Victims no more

Jay Yerkes died on Lexington Avenue on April 24, 2004. According to the autopsy report, Yerkes’ assailant, Mark Bradley Elkins, stabbed him 11 times with a boning knife: twice in the head (leaving behind a fragment of metal from the knife), once in the neck (leaving a superficial wound), twice in the chest, twice in the back, twice on the left shoulder and once on the right one, as well as under his armpit.

Jay Yerkes. Photo courtesy of Carol Yerkes.

For this crime, the district attorney’s office arranged a plea deal that gave Elkins 16 months in prison without probation on an involuntary-manslaughter charge.

That wasn’t enough for the victim’s mother, Carol Yerkes, who says she was furious about both the plea bargain and the way the district attorney’s office handled the case. From the beginning, she asserts, the staff there was unresponsive and even hostile.

“They were very cold when it first happened,” she recalls. “We were shocked that [District Attorney Ron Moore] would say it was voluntary manslaughter.” (The charge was downgraded further in the final plea bargain.) According to Yerkes, Moore “said my son jumped on Elkins. I didn’t believe that, but even if he did, how does that give him the right to stab him 11 times? This was a month after my son was murdered, and he didn’t say, ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’ He just said, ‘Well, if someone jumped on me in the middle of the night, I’d stab them too.’ To me, that’s a very cold thing to say to a mother that just lost her son.”

The whole process, says Yerkes, was “nightmarish. We had little idea of what we were facing or how to deal with it.” And she believes her personal tragedy typifies the criminal-justice system’s treatment of victims and their families, whose feelings and problems, she maintains, are often lost in the shuffle.

Moore, however, defends the plea deal, asserting that his office was “sensitive to the family’s needs, as we always are, but we had to deal with the hand given to us. This was in the middle of the night, [Yerkes] was very intoxicated, Elkins was drunk. You’ve got that. Self-defense has to do with subjective belief, and it’d be my burden to prove that it wasn’t self-defense.”

“The hand we’re dealt:” District Attorney Ron Moore defends his office’s handling of Yerkes’ killing. Photo by Jonathan Welch

Asked about his office’s interactions with the Yerkes family, Moore said: “I know [Assistant District Attorney] Kate Dreher talked to them for hours; as far as I know, everyone acted professionally. Obviously they weren’t happy with the result, but I don’t blame them for that—they lost their loved one. But we had to take the facts of the case, good and bad, and deal with it to the best of our ability.”

As for the broader issue of victims’ rights, Moore said: “We spend time with every family. We’ve had families come and support others. We try to do everything to make the process as painless as possible. I’m sorry for their loss. We tried to explain everything—but we have to take the hand we’re dealt.”

Carol Yerkes, meanwhile, is banding together with other crime victims’ family members to form Justice Advocates for You (or JAY for short), which will seek to focus attention on their concerns as well as providing legal advice and support. “Our main purpose will be to try and help them through this process—even if it’s just sitting with them in court,” she explains. “There’s so many things I wish I’d known then. The justice system gives victims’ families very little closure.”

The group’s first meeting is slated for April 17, during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (which runs April 13 to 19 this year). But according to Yerkes, even that week’s events tend to focus on the contributions of police officers rather than the problems victims and their families still face.

“We want to bring some attention to this—especially to the plea bargains, but mainly to help others get through this,” she notes.

Stabbed in the back?

Two weeks before Jay Yerkes’ death, he and Elkins had fought over Yerkes’ girlfriend at the time, Carry Sykes, and both Elkins and two friends who were with him at the time claimed that another fight had broken out after they’d all left Vincent’s Ear, a local club, the night of the killing. Sykes, however, told police that she thought the two had patched things up that night and that, although she was close behind Yerkes, she was talking with a friend in a nearby doorway, heard no struggle, and was unaware of Yerkes’ murder until she turned around and saw him lying bleeding on the sidewalk.

