Posted in Amber Wright, Charlie Kay Ely, Current Events, Hate, Murder, News, Relationships, Seath Jackson, True Crime

Seath Jackson, Facebook and the Farmhouse

So much can change in what seems like the blink of an eye.

In March of 2011, Seath Jackson was a happy guy. Just 15, he was in love, had lots of friends, and had dreams of becoming a UFC Champion.

Seath’s girlfriend, Amber Wright, was also 15 years old. The two were close that spring, as evidenced by Seath’s regular Facebook status updates. Many were just like this one, in March, that reads, “I love you Amber”.

Quickly- perhaps in the blink of an eye, even- the tenor changed.

Less than a month later, in the first week April, Seath is observed switching from love-speak, and suddenly begins referring to Amber as a slut, accusing her of cheating on him.

The drama, of course, teen love gone awry- one party moving on, losing interest, meeting someone else- is nothing new.

The terrifying twist in this story does not lie in the fact that Seath and Amber’s relationship, at 15 years old, did not last. It does not rest in the ugliness of the allegations Seath made against Amber; Nor does it have to do with Amber’s returned accusations, her allegations of suffering both verbal and physical abuse at Seath’s hands .

What was so horrifying, what put an extra-ugly edge to an already-ugly dance of angsty teenage-drama, was the public way in which it all played out. An added layer of humiliation was served cold by both Seath and Amber, and they dished all of it on Facebook. This is where they aired their dirty laundry, their relational dysfunction, their anger and heartache. Their large circle of friends began to take notice, and before long, they were chiming in too.

The more others began weighing in, the more bitter the battle of words became between Amber and Seath, until finally, they both declared themselves…

… DONE.

On April 8, 2011, after railing on Facebook (with the help of his friends) about Amber for almost 24 hours, Seath announced that he was ready to move on. He was finished with the “dumb shit”, and had decided it was time to let it go. Amber, for her part, seemed to have a difficult time believing Seth was really “done”, and told him so.

How are yuu done with it. When you continuously write shit about me. Talk shit about me. Hate on me. Fucking say shit to me? Huh tell me bc I really wanna fucking know! Exactly yuur not done with it if yuu keep bringing my name into shit! So learn the definition on DONE!

And with that public exchange, it seems there was finally…

… Silence.

The silence, however, was misleading.

Amber turned to her new boyfriend, 19 year old Michael Bargo, who already hated Seath, and began to share. Michael’s jealously raged, and with Amber’s help, began hatching a plan.

A chilling, deadly, horrible plan.

The kind of plan that causes everything to change, in the blink of an eye.

On Monday, April 18, 2011, police began looking for Seath. It didn’t take long for them to learn what had happened to the teenager, and by Tuesday afternoon, the truth began to unfold in gruesome, chilling detail.

Seath had last been seen Sunday afternoon, April 17, by friends. He had seemed fine, in an upbeat mood, until later in the day, when he began receiving phone calls and text messages.

The calls were coming from Amber and a friend of hers, Charlie Kay Ely.

Amber, it seemed, wanted Seath to come see her at Charlie’s house. Charlie, 18, had a home of her own, and it was isolated- a farmhouse, of sorts. Amber wanted Seath to meet her there so the two of them could patch things up.

She wanted to get back together, she said.

Seath, initially, declined. Amber, with the help of her friend, was able to change his mind, convincing him to meet the two at Charlie’s place.

When Seath arrived at the home, he realized- too late- that this was not to be a happy reunion. Immediately he was ambushed by Michael Bargo, who had help from Amber’s 16 year old step-brother Kyle Hooper, and 20 year old Justin Soto, a mutual friend of theirs.

The three men began beating Seath in the head with wooden objects. Later, Soto and Hooper held Seath down while Michael Bargo shot the teen several times with .22-caliber gun.

Next, the boys placed Seath in a bathtub, where they proceeded to break his knees in an attempt to fit him inside of a sleeping bag.

Bargo, realizing Seath was still alive, shot him again.

Jackson was placed inside the waiting sleeping bag, and his body was taken to the backyard of the home.

They lit a bonfire and burned him.

Seath’s remains were scooped into empty paint cans, and the step-father of Amber Wright and Kyle Hooper, 37 year old James Young Havens III, helped them clean up by bleaching the premises. Law Enforcement believes he knew about the plan in advance, and did nothing to stop it.

It was Kyle Hooper who, on that Tuesday afternoon, one day after they began looking for Seath Jackson, confessed to police the details of what had happened. Tracey Wright, Amanda and Kyle’s mother, had learned of the role her children had played in the death of their peer, and forced Hooper to tell the authorities.

