Murder of 13-Year-Old 'Could Have Been Prevented'

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

( - The rape and murder of a 13-year-old Arkansas boy allegedly at the hands of a homosexual couple was a "horrible death that could have been prevented," the boy's grandmother told

Betty Yates, the grandmother of 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising, said the boy's parents never should have allowed the child to stay overnight with the two men.

"The parents put him in a situation he shouldn't have been in," Yates told "They knowingly let him spend weekends with the two guys knowing they were gay."

Yates' comments concur with a statement by Joshua Macave Brown, 22, who told police he and the victim had been sexually involved for approximately two months, and the boy died during sex "games," according to a police affidavit released to

Brown and Davis Don Carpenter, 38, each are charged with one count of capital murder and six counts of rape stemming from the Sept. 26 death of Dirkhising, who is also known as Jesse Yates. The accused, who pleaded not guilty, were ordered held without bond.

Yates told the defendants were friends of Jesse's mother and stepfather, who live in nearby Prairie Grove. For the last two or three months, Jesse had been coming to work weekends at Carpenter's beauty salon, and spent the weekend at the mens' apartment with the parents' knowledge and consent, Yates said.

The boy was found close to death at the apartment of the suspects, who police also described as homosexual lovers. The affidavit also said that "Brown stated that he was Davis Carpenter's lover."

According to the affidavit, Brown told police that on the morning of September 26, he sneaked up on the boy, tied his hands behind his back, placed a pair of undershorts in the teen's mouth and secured the briefs with a bandana and duct tape. He said he blindfolded the youth, bound him to a bed and repeatedly sodomized him while Carpenter watched.

"Jesse was a typical 13-year-old good kid," Yates said. "You do not put a 13-year-old child into a situation like that. It had been going on for about two months and he had told them he did not want to go back."

Yates told that relations between her and the boy's mother, Tina Yates, were strained even before she learned of her grandson's death. During a family visit some months previously, Tina Yates said she was excited that the gay couple had taken an interest in her son, Betty Yates said.

"I said, 'Do they not have kids'? And she said, 'Well, they're two guys, they're gay.' When they left, I said to my husband, 'Do you know what they're doing?' But he's real big on minding your own business. Now I'm sorry I didn't pursue it. We shouldn't have minded our own business that time. It was a horrible death that could have been prevented," Betty Yates said.

Investigators said they found what appeared to be notes from Carpenter to Brown, instructing him how to bind and sedate a child. A preliminary autopsy showed that the boy died from "positional asphyxiation." Police said the boy was sodomized with several objects.

The muted press reaction to the slaying starkly contrasts with coverage of the murder of Matthew Shepard, a homosexual University of Wyoming student who was beaten to death last October.

Christopher D. Plumlee, deputy prosecuting attorney for Benton County, Ark., who investigated Jesse's death, told reporters he was a "little surprised" at the limited coverage this "horrible crime against a child" received.

Tina Yates, the boy's mother, could not be reached for comment. The next court appearance for the accused is Dec. 8. They are tentatively scheduled to go on trial April 10.