January 5, 2006

Three Suspects Indicted In Murder of Arbela Teen

By JAMES WARDEN - News-Record Writer

(The following article was reprinted with permission from The News-Record of Gillette, Wyoming.)

Three people accused of murdering or planning the murder of a 16-year-old Gillette boy last month also murdered a 19-year-old man in October, prosecutors said Saturday.

The Campbell County Attorney Jeani Stone said that Christopher Robert Hicks and Jacob Paul Martinez, both 19, and Kent Proffit Sr., 42, also murdered Jeremy Forquer, 19, by collaboratively strangling him at Proffit’s home the night of Oct. 28.

They already had been charged in the death of Bryce Chavers, who was found in his bedroom Nov. 26 with a gunshot wound to the back of his head.

Hicks and Martinez have been charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Proffit now has been charged with first-degree murder in Forquer’s death, and two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

In addition, 15-year-old Michael Frank Seiser of Gillette has been charged with accessory after the fact in connection with Forquer’s death and first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in Chavers’ death.

Deputies learned of the murder when Martinez asked to speak with investigators Friday afternoon (December 23rd), according to court documents.

Martinez told investigators that two weeks before Forquer’s death, Proffit confronted Martinez, Hicks, Kent Proffit Jr. and Forquer, saying one of them was an informant and was going to be shot.

Court documents don’t specify on what Proffit was worried about, but earlier court documents indicate that Martinez and Hicks had angered a drug dealer. Proffit offered to fix the problem in exchange for killing Chavers.

Court documents released Saturday allege that Kent Proffit Sr. worried that Forquer, who was living with he and his son at No. 2 Lower Butler Mobile Home, was due to leave for Missouri on Oct. 29. But Hicks, Martinez and the elder Proffit arranged to kill him before he left, according to court documents.

The three were with Seiser in Proffit’s kitchen at about midnight while the younger Proffit slept in a living room chair.

The three men then allegedly choked Forquer to death. (This portion of the artcle was omitted due to the graphic nature of the court documents’ descriptions.)

Following the murder, Proffit “directed Hicks and Martinez to wipe down the kitchen area and Forquer’s face and forearms with a water and bleach solution,” according to Martinez’ statements.

Kent Proffitt Jr. has not been charged in the case. The County Attorney’s Office would not answer any other questions until next week.

Seiser told deputies that Hicks then backed his car up to the home and that he helped Hicks empty out the trunk, where they placed plastic bags. Hicks and Martinez then put the body in the trunk followed by his belongings.

The four men allegedly got into the car and, at Proffit’s direction, drove on Interstate 90 toward Buffalo. They turned around somewhere west of the Powder River Rest area, after throwing away Forquer’s cell phone, and drove back toward Gillette.

The group stopped near a lone roadside tree, took out Forquer’s body and left it near the roadway, according to court documents. They continued back to Gillette, stopping near a hill to get rid of Forquer’s backpack and suitcase.

Martinez led investigators to mile marker 86.8, about two miles west of the Johnson County line, Friday evening, where a body matching Forquer’s description was recovered near a tree, according to court documents.

Forquer had been reported missing Nov. 4 by his father in Missouri. Gillette police checked Proffit’s home but no one was home. Later that day, they also called the home and spoke to a woman, who said he’d left for Missouri. No further action was taken by law enforcement.

New details have also come out on the specifics of Chavers’ death and deputies have added Seiser to the list of suspects, the fourth to be charged with the crime.

Chavers was subpoenaed to testify in Kent Proffit’s third-degree sex assault trial that had been set for Dec. 12.

Seiser is also facing a charge of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder for his alleged involvement in the death on the night of Oct. 28.

Hicks, Martinez, Proffit and Seiser were scheduled to have their initial court appearance 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 27th in Campbell County Circuit Court.

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