Amber Wright had lured her one-time love to his death.

Michael Bargo, 19, has been charged with first degree-murder, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Justin Soto, 20, is also charged with first-degree murder, and faces the possibility of a death sentence as well.

Amanda Wright, 15, Kyle Hooper, 16, and Charlie Kay Ely, 18, were all charged with first-degree murder, though prosecutors have declined to seek the death penalty in each of the three cases.

James Young Havens III, 37, has been charged as an accessory after the fact.

Charlie Kay Ely is the only one of the five defendants who refused to waive her right to a speedy trial, and was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury voted to convict after deliberating for barely more than an hour. She will automatically receive a sentence of life in prison.

The others are still awaiting trial.

Posted in C-Haze, Current Events, Dating, News, Off The Wall, Porn, Pornography, Relationships, True Crime

The Stalker, the Student and the Stud

A woman was being stalked.

For three and a half years, Ruth Jeffery lived in fear. Someone, somehow, knew every detail of her intimate life. He knew her schedule, and even had access to her e-mail accounts.

Once, he posted “intimate” pictures of her on an adult website, prompting a stranger to show up, announced, at her home.

Ruth was at her wits’ end, and counted heavily on the support of her boyfriend, who she’d been dating for more than three years; a man she’d known for more than a decade.

In fact, her boyfriend, Shane Webber, was the one person she could lean on during the ordeal. “We did everything together. I would tell him everything”. She believed he was telling her everything in return.

When her stalker created an online profile that was similar to her own, and started reaching out to her friends, pretending to be her, she got scared. This person simply knew too much about her. Was it a friend? A classmate from school?

Who could do such a thing?

Ruth stopped eating, fell into a deep depression, and was filled with fear and paranoia. She began taking anti-depressants. At one point, her studies were impacted, she was so drastically affected, she had to retake her final exams.

She was suicidal, and told those closest to her, she wanted to die.

“I don’t want to be alive anymore”

 Finally, in desperation, Ruth turned to police. By this time, her harasser had pretended to be various classmates of hers, and had even hacked into her computer, sending intimate photos of her to all of her contacts from her own e-mail address. Ms. Jeffery found herself bombarded with sexually explicit photos and videos.

The desperation, depression and fear continued to spiral, Ruth was terrified, humiliated and ashamed.

Police diligently tracked the  stalker, meticulously documenting incident after incident of harassment.

At one point, authorities thought they were closing in on their perp. They arrested and interrogated a close friend of Ruth’s boyfriend. Police, briefly, believed they’d found their stalker.

They were wrong.

Undeterred, police refused to give up.

Finally, they got their break, and after nearly four years of constant harassment, arrested Ruth’s long-time boyfriend, Shane Webber.

Webber is charged with causing Harassment, Alarm or Distress.

He had been harassing, stalking and intimidating his own girlfriend for the entire time they had been dating.

He has pled guilty.

Upon hearing the news, Ruth issued a statement proclaiming, “I want him to be put in prison because he has wrecked the past three-and-a-half years of my life… I’ve known him for 10 years, so in a way it feels like the past 10 years have been wasted.”

Webber is due to be sentenced on October 6, 2011.

Posted in Abuse, Clay Waller, cold cases, Domestic Violence, Jacque Waller, Marriage, Missing, Murder, News, Relationships, True Crime

Exceptional Women Are Not the Exception

I’ve been closely following the case of Jacque Waller. Jacque was a woman from a town near Cape Girardeau, MO who disappeared in June of this year. Jacque had gone to her estranged husband’s house to pick up their son after a divorce hearing, and was never seen or heard from again.

The husband, Clay Waller, told authorities that the two had gotten into an argument, and that Jacque had stormed off. Her car was later found abandoned on the highway about three miles from the husband’s home, with no trace of the missing mother.

After months of denying his involvement, Clay Waller reportedly confessed to his father in federal court that he killed Jacque and dumped her body in a hole.

As yet, he has not been charged.

There is an epidemic involving the disappearance of women.

Almost daily we hear the news that another woman has vanished, only to be found brutally murdered days, weeks, months, or even years later.

Sometimes, they’re never found at all.

Too often, the last people to see these women alive are their boyfriends, fiancées, spouses or ex-lovers.

Rather than deal with the issues that come with involving themselves in a troubled or failed relationship, many men turn to murder, turn to making their “problem” disappear-  and quite literally so.

This, unfortunately, gives a whole new- and terribly morbid- meaning to the term “Til death do us part”.