Xpress asked Dr. John Henderson, the Buncombe County medical examiner, to review the autopsy report (a different examiner had handled the case). “They really worked this fellow over,” said Henderson. “There was a very clear intent to do some real harm.” All the wounds except the stab wound on the neck were deep and damaging, he noted, adding, “Any one of these could have been fatal.” Henderson also pointed to a lack of the kind of defensive injuries that might indicate a struggle.

But the report, he said, also shows that Yerkes was highly intoxicated at the time of his death. And the fact that the point of entry for a wound is on the back doesn’t necessarily mean Yerkes was stabbed from behind, Henderson emphasized. “There’s just no way to tell from this” whether or not there was a fight, he concluded.

At the time of the killing, Elkins was accompanied by two men, Shane Miller and Matthew Thrailkill. Miller was on probation for a robbery conviction at the time, and he later fled—landing him on Buncombe County’s most-wanted list. Thrailkill also has a criminal record that includes convictions for DWI, hit and run, and breaking and entering.

Initially, Sykes told police that after Elkins and Yerkes seemed to have buried the hatchet, they were all walking up the street toward Shotzy’s when Elkins knocked over a trash can in front of Yerkes.

According to both Thrailkill’s and Sykes’ original testimony, Yerkes cleaned up the trash but took a small bag of it and put it on Elkins. “Jay was laughing,” noted Thrailkill. “Brad [Elkins] just grinned,” and both Thrailkill and Sykes said they thought it was a joke. “It didn’t look like they’d fight,” Thrailkill told police.

As Sykes turned back to talk to some friends, Thrailkill said he crossed the street to talk to some other people. When he turned around, he said: “I looked behind and saw them fighting. Brad was hitting from above. I ran to break it up. I saw Brad had a knife in his right hand.”

And though Thrailkill would later claim in court that Yerkes had also struck Elkins, the only blows he mentioned in his initial testimony came from Elkins, who was “hitting down onto Jay’s shoulder [with the knife]. There was no screaming, no yelling, no talking.”

No stone unturned?

Voluntary manslaughter, the original charge against Elkins, means killing someone without malice. It ranks just below second-degree murder, which involves killing with malice but without premeditation.

Carol Yerkes believes Moore simply wanted to clear the case and thus offered an overly lenient plea deal. She also asserts that he didn’t pursue Miller, who had fled the scene of the murder. (Moore, however, said the Police Department had “left no stone unturned” in attempting to track down Miller.) Also, notes Yerkes,  because a jury never heard the case, no mention was made of some potentially significant evidence—such as the autopsy report’s finding that some of her son’s wounds had been inflicted from behind.

“The way the whole thing was handled, it just wasn’t right,” she says. “[Moore] wants solved cases—I don’t think he cares how they’re solved. I don’t believe justice was done.”

As a result of the plea bargain, Yerkes says she was denied money from the N.C. Crime Victims Compensation Commission, since the involuntary-manslaughter conviction led the commission to rule that her son had contributed to his own death. And though the family later won an $11,000 wrongful-death ruling against Elkins, Yerkes says they’re unlikely to see any money, since her lawyer told her Elkins had no income.

Moore asserts, however, that without eyewitness testimony saying Elkins struck without provocation, it would have been hard to make a harsher charge stick.

“I can’t prove excessive force—you’ve got two people that have been drinking; they’ve fought before. [Elkins] said that Yerkes had started hitting him in the head, and I can’t prove otherwise.” Moore added that Elkins had no previous criminal record and, when apprehended by the police, had expressed regret and admitted that he’d killed Yerkes.

In a 2003 case, however, Moore sought second-degree murder charges against Hermenegildo Martinez, who killed another man with a knife in a bar fight (Martinez fled, but was later captured). And in yet another case, the district attorney charged Linda Evans with first-degree murder in her boyfriend’s death. Evans claimed self-defense, saying he’d tried to rape her. But prosecutors asserted that Evans had used excessive force, because she’d reloaded the gun after shooting him twice. After a hung jury, the charge was lowered to voluntary manslaughter.

