Things That Matter

The Murder of a Teen Mom By Her Boyfriend is Raising a Discussion Around the Prevalence of Femicide in Abusive Relationships

On Thursday, 27-year-old Junior Fayiah Carlos was sentenced to life in prison over the violent murder of his 19-year-old girlfriend, Christine D’Cruz. According to reports, Carlos murdered D’Cruz on December 30, 2017 in her apartment in Mandurah, Perth, Australia. Carlos killed D’cruz in a fit of rage after they had been arguing about the paternity of their child, who was just weeks old. Carlos claimed that he killed D’Cruz in self-defense after she had gotten ahold of a kitchen knife and threatened him. However, prosecutors noted that he was “delusional” due to the dangerous cocktail of drugs and alcohol he was on at the time. 

According to reports, Carlos was high on marijuana, methamphetamines, and sleeping pills when he stabbed her 35 times, partially decapitating her. 

After he killed D’Cruz, Carlos apparently covered her with a blanket, left her in the bathroom, and fell asleep. 15 hours later, he called a friend and allegedly admitted: “she’s dead”. According to authorities, Carlos and D’Cruz had had a turbulent relationship during the two years they were together. Two weeks before D’Cruz was murdered, she had even filed a restraining order against Carlos, but continued to see him. D’Cruz’s family claims that D’Cruz had long been abusing her, citing unexplained bruises and other injuries she suffered before his death. According to records, Carlos had also been previously convicted for attacking a former partner of his. 

The death of 19-year-old Christine D’Cruz is making international headlines because it shines a spotlight on the fatal violence that women universally experience at the hands of men. 

Femicide–what the Oxford dictionary defines as “the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender”–has been at the top of people’s minds in recent days. On November 3rd, women took to the streets of Mexico to march in honor of Dia de Muertas–The Day of Dead Women. The march was a tribute to the thousands of women who have died due to domestic violence in Mexico–nine every day. The activists staged the march to be right after Mexico’s famous Dia de Muertos in order to bring awareness to the public health crisis that plagues Mexico and, indeed, countries across the world.

According to the World Health Organization, femicide is usually “committed by partners or ex-partners, and involves ongoing abuse in the home, threats or intimidation, sexual violence or situations where women have less power or fewer resources than their partner”. The same study revealed that while only 5% of all murders of men are committed by an intimate partner, 35% of all murders of women globally are reported to be committed by an intimate partner. 

It’s also notable that although D’Cruz had seemingly taken steps towards ending the relationship (i.e. taking out a restraining order against Carlos), she still kept seeing him in private.

 As domestic violence activist Beverly Gooden revealed before in her viral Twitter hashtag campaign #WhyIStayed, there are a myriad of reasons why women stay in abusive relationships. “It’s not easy to leave when you remember how it used to be, or when they romance you during the good times,” Gordon stated on her website. “Or when they promise it is the last time. Because you believe in love and you believe in them”. 

Emotional reasons aren’t the only reasons women stay in abusive relationships. They also do out of fear for their lives. According to the 2018 Femicide Census, “55% of the women killed by their ex-partner or ex-spouse in 2017 were killed within the first month of separation and 87% in the first year”. For women, sometimes staying seems like the safer option. 

Since Carlos’s sentencing, D’Cruz’s family is now teaming up with domestic violence groups to seek an inquest into the way the authorities handled the murder of their daughter.

Although Carlos is headed to jail, the family is still suffering from what they feel was a mishandling of their daughter’s murder case.  Although Carlos was sentenced to life in prison, he will be eligible for parole in just 19 years. Although we can’t read the minds of the parents of Christine D’Cruz, we can’t help but wonder if they consider the possibility of such a brief sentence as justice for the lost life of their daughter. 

According to the family’s impact statements at the time of the trial, D’Cruz’s family is devastated and plagued by grief at the death of their beloved daughter. They expressed sorrow that their granddaughter would now grow up without a mother. They revealed that D’Cruz had dreams of working in childcare. The judge in the case revealed that D’Cruz’s father still “looked around for his daughter even though he knew she was dead”.

This Couple Traveled To Tijuana To Collect Rent From Their Tenants, Now Police Have Found Five Bodies On Their Property

Things That Matter

This Couple Traveled To Tijuana To Collect Rent From Their Tenants, Now Police Have Found Five Bodies On Their Property

Unsplash

Last week a California couple was reported missing by their family in Garden Grove – a suburb of Los Angeles. The couple had traveled to Tijuana (where they were originally from) to collect the rent from the tenant who was living on their property. Unfortunately, they never returned home.

With the ever increasing violence in Tijuana, their family feared the worse and a few days later was confirmed when police located their bodies. However, the story continues to develop as a total of three more bodies have been found on their property.

Investigators say that two more bodies (for a total of 5) have been discovered on a Tijuana property where a California couple disappeared.

Credit: Fiscalía General / Baja California

Jesus Ruben Lopez Guillen, 70, and his wife Maria Teresa Lopez, 65, of Garden Grove, a couple with dual U.S.-Mexico citizenship, vanished on January 10 after they crossed the border to collect more than $6,700 in rent from tenants of two houses they owned in Tijuana. Their bodies turned up in one of the houses, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported, citing Mexican investigators.

The attorney general’s office for the state of Baja California, just south of San Diego, said late Saturday the second set of bodies – one male and the other female – are in a state of advanced decomposition. All four bodies were covered in lime when they were found by investigators.

The story started when the couple traveled to Tijuana to collect rent on properties they owned – and then never returned to California.

Credit: Garden Grove Police Department

When the couple failed to return home the next day, their daughter, Norma Lopez, reported the couple missing.