The numbers certainly support the fact that domestic violence is an epidemic, with some studies listing homicide as anywhere from the second to the fifth most common cause of death among women. That said, I don’t want to get too caught up in statistics. One doesn’t need to be an expert to realize that women are being victimized by their male partners at an alarming rate.

I’d like to shift the focus from the numbers to the empowerment of women.

No one chooses to be the victim of homicide, obviously. A woman doesn’t get involved in a relationship thinking that her other half is the one who will kill her some day.

Be that as it may, many women tend to make terrible mistakes when choosing their partners.

All too often the warning signs are ignored, the writing on the wall has been scrubbed away by women who are willing to take deadly risks to be in a relationship. We are all too capable of working against ourselves, and against our best interests. Women have to stop wiping away the writing on the wall- and need to start paying attention to it.

I am in no way blaming victims of homicide or victims of domestic violence. I have experienced domestic assault first-hand and have an intimate knowledge of the pure evil that comes part and parcel with those who prey on women.

What I have learned, as part of my personal journey, is to identify the warning signs, listen to my gut, and trust my instincts.

Perhaps the most important lesson of all was to learn to love myself for who I am- not who someone else may want me to be.

I submit that learning to understand our value as women, learning to appreciate who we are as individuals, understanding that which we can contribute to the world is not just vital to our self-esteem, but is also critical to our safety and our survival.

A woman who loves and respects herself, a woman full of confidence and purpose, a woman with goals and solid plans, is less likely to be victimized.

No human deserves to be victimized by anyone, and they especially don’t deserve it at the hands of their spouses, lovers and ex-lovers. It’s true that no one, including women, can guarantee their safety in every situation, but we can be empowered, and we can make better decisions.

We can decrease the likelihood that we will find ourselves victimized, missing…

… Dead.

Once we can learn to appreciate who we are, we can make better choices involving men who do not love and respect us at least as much as we love and respect ourselves.

When it comes to dating and marriage, we need to stop thinking of ourselves as the exception, rather than the rule.

Yes, ladies, we are wonderful and unique. We have different talents and abilities, and what we bring to our relationships cannot be duplicated by any other human on this planet.

None of that, however, means we’ll be treated any differently than any other woman has ever been treated when it comes to certain men.

Some men are abusers, and it really is just that simple.

The fact that they abuse women has nothing to do with who we are- including our flaws, or our shortcomings- and has everything to do with who they are. Some men may try to convince us otherwise, but their words do not make reality.

If a potential suitor has a history of violence, the chances are good that this man is still capable of being violent. This is true regardless of all the wonderful things we may feel we can do for this suitor that all the other women in his life were unable/unwilling to do.

If a boyfriend’s temper seems a little close to the boiling point over minor issues while dating, it will get worse once married, worse still during pregnancy, and will continue escalating in the years following childbirth.

Yes, it will.

We are exceptional women- all of us- but we are being irresponsible to assume that we are the exception.

It’s time we stopped being victims.

Dedicated to Jacque Rawson Waller. My thoughts and prayers are with your children, family and friends. RIP, and know you were loved by many, near and far.

Posted in C-Haze, Change, Dating, Relationships, Sex, Single Mom

Steve Harvey, Standards and Dating

I have been a fan of Steve Harvey’s for years.

I loved the original Kings of Comedy, and faithfully watched the Steve Harvey Show for years.

Nowadays I listen to his radio program every morning on my way to work, and his book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” is definitely on my list of must-reads.

Recently Mr. Harvey was on Oprah promoting the book.

One of the things he talked about really struck me as a single woman.

Steve believes women have set the dating bar way too low.

I agree.

We have no standards anymore.

Harvey tells Oprah, “Women talk about [how] chivalry’s dead. Chivalry’s not dead– it’s just not required anymore”.

Again, he’s right.

Dating is tricky- it’s exhausting, and really isn’t that much fun- not for me, at least.

I hate those first few initial dates… everything is all formal and uncomfortable…

… Nervewracking.

Inevitably, just as I’m starting to feel ok around Mr. Wonderful, as I’m getting to know him better, I begin to realize…

He really isn’t all that wonderful.

Great.

Back to the drawing board.

It gets exhausting, and at times it’s hard to keep my chin up.

I find myself wondering if the problem is me… am I asking too much?

Steve Harvey believes that women need to have strict standards… and that we need to stick to them.

Personally speaking, I have 3 iron-clad requirements:

  1. He must have his own transportation
  2. He must have a job- and currently be supporting himself
  3. He must have his own place

I think my 3 criteria are pretty basic…

… But you’d be amazed.

