degree murder. The 16-year-old’s charges weren’t announced.
While the future is uncertain for the suspects, and police have yet to disclose whether the three men are the sole perpetrators of this murder, questions regarding motivation still linger.
Was this a modern day lynching, as King believes, or was it a robbery gone wrong?
With the racial tensions in the country only growing in the President Donald Trump era, it’s not entirely off-the-mark to think this could be a racially-charged crime.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Daniel Becerril