Asked why he’d sought a lesser conviction in the Yerkes murder, Moore said: “Each case had facts. I still believe [Evans] was guilty; it’s difficult for the state to convict on first-degree murder.” As for Martinez, “It didn’t appear there was any provocation, and he ran.”

Besides having previously fought with Elkins, noted Moore, Yerkes had a prior assault conviction for a 2003 fight with his father, whom he struck with a lamp, inflicting injuries that required 11 stitches.

“In the letter [Yerkes’ father] sent to the police, unsolicited, he said he was worried his son was going to kill him,” Moore explained. And if the case had gone to trial, “the defense is going to see that history—we would have been required to turn it over.”

But according to Carol Yerkes, her husband’s injuries were an accident, and once Jay saw his father bleeding, he was shocked and stopped striking him.
“[Jay’s father] wrote that letter just after it happened—it made it sound a lot worse than it was,” she said. “It doesn’t have a thing to do with what happened that night.”
The family later reconciled, and at the time of his death, Jay was once again living with his parents.

In memory: A memorial plaque to Jay Yerkes is close to the spot on Lexington Avenue where he was slain. Photo by Jonathan Welch

Since the sentencing hearing, Yerkes has continued her efforts to publicize her son’s case, writing articles in local newspapers and pressing for change in the district attorney’s office, as well as working to form JAY.

“I want to be an advocate to help others make it through their grief and frustration of dealing with our sometimes-unfair justice system in Asheville,” Yerkes told Xpress. “Until those who have not been a victim of a crime are as outraged as those who have been, nothing will change.”

Advocacy group launched

The first meeting of Justice Advocates for You will be held Thursday, April 17, at the Shoney’s on the Smoky Park Highway, starting at 7 p.m.

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24 thoughts on “Victims no more

  1. Dean

    Let’s see: drunk, hanging out with convicted felons, got in a fight with the guy two weeks prior, got in a fight with the guy *that night*, continued to hang out with him, and previously convicted himself for beating his own father with a lamp and making his father fear for his life (despite the revisionist history now).

    There are real victims. Then there are also people who are victims but also get what they were asking for, regardless of whether they were too drunk/stoned/mean/stupid to realize it.

    I’ve read this article twice. There’s no evidence who started the fight. Even if a witness was out there you’d have to presume that he/she would be drunk and probably a criminal. They’d fought before and Elkins apparently hadn’t felt like he needed to pull a knife. If he’d jumped him unawares you would think he’d either go for the throat or really buried the knife into him one time. MX’s pathologist says it’s impossible to tell if any of the wounds came from behind. Of course it’s tragic but “beyond a reasonable doubt” some sort of murder?

    No way. Maybe to a mother but not to someone without a dog in the fight. A jury would have had to guess and that’s not justice.

    16 months may not have been enough and it may have been 16 months too long. IMO, based on this article, they’re lucky to have gotten that much.

    • I personally Know Brad, aka Scooby. He will always be my first love and I have talked to him time and time again about this. I understand as a family member to someone who has been killed that it doesnt matter the situation you’ll always be on the deads side. I know Brad wouldn’t have intentionally kill anyone. Call me cold hearted but, i have to agree with the statement from above

      There are real victims. Then there are also people who are victims but also get what they were asking for, regardless of whether they were too drunk/stoned/mean/stupid to realize it.

      I love you Brad!

