Who was Jacob Crockett?

Heather Greene —  November 4, 2014 — 35 Comments

On Oct. 29, the unthinkable happened in Stillwater, Oklahoma. A 21-year-old man nearly beheaded his brother’s roommate during an afternoon card game. Within 24 hours, the story hit local papers and was rapidly spreading through social media and making national headlines. Isaiah Zoar Marin had confessed to the brutal murder of Jacob Crockett.

Jacob Crockett [Courtesy of RIP Jacob Crockett]

Jacob Crockett [Courtesy of RIP Jacob Crockett]

According to the police reports, the incident occurred the afternoon of Oct. 29 in the apartment occupied by Jacob, his twin brother Jesse and Isaiah’s brother Samuel Marin. The Marin brother’s were playing cards during which Isaiah stood up, picked up a machete and murdered Jacob, who happened to be in the room at the time. Samuel allegedly ran out of the apartment after seeing what had happened, and Isaiah followed.

Isaiah called 911 himself and confessed to the crime saying, “I hacked them to death with a machete.” The police have released portions of that 911 call.  In addition, the officers described Isaiah as “confused and disoriented.” He reportedly admitted to “fantasizing about killing several people, at least four” and mumbled something about “sacrifice and magic.”

As shown in the affidavit, Jesse called Isaiah a “religious zealot” and “heavy drug user.” The police reportedly did find evidence of methamphedamine use. When Samuel, the only witness, was interviewed, he confirmed that Jacob and Isaiah had argued in the past. He said that they “had disagreements because Jacob and Jesse were practicing witchcraft.”

By Halloween, the media was capitalizing on the seemingly well-timed story. On Oct. 31, Raw Story reported “‘Religious zealot’ nearly beheads teen ‘witch’ after watching Christian videos.” The New York Post wrote, “Man busted for beheading warlock after dispute over witchcraft.” And, The Washington Times publshed: “Oklahoma Christian man arrested in near-beheading of warlock.”

However, it was never confirmed that Jacob was practicing witchcraft. None of these media outlets ever checked to see if Jacob was a “warlock” or “teen witch.” Samuel’s interview, as written in that single affidavit, was all anyone had. Were the brothers actually Witches or something similar? Did they engage in any form of Witchcraft? Or were these assumptions based on the accusations and ramblings of Isaiah’s troubled mind?

Shortly after Jacob’s murder, his friends and family set up a Facebook site called RIP Jacob Crockett. On that site, the public got a better look into his life. Jacob, the son of a Oklahoma State Trooper, was a metalhead and the lead vocalist of the band Hurik.

As the story spread, many Pagan and Heathens posted sincerely felt condolences and words of support to the RIP Facebook page. Several people indicated that they included Jacob in their Samhain rituals. Others spoke of religious freedom and “never again the burning times.”

However, on Oct 31, Jesse Crockett posted the following from his friend’s Facebook account:

Supporting this assertion, Jacob was in fact a member of Christian Metalheads Facebook group. He also liked several other Christian-based fan pages including The Catholic Association, God Loves You, Jesus Christ and The Digital Bible. In his obituary, Jacob is called a “Born Again Christian and member of a Life Church in Stillwater.”

Why did Samuel claim that the brothers were practicing Witchcraft? Was this simply a misinterpretation from an angry religious debate? Or were they actually interested in Witchcraft? Or perhaps Isaiah, through his zealotry, was making assumptions about Jacob due to his music, his dress and his piercings?

Several anomalies do suggest that Jacob may have been interested in counter-cultural thought outside of his music world. He did “like” a Facebook page called “The Ancient Witch.” In addition, yesterday, a member of The Satanic Temple posted a note suggesting that Jacob was a supporter of the Oklahoma Baphomet statue.

When we asked The Satanic Temple if Jacob was a member, spokesperson Lucien Greaves said that he had heard the same rumor. However, like the claims of Witchcraft, any association was simply hearsay. It is possible that the entire story was spun out of control by the media’s October obsession with Witches.

Unfortunately, we were unable to directly reach any close friends or family members to confirm or deny Jacob’s involvement in Witchcraft.  At this point, the Police are still saying the “motive for murder is … unclear.” Isaiah is being held from first degree murder and will be in court Dec 1. Jacob’s memorial was held yesterday, Nov. 2 and the family has asked to be left alone during their time of grieving.

In his post, Jesse did thank all the Pagans, Witches and Heathens for their outpouring of support and heartfelt condolences. At the age of 19, Jacob may have been exploring ideas and practices counter to his own upbringing, whether it be for his own benefit or for his music. Or perhaps he was simply an open-minded Christian who strongly supported religious freedom and artistic expression.  In the end, it may be found that religion played absolutely no part in Jacob’s death whatsoever; that the murder was more a product of Isaiah’s drug-addicted, angry mind.