Garden Grove police opened a missing person case after the Guilléns were reported missing. Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney said their daughter had been tracking her parents though the Find My iPhone app, which last showed the couple at their property in the Colonia Obrero neighborhood south of downtown Tijuana, about four miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Then the phone went dead, and she could not track them anymore, Whitney said.

Police have since arrested their son-in-law in connection with the murders.

The man accused of killing the couple, their son-in-law, was ordered by a judge to remain in police custody while the state’s prosector’s office continues to gather evidence. According to authorities, they likely have enough evidence to charge him the murders of each of the victims found on the two properties.

Authorities suspect the man killed his in-laws in a dispute over money. They say he confessed to burying them on one of their properties, where he lived.

The judge during the hearing Sunday ruled Santiago will remain in jail under “forced disappearance” charges.

A “forced disappearance” charge is not as serious as a homicide charge, but it is still a felony in Mexico. It means the man is accused of trying to make the couple disappear. The charge can be used in cases of living or deceased victims. The man also was accused of something similar to obstruction of justice, for allegedly misleading investigators and refusing to assist in the investigation.

Prosecutors said investigators have obtained cell phone records, text messages and video camera footage of the defendant and of the victims’ truck — evidence prosecutors said contradicted his statements to police.

Tekashi69 Fears Going To Prison After Turning Informant On Gang During Trial

Entertainment

Tekashi69 Fears Going To Prison After Turning Informant On Gang During Trial

6ix9ine / Instagram

Rapper Tekashi69 may have been sentenced to two years in prison last month, but he’s already petitioned the judge presiding over his case to serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement for fear of his life. Tekashi, born Daniel Hernandez, was initially facing 37 years in prison, for firearms, racketeering, shootings, and robbery charges. His cooperation in taking down his own gang, the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, reduced his prison sentence to two years. However, this means that Hernandez was transferred from a federal jail to a private prison alongside “various members of the Bloods,” according to Hernandez’s attorney, Lance Lazzaro, in a motion to modify Hernandez’s prison sentence. The term “snitches get stitches” is gang culture canon for a reason and Hernandez’s cooperation ensured the conviction of two Nine Trey gang members, a Bloods gang.

Now, Lazzaro is trying to get Hernandez out of prison by emphasizing that “Hernandez’s safety is still, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, seriously at risk.”

Daniel Hernandez, a.k.a. Tekashi69, hoped that his cooperation would warrant his immediate release from custody after pleading guilty to his charges.

CREDIT: 6IX9INE / INSTAGRAM

Judge Paul A. Engelmayer spoke directly to Hernandez in the courtroom last month when he told him, “Your conduct was too violent, too sustained, too destructive, too selfish, and too reckless with respect to public safety to make a sentence of 13 months at all reasonable,” according to The New York Times. Hernandez pleaded guilty to several shootings and robberies and appeared genuinely remorseful at his hearing. At one point, one of his victims testified about her experience of being shot by Hernandez. “I know I was wrong,” he reportedly said through tears. “I was weak. I was easily influenced. I can’t believe that was me. Again, your honor, there is no apology good enough.”

When Hernandez read his statement to the court, he spotted the father he hadn’t seen in over a decade in the crowd.

CREDIT: 6IX9INE / INSTAGRAM

Hernandez, 23, was giving his measured statement to the court when he visibly started to get emotional. Hernandez told Judge Engelmayer that he just noticed his biological father, who abandoned his family when Hernandez was in third grade, in the audience. The man confirmed and requested that he take the podium but Engelmayer told him that he “squandered” that right “many, many years ago.” 

The man and performer we knew as Tekashi69 has seemed to evolve during his court proceedings. Up until his arrest, Hernandez routinely rapped about gang life and his disdain for the law. Just one day after his arrest, however, he started “snitching” to the federal government on the Bloods.

The judge has described his cooperation as “game-changing” and “brave,” but it also makes him a serious target.

CREDIT: @ALMIGHTYJOKA / TWITTER

“As the court is well aware, Rolland Martin, a co-conspirator convicted in Hernandez’s case, was almost killed in a Bureau of Prisons facility, not for cooperating with the government, but for merely renouncing his membership in the gang,” Lazzaro told the court. Hernandez has not only renounced the gang but has “provided the government with critical insight into the structure and organization of Nine Trey” prosecutors stated in a court document meant to seek leniency in his sentencing. 

“Your cooperation was impressive. It was game-changing. It was complete and it was brave,” Judge Engelmayer told Hernandez during his sentencing, saying his cooperation “brought out the best in you, and you should be proud of yourself for it.” Since the government understands that Hernandez’s cooperation necessitates a lifetime of looking over their shoulders, his sentence has been reduced. With is safety in mind, he was sent to a private facility meant to provide extra security from Blood members. That very security measure may prove to be an obstacle in granting him early release into home confinement.

Now, Hernandez is seeking early release or to be transferred to a community correctional facility (CCC).

Credit: @ACAMBACANI / TWITTER

If his safety wasn’t a consideration, Hernandez would have been committed to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons until he was eligible for early release or a CCC. However, his cooperation with the government has imposed such a danger on his life, the Court sentenced him to a private facility without as much danger. Still, Lazzaro says that such accommodation has robbed him of the ability for an early release.

“Given the sensitive nature of his testimony as a government witness and his celebrity status, my client will have to take extreme measures for both the security of himself and his family for quite possibly the rest of their lives,” Lazzaro said, implying that a life sentence from a violent gang has already been assigned to Hernandez. 

Hernandez has declined the government’s offer of being placed in witness protection and says he wants to continue making music. In fact, just weeks before his trial, he signed a $10 million record deal. Today, he says he’s thinking of the children who have looked up to him to become an example of someone who can turn their life around.

READ: Tekashi69’s Undocumented Driver Cooperated With Federal Authorities To Avoid Being Deported