  2. Lisa Dirks

    Dean,
    It’s easy to take this comment personally, as Jay’s sister, but I’m trying not to. I just thought you may like to know that Jay had NO weapon on him and the man who killed Jay had NO marks indicating that Jay had even touched him. Jay was stabbed 11 times. 11 Times! Not once, not because he was brandishing a weapon, not because Brad Elkins was being beat up….not murder? We’ve all make mistakes, but your comment that Jay deserved to die because he’d made some poor choices is cold. No one deserves to have a knife shoved into them, repeatedly…..the article also fails to mention that not only did I loose a brother and my parents a son, but my children lost their uncle and Asheville lost a brilliant artist and a caring friend. Jay was compassionate and kind and he loved people. His art was incredible and many people have been touched by him. Over 400 kids showed up for his funeral….his life was valuable and it was taken to soon. Please refrain from making hurtful comments when you don’t have all the information.
    Lisa

  3. Dean

    I typed something longer but obviously I could never change your mind about things so I won’t bother. What happened is certainly tragic and I am legitimately sorry for your loss. I don’t doubt he had many friends and loved ones although such considerations really don’t matter in a situation in which there were no eyewitnesses and thus leave us only to hypothesize about what happened.

    All I’ll say is that I never wrote that he “deserved to die”. Maybe I was too harsh but there is a difference between the kinds of victims of the Va Tech massacre and the position your brother put himself in. And I’d concede lacking in information–can only go on the article, after all. That said, I’d suspect I have the advantage in perspective.

  4. a_zhomeman

    How can anyone justify self defence,when Yerkes,was stabbed 11 times?And as I read it Yerkes, had no weapon.This is so sad and I feel for the family here.They suffer the lost of a love one then our local DA will not see Justice thro,Plea bargain Ron,shame on you.Folks its time we all wake up,We need a DA that will see Justice thro,instead of Plea bargains all the time.I am so ashamed of Mr.Moore,He has def sold his soul to the devil.

  5. Wally McLendon

    Jay worked for me at Nick-N-Willy’s in South Asheville when he was in high school.

    From what I know of Jay he was a kind gentle soul who never did anything wrong to anyone. He was just a good kid and his parents were solid people who loved him very much.

    His Mom is totally right in being outraged by the way his death was handled. 16 months for outright murder? It doesn’t make sense.

    My thoughts go out to Carol and her family. I am sure Jay is missed by many.

  6. sonias

    it never seems to be theright amount of time for somebody who did this kind of bad things.

    but, what would you like to win? you lost, your mother lost, your childrens lost, everybody who knowen him, lost!
    its time to move on, its time to let it go. there are plenty years gone with being deep in.

    start live your life, do not hang on the past and let the sun come back in your life.

    if you and your family fight over and over again, it ruins your life more than nessesary BUT it do not make your brother, your mothers son, your kids uncle, the friends buddy… alive again…

    let it go, clean your sould and erloud your family to go over it. it only can heal if you and your family move on… i know what i talk from, somebody stabbed me with an knife years ago… i was young, i survived, who knows why… they got not even jail…. just aproval time, for hurting me and my back than little baby son…

    move on, let is go, thats the only thing to heal…
    good luck and all the best

  7. DR.ANTINEOCONUS

    It would be easy to blame Diablo Moore,as his position is patently untenable,given the voluminous case law to refute his ludicrous contentions, but a more poignant question at this late juncture is …… Where is ALL the evidence, was ALL of it presently properly, did Moore share it on discovery, was there a proper pre- trial discovery??

    ANSWER NO! A proper pre trail discovery hearing hasn’t been done statutorily correct in probably 70 years IN THIS STATE, since the private fraternity known as the BAR usurped and destroyed the common law, by seizing North Carolina’s courts in 1933.

    That being said lets look at the case.
    Exhibit one: Dr. John Henderson, the Buncombe County medical examiner “Any one of these could have been fatal.” Henderson also pointed to a lack of the kind of defensive injuries that might indicate a struggle (a different examiner had handled the case).

    (1). Who was the different examiner in the case? Was he an assistant examiner,? Was a second examination done? Why didn’t Mr.Henderson do the initial exam??
    (2) The results of said autopsy, seems to indicate that Mr.Yerkes wounds were inconsistent with defensive wounds.
    (3) What was Mr Yerkes blood alcohol content at the time of his death, and could this be a contributory factor, as to why he apparently didn’t struggle?