Seems that looking for someone who has a car, a job and his own place puts me into the “picky” category.

I don’t want to date a man who lives with his parents- this inevitably means we have to spend all our time, when not out, at my house. Some days I don’t feel like cleaning. Sometimes I don’t feel like being the host. It’s nice to have options every once in a while.

I don’t want to date a man who does not have his own method of transportation. I am not willing to do all the driving anytime we go out or just want to see each other.

I don’t want to date a man who cannot support himself.

I am a single mother- I have to take care of myself and my 2 daughters.

I simply do not have the means or the energy- let alone the inclination- to take care of a grown ass man.

I have too many responsibilities of my own.

None of my requirements seem unreasonable to me… afterall, I am not asking anything of anyone that I, myself, do not have.

I have my own place.

I have my own car.

I have a job, and I support myself.

Yet, when I try and explain to people that these three requirements are non-negotiable with me, I am called a gold-digger.

Seriously.

After a while, I find myself making excuses…

“Well, we are in a recession… times are tough… it’s not so bad that he lives with his parents…”

“The job market sucks… unemployment is really high… it’s not so bad that he doesn’t have a job…”

The problem is that while lowering my standards I am  increasing my odds of actually landing a date- I am also drastically decreasing my chances of finding someone I can respect… someone whose company I can truly enjoy… someone I feel is worth getting to know.

So many of us need to remind ourselves that a relationship is not the end-all-be-all in this world.

It’s not necessary to our survival.

Let’s stop lowering our standards… let’s stop being afraid of being alone…

… And let’s show the men out there that we are women worth working hard for.

Thanks to Steve Harvey for reminding me that if chivalry’s dead, it’s only because I have killed it.

Posted in C-Haze, Change, Current Events, Dating, Hope, News, Policy, Politics, Relationships, Religion, Science, Sex, Single Mom

AIDS, Andino, and The Diva

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the AIDS epidemic- both in the U.S. and abroad.

I’ve blogged about it myself on more than one occassion.

It’s been my stance, since day one, that one of the keys to curbing what is fast becoming a plague is education.

The abstinence-only approach isn’t just unrealistic- it is dangerous.

It simply isn’t enough.

Some people may take well to a lesson on abstinence, but many others will ignore it entirely.

Too often, parents use abstinence as a cop-out. It’s an excuse not to have to talk about things we do not feel comfortable discussing.

As parents, we need to get over it.

We must educate our children. We must remove the stigma that is currently attached to having open, candid conversations with them.

AIDS will kill our babies if we don’t.

My oldest daughter, The Diva (she’s 10), was trying to make some money by doing extra chores the other day.

She decided to clean out The Hippie Andino’s car- he’s my 25 year-old baby brother.

I thought this was a wonderful idea.

When she was done with the job, she came back inside, and I immediately noticed the look of horror on her face. She was holding something in her hand, though I couldn’t tell what it was.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

She answers, in an accusing tone, “Look what I found in The Hippie Andino’s trunk…”, and shoves the contents of her hand in my face.

When I saw what she was holding, I could immediately feel the heat in my cheeks. Though I really had no reason to be, I found myself embarrassed for her.

She was holding a tattered box of condoms.

Oops.

I was confused by her tone… why is she being accusatory? Why is she acting as my brother is doing something wrong by having safe sex?

I decided to take this opportunity to speak candidly with my child- and hopefully turn this into a teaching moment.

So I asked her, “Why would you be upset?”

She responded, “Because- they’re condoms. Gross.”

I said to her, “He is being responsible. He’s having safe sex. He isn’t getting anyone pregnant, and he is protecting himself and his partner from sexually transmitted diseases.”

I explained that while condoms may seem “gross” to her right now, they are important.

They save lives.

The Diva’s world opened up just a little at that moment.

She didn’t view those condoms in disgust or contempt any longer, and with great relief I realized, she gets it.

It isn’t necessary to constantly harp on our children, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week about the horrors of sex and AIDS.

This particular exchange took less than five minutes, from start to finish.

We can educate our babies a step at a time- provided we start the process early enough. By the time they find themselves old enough to be faced with these grave decisions, they will have already had all the information they need to make the right choices.

Hopefully, by then, it will be second nature.

With absolutely no bombarding whatsoever- by taking advantage of the little teaching moments life throws our way- we can raise our kids to be responsible adults…

… One educational opportunity at a time.

