His parents thought he was working as a hair stylist on weekends.
But when Prairie Grove, Ark., police responded to a 911 emergency
call at 5 a.m. Sept. 26, they found 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising on the
floor, unconscious, near death, one of his wrists bound with duct tape.
A half-hour later, he was pronounced dead at St. Mary’s Hospital in
A police investigation determined young Jesse was repeatedly raped
over a period of hours, including with foreign objects. While enduring
this ordeal, his ankles, knees and wrists were bound in duct tape and he
was gagged and blindfolded. He was tied to a mattress. He may have been
drugged, police say. A sedative called amitryptiline was found in the
home of two men — Joshua Brown, 22, and David Don Carpenter, 38 —
along with Jesse’s body.
There were other drugs, too — and items commonly used in sexual
bondage. Apparently the boy was left bound and gagged after the last
rape, while his attackers went to get a sandwich to eat.
The cops say two men raped Jesse at least six times. Brown and
Carpenter have each been charged with six counts of rape and capital
murder. Hearings in their case are set for Dec. 8 and Jan. 13-14. The
trial is scheduled for April 10.
Just another brutal local crime, you say? Why is Farah recounting a
police blotter story from Arkansas? I don’t know. Something bothers me
about this story. It ought to bother us.
It was big news in Northwest Arkansas, but the story of Jesse
Dirkhising hasn’t made a ripple in the national news. I wonder why? I
wonder if it’s because the victim is not a part of some politically
protected sub-group, a special class deserving of extra government
privileges? I wonder if it is because the suspects are, indeed, members
of such a group.
Remember how the nation stood riveted to the details of a hideous
murder that took place in Wyoming when a homosexual was tortured to
death? Never mind that the crime had little or nothing to do with the
victim’s sexual proclivities. Uh-uh. That didn’t matter. This was a hate
crime. New laws were needed. New brainwashing programs must be
introduced into the schools. New sensitivity outreach projects were
required by all media outlets. Bill Clinton sounded off. Janet Reno
And then there was Jesse Dirkhising. There was no hand wringing, no
candlelight marches, no national news coverage for the 13-year-old
victim of homosexual rape and murder. No presidential proclamations —
even though the heinous crime took place in his home state.
Brown and Carpenter have pleaded not guilty to all charges, by the
way. When police got to their home that morning, they were met by a very
upset Carpenter, who repeatedly told the cops, “He’s not breathing.”
When police asked about the duct tape, Brown told the officers they were
“just playing a game.” When questioned further, Brown allegedly
assaulted one of the officers. It was only then that he was arrested.
Apparently the affidavit recounting the crime was so gruesome that
parts of it were sealed to protect the defendants’ right to a fair
During a hearing in Bentonville, Carpenter read details of the complaint
against him. As he read, Carpenter repeatedly shook his head and
muttered, “No.” Meanwhile, members of Jesse Dirkhising’s family sat
weeping, while his mother clutched a teddy bear and a photograph of her
“No one deserves to lose a child in this manner,” said prosecuting
attorney Brad Butler.
That is true. But somebody did. Jesse Dirkhising was brutally raped,
tortured and murdered — for fun, for thrills, for the hell of it,
because it felt good, maybe even because a certain politically protected
lifestyle has been elevated to virtual sainthood.
I don’t expect to hear Bill Clinton or Janet Reno weigh in on this
one. It just wouldn’t be appropriate. It might offend their core
constituency. After all, 13-year-old boys don’t vote anyway. They don’t
contribute to political campaigns. They don’t march and demand special
But, in case anyone else is concerned, a fund has been established to
assist the family of Jesse Dirkhising with funeral and related expenses.
Donations may be made to Memorial Trust for Jesse, account number
600054043, at any Community Bank in the Elkins or Prairie Grove, Ark.,
area. Cards may be sent to the family care of the Benton County
Prosecutor’s Office, 100 N.E. A Street, Bentonville, Ark., 72712
God bless this little one. May he rest in peace. And may his
tormentors rot in Hell.