    Henderson’s finding’s would directly impeach and refute any premise,Moore and his band of corporate agents, masquerading, as lawfully elected officials of the State might have in this case

    Prima Facie evidence suggests Yerkes assailant, Mark Bradley Elkins attacked the victim like a savage, rabid, animal, thus inflicting a debilitating life threatining wound, on the very first thrust of the Murder weapon,

    And though Thrailkill would later claim in court that Yerkes had also struck Elkins, the only blows he mentioned in his initial testimony came from Elkins, who was “hitting down onto Jay’s shoulder [with the knife]. THERE WAS NO SCREAMING, NO YELLING, NO TALKING”

    Yerkes was already mortally wounded with the first blow struck, witnesses testimony corroborates D.R Henderson’s contention,that Yerkes never resisted, or put up any struggle, in fact, it suggests Yerkes was caught by surprise !!!

    Exhibit 2 “ because a jury never heard the case, no mention was made of some potentially significant evidence—such as the autopsy report’s finding that some of her son’s wounds had been inflicted from behind”.

    This is a travesty and speaks for its self, this goes to denial of Due process and blatant evidence tampering, shielding and sequestering of evidence. That’s a biggy

    Exhibit 3: And though the family later won an $11,000 wrongful-death ruling against Elkins, Yerkes says they’re unlikely to see any money, since her lawyer told her Elkins had no income.

    This is much like the OJ Simpson Matter,in which, Simpson, was found Guilty of wrongful death, in a civil trial, while initially being acquitted in a criminal mock trial.It looks like Elkins, had at least 12 slave U.S. citizens, on a petit jury, find him at least complicent in Yerkes death. The Yerkes matter was never tried in Kangaroo BUNCOMBE Superior Court, BY jury, which is not really a court at all, but a corporation with a federal F.I,E,N. masquerading as a court. Again this all goes to DUE PROCESS violations.

    Incidentally, the sheep people might like to know. Trial BY jury. is not the same thing as a jury trial. The last trial by jury was in 1938.

    Exhibit 3: Big Fat Lie: “Moore asserts, however, that without eyewitness testimony saying Elkins struck without provocation, it would have been hard to make a harsher charge stick”.

    NON SENSE! 11 times!!!! GIVE ME A BREAK!!! Eye witness testimony is incidental to this element, Prima Facie evidence is, this was excessive and brutal force, which goes to intent, which was clearly. to kill Yerkes and indeed premeditated.

    Ill give a second installment Saturday,suffice it to say Diablo Moore will soon be joining his BAR CARD demon friend Mickey Nifong, up that famous river Styx, without the proverbial paddle, no corporation, or federal, three letter alphabet agency, can stop justice now. The truth will shortly be exposed!

    In defense of Moore, I’ll simply say, he’s simply doing the job of his father, the real people to blame, are the stupid U.S. citizens out there, who have lets GOD’S law, which were embodied in the common law,
    to be destroyed,by a private fraternity, called THE BAR, who are the modern day Pharisees and who have subverterted both constitutional and statutory law, in favor of private equity contractual law, where bonds are placed on men’s heads and worked out by plea barging IE corporate negotiation in equity,

    Moore is simply the titular head, ceo, of a corporation acting under color of law. Simply put; with apologies to Marlin Brando, “ITS JUST BUSSINESS_
    Check it out boys, you too Diablo Commodum ex iniuria sua nemo habere debet

  8. a_zhomeman

    DR.ANTINEOCONUS,I beleive I heard somewhere that Mr. Moore the DA,told Mrs. Yerkes attorney that the Clerk had destroyed ,or lost some of the evidence.I think I have heard that,maybe Mrs.Yerkes can ver this if she is reading this.If that is to be true,then we have another crimanal act hear,wouldn’t we.If Mrs. Yerkes saids this to be true then I def would beleive her.