Posted in C-Haze, Dating, Nostalgia, Relationships

Letting Go…

I’m not a sappy chick by nature- I’m not usually into the poetry thing or the over-sugarfied love songs.

Every once in a while life throws even the least romantic among us a curve ball…

I guess I’m no exception.

We’ve all been in one of those relationships, or found ourselves in situations where we knew we simply needed to let go.

You know what I’m talking about…

Intellectually it’s a no-brainer, in our minds we know it’s time to walk…

… But our hearts can make it impossible.

I came across this poem tonight, it’s one I’ve seen before, and it explains what I mean better than any words I could ever come up with on my own.

Letting go isn’t a helpless scenario… it is not synonymous with giving up.

We simply have to realize that there are things- people- who come in and out of our lives, that we cannot control.

Sometimes, for their sake and ours, we must let go.

 

 Letting Go
Author unknown

To “let go” does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To “let go” is not to cut myself off,
it’s the realization I can’t control another.

To “let go” is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To “let go” is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To “let go” is not to try to change or blame another,
it’s to make the most of myself.

To “let go” is not to care for,
but to care about.

To “let go” is not to fix,
but to be supportive.

To “let go” is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.

To “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To “let go” is not to be protective,
it’s to permit another to face reality.

To “let go” is not to deny,
but to accept.

To “let go” it not to nag, scold or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings, and correct them.

To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires
but to take each day as it comes,
and cherish myself in it.

To “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybody
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To “let go” is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To “let go” is to fear less,
and love more.

Posted in C-Haze, Dating, Relationships, Single Mom

First Dates, P. Diddy and Production Studios

I hate first dates. They are awkward and weird and I really just wish there was some way to avoid them altogether… without just not dating at all, of course.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just skip past those few embarrassing (and let’s face it, downright scary) initial meetings and move straight to the part where you’re actually comfortable around one another?

Usually, even if I end up liking the guy in question, I tend to feel the need to fast forward through the first three dates.

This is when the situation is most perilous, and boy is the pressure on. 

During this time things could still go either way very easily… and I know if he gets food stuck in his teeth, has bad breath or propositions me for sex, he’s toast.

(Shudder)

I have serial dater friends that love those first few meetings with a new guy. They get high off of the adrenaline rush that’s produced by the prospect of finding new love… only to get tired of him after a few weeks- at which point they repeat the cycle with someone new, over and over again.

They call this fun.

I call it torture. Seriously.

I haven’t had the best of luck in the search for my dearly beloved…

There was the guy who just couldn’t commit, no matter what- his famous quote was, “Just be patient…” but when it came time to actually go for it, he never could quite pull the trigger.

Then there was “Be Patient” guy’s polar opposite- the one who wanted to move in with me after only physically laying eyes on me twice. Shit- he didn’t see the need to be patient at all.

Is there not a happy medium?

Next came the guy I thought I was meeting for dinner… only due to a mix up via text message… in showing up realized not only was he not the guy I thought I had made the date with, but was someone whose name I didn’t even know.

It was slightly uncomfortable when the main course arrived and I still had no idea who I was dining with.

That was strike one for internet dating. I realized that for the life of me, I couldn’t keep these people straight. I had to resort to keeping track of them via spreadsheet.

Not exactly romantic.

After that, there were several men back-to-back who after a few times out revealed they lived with their parents and were unemployed… in spite of being 35 years old.

In between those guys were men who kept trying to impress me by claiming to be the next P. Diddy- with their “production studios” in their basements. They scoffed at such things as traditional employment, having their own place and owning a car… claiming their big break was just around the corner…

Sigh.

I’ll never forget the people I met while out and about who asked me for my phone number, told me they were interested in me… only to later admit that they still have girlfriends… “not to worry”, they’d tell me, “I’m getting ready to dump her… I just wanted to find a replacement first”.

Ugh. As if finding a relationship is like shopping for car insurance. We certainly don’t want a lapse in coverage… err… girlfriends!

I suppose I wasn’t anticipating the challenges I’ve had… I thought the things I was looking for were pretty simple, really. 

I don’t want to get remarried, and I don’t want any more kids. I’m not looking for anything too serious… I want someone to spend time with when my daughters are at their dad’s house. I’m not looking for another father for my children, hell, I’m not even looking to introduce anyone to them…

When I try to communicate this to potential dates, they often misunderstand me, as apparently when a woman says she’s not looking for anything serious, this sounds like “I am only looking for sex.”

In spite of it all, I have decided to give this thing another try… I guess I need you to wish me luck, and usher the fairies of Positive Dating Experiences my way… cuz here I go again.