Either way it is tragic story with no good ending. RIP Jacob Crockett.

Heather Greene

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Heather is a freelance writer, film historian, and journalist, living in the Deep South. She has collaborated with Lady Liberty League on religious liberty cases, and formerly served as Public Information Officer for Dogwood Local Council and Covenant of the Goddess. She has a masters degree in Film Theory, Criticism and History from Emory University with a background in the performing and visual arts. Heather's book on witches in American film and television will be published by McFarland in 2018.
  • thelettuceman

    The amount of apologizing and excusing his behavior as not fueled by an understanding of his faith in the comments of the Progressive Secular Humanist blo (where I first found out about it) is disgusting. No True Christian seems to be alive and well.

    • Crystal Hope Kendrick

      Religion can act as a fuel for a sick mind. I’ve seen it a lot through the years I’ve spent as a public servant, although it’s by far not the only fuel.

      • balance

        It can also sicken a mind. Certain absolutist ones tend to do so. 🙁 This is something I wish to help humanity heal, since the damage is widespread and threatening the very planet.

  • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

    I have a disturbing thought…

    Samuel is the brother of “suspect” Isaiah Marin. What if he made the claim of it being a witchcraft killing on the basis that he thought the police would be more understanding of the act, if it had that motivation?

    This is 100% speculation, based only on the very little I have read and, in no way, shape or form is an accusation, but there is a perverse logic to it.

    After all, regardless of what anyone says, there are still very strong “anti-witchcraft” sentiments running through certain denominations of Christianity.

    I hope I am wrong, and I hope that the religious connection gets dismissed in this case rapidly but, until more is revealed, it remains a possibility (regardless of how marginal).

    • Crystal Hope Kendrick

      The thing I was wondering is, where was Samuel when this was going down? Did he try to intervene at all?
      I feel for this young man and his family and hope they are receiving all the help and comfort they need.

      • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

        It is an interesting question. I guess it hinges on how available the machete was. Could have been easily to hand, which would have made the attack very sudden, allowing for the paralysis of shock, or it could have been “away”, making the attack more premeditated and, potentially, less serious looking.

        Certainly I hope it is something they look at, during the investigation.

      • Franklin_Evans

        I’ve experienced the shock Lēoht mentions, thankfully not in a potentially fatal situation. It is safest to assume that we should wait for more details of the incident before speculating about whether Samuel could have intervened or had the personal courage to do so. He may very well deserve our sympathy for having to witness such a horrific act.

      • According to the affidavit and his statement, Samuel was in the room when it happened.

      • balance

        The fight-or-flight instinct we’ve all heard of is actually fight-flight-or-freeze. And you don’t get to choose which one rises and takes hold of you. You can be literally paralyzed, by your own brain, while something traumatic is happening.

        This is why “Yes Means Yes” is a better idea than “No Means No”… sometimes it isn’t possible to say no, or indicate it in any way, if the fear is great and the instinct takes over. And like rape victims are often not believed by the police because because they don’t seem very emotional and their story changes after the initial statement, because the memory apparatus of the brain is overwhelmed and locked up by trauma, it may take days for Samuel to piece together the memory of what happened and how it played out, and it will probably be confusing and not make sense to him, even after it coalesces. That’s what trauma does… breaks your brain because something that doesn’t make sense is happening. He may well beat himself up for not intervening, even if it was impossible to do so. Let’s not add to that with moral judgments of something he may have had no choice in.

      • Good chance Samuel knew his brother well enough to know he might be next.

  • Michael Lloyd

    Thank you for the fine reporting, Heather. All too often these stories are quickly spun up by those whose true interest is in ratings and readership and profits, rather than in the facts. That this is often done at the expense of the victims and their families doesn’t seem to matter. No wonder our society is swirling down the toilet.

  • Christopher Godby

    Christian metalhead? Excuse me for a moment…*goes into the other room, dies laughing*

    • dantes

      It actually exists.

      Being a Metalhead myself, I could name you a dozen christian Metal bands right now (even some pretty violent ones) but I don’t think it’d be useful.

      I mostly don’t listen to them because my list of stuff to listen too is already waaay to long and filled with mostly Pagan bands but there some (okay,a few maybe) which are generally considered to be half decent and no, I don’t talk about Stryper…

    • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

      You do not have to be any particular religion to be interested in metal music.

      John “Ozzy” Osbourne, for example, is an Anglican Christian.

      • dantes

        Indeed, but there’s still a difference between a christian Metal musician and a musician doing christian Metal. While the former is rather common (Another example: Rob Halford), the latter is more…underground somehow.