  9. Lisa Dirks

    Sonias
    Our family has moved on. We still miss Jay as we always will, but know that he is with the Lord and that brings us great comfort. What my mom is trying to do is to expose the corruption in the DA’s office and to help other families who may also be experiencing unjust treatment. If we can’t use the circumstances, that God allows to happen, to help others then it is all in vain. I’m proud of my mom. She is using a very tragic event to now walk beside other families. When you’ve just found out a loved one has been murdered, you need people to listen, people who can offer sound advice and people to help you navigate through the justice system. Having gone through it, my mom can offer much support and assistance to others who haven’t yet had their cases closed.
    We have a responsibility, as citizens of Asheville and as taxpayers, to make sure that those in positions, such as Ron Moore, are being fair, objective and senstivie to families of violent crimes. Thank you for caring enough to comment

  10. Rob Close

    I was actually on the scene a few minutes after it happened, and drove Jay’s 2 companions (then-roommates of one of my best friends – i can’t say i really knew jay, but our mutual friends were all very gentle-souls) to find some police to tell their account to (we found some in pritchard park minutes later.)

    According to the 2 friends who had been out with Jay & Carry – there was NO way Jay was instigating that fight. They all believed the troubles had been sorted through – that is, that Mark had gotten over the fact that Jay was now the one holding hands with Carry. But clearly that wasn’t the case – their account led me to believe that this was a murder of blind rage and jealously – That it happened so fast and without any clear struggle or loud noises.

    which adds up to 2nd degree murder, clearly. that this got dropped to a lesser charge, then another, leads me to believe the D.A. was merely trying to get another success in his notch, and not caring about if justice was being served – plea bargaining abusing the system once again.

    and hey, D.A. Moore – just because elkins says that yerke hit him over the head, doesn’t mean the burden of proof is on the dead guy. did elkins have a any proof that he was struck first? he had the (later) word of one of his friends, but i’m thinking that was a perjury added to help his buddy out. if jay’s punch HAD come first, of course the friends would have mentioned that in their first testimony – that matthew didn’t leads me to believe he’s a liar. or the punch came after a stab, in which case it’s irrelevant.

    regardless – one guy stabbed another unarmed guy repeatedly over a girl, both while drunk = 2nd degree murder. 16 months locked up? only gonna happen to a WHITE kid. that’s the real story.

  11. R. Ledford

    Our family has moved on. We still miss Jay as we always will, but know that he is with the Lord and that brings us great comfort. What my mom is trying to do is to expose the corruption in the DA’s office and to help other families who may also be experiencing unjust treatment. If we can’t use the circumstances, that God allows to happen, to help others then it is all in vain. I’m proud of my mom. She is using a very tragic event to now walk beside other families. When you’ve just found out a loved one has been murdered, you need people to listen, people who can offer sound advice and people to help you navigate through the justice system. Having gone through it, my mom can offer much support and assistance to others who haven’t yet had their cases closed.
    We have a responsibility, as citizens of Asheville and as taxpayers, to make sure that those in positions, such as Ron Moore, are being fair, objective and senstivie to families of violent crimes. Thank you for caring enough to comment

    Lisa, I think that you and your Mother are very choragus, to do what you are doing. Moore and his corrupt bunch have been doing the plea bargain thing now for years. They def don’t want to go to trial, all they want are Static’s that will make their record look good. They have no recourse. I would suggest that your Mother report Mr. Moore to the N.C. State Bar about his and his office’s behavior. Sounds to me that his office was very unprofessional , plus very unethical. My Prayers are with you all and good luck against this bunch here in Asheville.

