Arkansas Man Gets Life in Homosexual Rape Trial

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

( - Joshua Macabe Brown, one of two men charged with the 1999 rape and murder of a 13-year-old Arkansas boy, was sentenced Friday to life in prison for first-degree murder, the maximum allowed under state law. The 23-year-old had already been sentenced to 25 years for raping the boy.

Jesse Dirkhising died while bound, gagged with his own underwear and repeatedly raped at the apartment Brown shared with his lover, Davis Don Carpenter.

"Usually a murder is over in a minute. In this case, this victim was left helpless and bound," Judge David Clinger told Brown. "Trying to imagine his thought process has sent shivers up my spine."

An Arkansas medical examiner testified during the trial that an autopsy revealed the boy was bound and given an overdose of an anti-depressant.

"Constant pressure on the ribs and belly" caused Dirkhising to suffocate, Dr. Stephen Erickson said.

Brown was initially charged with capital murder, but he avoided the death penalty when the jury acquitted him of that charge last week and convicted him instead of first-degree murder and sentenced him to 25 years for sexual assault.

Sentencing on the murder charge was left up to the judge when the jury deadlocked over the penalty.

Brown's attorney argued that Carpenter, Brown's roommate, manipulated him into raping the boy, but the judge told Brown, "I find absolutely not a single shred of evidence in this case that Mr. Carpenter ever forced you to do anything that you didn't want to do."

In an interview with, the public defender's office expressed disappointment over the judge's decision.

"I just feel a great deal of sadness toward Josh and his life, and while I have respect for the judge and the court in this situation, I had wished that this could have been resolved by the jury. It's my understanding that there were 11 to 1 jurors who were willing to impose a sentence which would allow the possibility for parole," Louis Lim, chief deputy public defender, said.

"And in a case involving this young man, despite the ugliness of this case and the inflammatory nature of the crime, I do believe he has some intrinsic worth and he has the capacity to be a good human being. I've seen those aspects about him, and it's just very unfortunate that he'll never be able to fully realize those aspects of his personality," Lim added.

"It's just a sad case all around and very tragic," he said.

Carpenter faces a capital murder trial in the case in May.