        Overall, there’s less room for christianity in Metal than for other religions/ideologies. One (extra-musical) reason I like the genre.

        • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

          In context, Jacob Crocket was described as a “Christian metalhead” – this doesn’t necessarily imply he was anything other than a fan of metal music and a Christian, rather than a musician. It could imply that he enjoyed Christian/”White” Metal, but I wouldn’t assume that.

          • dantes

            Indeed, there’s little certain about his musical tastes, but considering he liked Mayhem, he probably wasn’t big into unblack/white Metal.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Not necessarily. I can listen to music without condoning the message, or personal convictions of the artists.

            After all, it isn’t like most fans of Death Metal go out on killing sprees, is it?

          • dantes

            Of course no, that’s the Black Metal Ones :).

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Nothing wrong with a bit of Emperor, but I am more a Winterfylleth kind of guy.

  • dantes

    This is indeed very sad.

    In some ways, it reminds me of that British Emo teen that was lynched to death by a mob of young thugs just because of her clothing style a couple years ago.

    It reminds us that, for some, even being straight/white/cis-gendered is not a guarantee of being left in peace and that, as long as you don’t completely conform to the mediocrity of the mainstream society, you’ll be held accountable and persecuted for what you are.

    On a final note, I saw a picture of the lad wearing a shirt of the very anti-christian MAYHEM. In his honor, let us have a good listen to The Freezing Moon, which is both (sadly) appropriate for this occasion and one of the greatest Black Metal song ever recorded: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6jOWlUmp-A.

    • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

      Sophie wasn’t lynched she was kicked to death. No rope involved. Her mother founded The Sophie Lancaster Foundation (Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere), and is now working with police forces to educate people against hate crimes.

      It is chronically depressing that society is not proactive enough to prevent these tragedies, but the glimmer of hope is that there are those who will react in a positive fashion.

      • dantes

        You’re right. I might use the word Lynched incorrectly (IMO: Lynched: being thrashed -potentially to death- by a mob). But in practice, and ultimately, the results were sadly the same…

  • Tommy

    I don’t know what’s more shocking about this story, that it didn’t happen sooner, that this seems to be a relatively isolated case or that anyone is in fact surprised by this kind of religious violence, masquerading as mental illness, masquerading as religious violence. It’s both, obviously. You can’t separate the two. The fact is, violent crazy people do less violent crazy things when the world around them is not so violent and crazy. You could say drugs may have had a lot to do with it depending on the drug, but what worse drug is there than self-indulgent anger and violence?

    • purl

      Meth. have you ever dealt with anyone on it? There is no religion with it, it’s a soul sucking selfishness that cares for no one and seems to enjoy inflicting pain on others.

  • Breena Vickers

    Poor kid. Broke my heart to read about this, as does ever senseless tragedy. May his soul find peace on his journey <3

  • Thanks WH for this article. I think the underlying message to be mindful of is that stereotyping (metalheads must be satanic witches), partnered with a perceived mental illness culminated in a violent crime. This boy’s death isn’t the fault of one religious body, but it is indicative that people who walk on the fringe of what is perceived as ‘normal’ still suffer prosecution, even in our seemingly progressive times. Regardless of his beliefs, it is powerful to me that people within Pagandom rallied with loving kindness, ritual, and compassion so that this young man had a smooth crossing over. Thanks for bringing this story more full circle!

  • Holly Baby Catkiss

    Ugh. What a piece of shit! I hope he fully gets what he deserves!


    Sometimes some people go off suddenly in bad ways, they just got something wrong in there, or their mental development suddenly goes awry – who really knows. I was classmates with a couple of guys that I saw together being the usual and a week later – one had stabbed the other – his best friend – many times, for no fathomable reason (to the mentally balanced) and then pushed him into a pond. Thankfully, the victim lived after being helicoptered off to the hospital after he’d managed to crawl to a local fast food.You couldn’t have predicted in advance from either one that would happen, the one guy looked as quiet and “normal” as anyone. People look for something to blame, even when there isn’t anything.

    • dantes

      While it’s true that the murderer might have been mentally imbalanced, he was also a drug user and potentially on drugs when the murder happened (if I understood it all correctly). If the murderer really “just” killed Jacob because of some kind of uncontrollable psychosis that would be one thing but it’d be very different if he got stoned on his own and then went awry. Especially if he knew about his potential mental condition.

  • This is a case of heavy metal equals witchcraft. Drugs didn’t help I’m sure.

  • purl

    Sincere condolences to the family and friends of this young man.

  • It turns out there is a history of violence in the murderer’s (Isaiah Marin’s) family. His father, Raul Marin II, was also murdered in 1998– by his mother’s lover.