  12. sonias

    @ rob

    also there is something true in, right sees colors.
    when my son and me was nearly murderd (we both where more than 6 month in hospital, my sons, he was only 2 year old back than, hip broke, his hand was damaged and so on… i still have problems, after 15 years!) it made in difference that i´m black and they where white. and i did not even know that people…

    but somehow, there is not realy an right and wrong, even that guy who murdert his friend while drunken, he somehow will have lifelong. he is not, so far i read that here, an professional criminal, he killed his “friend” and he always will remember…

  13. Becky Pez

    Lisa… what a sad sad way to lose your brother. I never knew the details before. Thinking of you and your family.
    Love ~beckypez

  14. ohforshame

    funny that this article about bringing people to “justice” made front page news, but the story of a glen chapman recently released from death row after 14 years for being wrongly convicted for a murder he didn’t commit got hardly a few lines. to want to bring someone to “justice” is as silly a concept as “victim’s rights.”

  15. Mendina

    You’re all full of it. I know for a FACT that this week the DA’s office spent 4 days trying a father who molested his daughter for years. Ultimately it was he-said/she-said even though he’s obviously a creep and the JURY found him not guilty. They did the best they could for that little girl but your typical Asheville citizens let him loose. (He flunked a lie detector test but of course that’s not adllowed by the courts.) But the media never covers stories like that, do they? When the das officice does its best and the justice system lets THEM down. There are so many freeks and weirdos either from here or who have moved here that you never know what a jury in Buncombe county will do! What seems obvious to some people isn’t to others, and its almost impossible to get 12 people to agree on anything. So just maybe the da isn’t “corrupt” but he’s got a really hard job, and anyone who thinks kate Dreher is scared to try a case is dumber than a rock.

    And btw, rob close is wrong. YES, the burden of proof is always on the DA. That’s high school civics. They have to prove it wasn’t self defense and you think it “clearly” wasn’t because the only trials you’ve ever watched have been at the movies.

  16. Chad Nesbitt

    Mendina,

    What about the Andrew Reed case?

    Would you please provide the name of the person on trial you mentioned in your post? It is public record. I would like to check into it.

    Speaking of Kate Dreher, why was the Clement family upset with her and Ron Moore?

  17. Rob Close

    2 things

    1) there’s been a persistent rumour in MANY circles around town for YEARS that our D.A. Ron Moore is a large-scale COCAINE DEALER. the current rumour going around is that he has been stripped of doing his day-to-day job – though proof of this has been offered by nobody. Do I believe it? Well, if believe = willingness to act, i’m willing to at least ask if it’s true. But it’s definitely all rumours. Anyone know more?

    2) Burden of proof in this situation seems like a crock of shit, though Civics probably would love to tell me i’m wrong. However, common sense tells me this much:
    a) if i’m getting stabbed, and i throw a punch back – the puncher is acting in self-defense.
    b) if i’m getting punched, and i throw a knife – i’ve now escalated the situation, and 11 stabs is NOT self-defense, it’s murder. Consider the legality of shooting someone – it’s only attempted homicide if you’re aim above the…knee i think?

    point being – there are appropriate maneuvers you can define as ‘acting in self-defense’. stabbing someone 11 times in what was clearly a crime of passion hardly qualifies.

    and c’mon. “Yerkes had also struck Elkins” is all we have to go on from this article. But being struck once you’ve been stabbed is NO defense of doing the stabbing.

    If you’re telling me that if i get murdered in an alley, all the guy has to do is say “oh he hit me” and he gets away with it as self-defense? He doesn’t have to show a single bruise? The difference in violence levels is incomparable. Self-defense is NO defense here, and hiding behind it makes no sense. Even if the burden of proof is technically on the state, the argument holds no water as far as i can tell.

  18. Snooy Norton

    Mendina,sounds like he might just be a close call to the DA’s office,the way he trys to hide his under education,and defend the DA’s office the way he has.But defend all you want,But Ron Moore and his bunch of so called Asst DA’s days are very well numbered.Theres just to much that has went on that was wrong in that office.Its bad when the District Attorneys office can not render Justice for the People who put them there with out lieing so much.Among so many other things we want name!Oh and by the way if its true that Plea bargain Ron made the statement to Mrs Yerkes Attorney that the Clearks office destroyed or lost evidence,Then both Bob Christy and Ron Moore deserve to be sitting behind bars them selfs.You can’t keep doing people wrong and get by,you will lose soner or later! I think that house is about to fall.Mrs Yerkes sy about your lost, but stay the course, and you got the smoke rolling,its about to find the fire.

  19. Carol Ann

    Many thanks to David Forbes for an excellent article exposing the injustice of how our case was handled by the DA’s office. We appreciate the time, research and sensitivity he has given this. However, a few facts were misunderstood and need clarification which I will comment on when I have more time.

    Thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment on this article. Thanks to my daughter for sticking up for her little brother as she always has when he needed her, especially when sadly he can’t speak for himself.

    Today is the fourth anniversary of Jay’s untimely death. Though we miss him every day, today is especially difficult. Without God’s love and the prayers of our friends and loved ones, we would never have gotten through the nightmare of the last four years. We know Jay is with his heavenly father and so much happier than ever before. If he had lived, he would have had brain damage from the knife penetrating the dura matter in both head wounds and injuring the brain. I would have been privileged to care for him in that condition, but God in His love, grace and mercy took him home to heaven and spared him all that pain and suffering. He is with his infant son he didn’t get a chance to know and his grandfathers, one of whom he never knew and the other who died when he was only two. He is with his grandmothers he dearly loved who went to Heaven in 2005 and 2007.

    He longs to be with you also. He would want you to know that God loves you and sent His only Son Jesus to die for you. God wants to give you an abundant life here on earth, but more than that He wants to give you everlasting eternal life in Heaven. Ask for God’s forgiveness and for Him to come into your life to change it and control it. With open arms Jay, along with His heavenly father, wants to welcome his friends and loved ones (who he loved and cared for more than you can imagine) to his heavenly home. It brings me great comfort to know I will see Jay again because at age nine he made a decision to trust Christ as his Savior. He would want you too, to make that decision and trust Him. This life is so short and just a dress rehearsal to get us ready for eternity. We don’t know if we will enjoy another day here or if we will face an eternity separated from God because we haven’t called on Him. I’m praying for each of you. God loves you.

    Please join us this evening, April 24th, at 7:00 PM at Lexington and College Streets by Jay’s memorial plaque to remember him on the 4th anniversary of his home going.

    My love and prayers,

    Carol

  20. tdweeks

    There are numerous cases that fit this profile, as Dr. A points out. My son’s murder in 2002 was this way as well. Dustin was killed by 4 boys, premeditated murder 1, conspiracy to comnit, confessions on video tape, slam dunk!

    DA Moore gave 3 only 12 1/2 years. I think Moore is a crook, and I wait for the day he gets to join his cronies in prison!
    Terri Weeks, Mom to Dustin Allen Meece 4/12/82-3/12/2002

    PS would love to swap notes with Dr A!!!

  21. J. Mathews

    Jay was a good guy. In the entire time I knew him I never personally witnessed him lose his temper. This wasn’t a guy that went through his days with a chip on his shoulder looking for a fight. He was always smiling, laughing, and enjoying life. So what if he had some trouble with his dad. Who doesn’t have family problems at one time or another?

    Jay didn’t deserve what he got. I don’t think there are many people that would deserve that but I can assure you that he was definitely not one of them. The last time I spoke to him was in ’03 and all he really wanted to do was open his own art store on Lexington. He could have done it. I quit drawing because I could never produce anything half as good as Jay’s work. I never told him that but it is the truth.

    Jay was a good guy. He didn’t start that fight. I wasn’t there but then again I don’t have to have been there to know that. He was a good soul.

    Carol, you are doing the right thing! There is alot of money running through Asheville. It always struck me as the type of place that likes to keep its secrects quiet. Maybe they were hoping to get it done and out of the way as quickly as possible or maybe the DA just wasn’t doing his job. Either way you are keeping them from forgetting and for that I commend you.

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