MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tex. — A Texas man, Daniel Kirksey, was arrested Thursday in the 2015 murder of his former boyfriend Marc Pourner, known as Axel in the Pagan community. As we reported previously, Pourner was a solitary Wiccan practitioner as well as the co-founder and facilitator of the popular Pagan Facebook forum “the Cauldron – a Mixing Place for Witches, Druids, and Pagans.” He went missing in November. 2015, and several days later he was found dead in his car.On Nov. 12, 2015, Pourner reportedly received a late-night phone call. After a tense conversation, he abruptly left his apartment and never came back. That Friday, Pourner’s family contacted Randall’s, Pourner’s place of work, and found that he had never reported for his shift. Over the next day, through local outreach, family members received a tip on where Pourner’s truck might be located and called the sheriff’s department.
The tip proved accurate, And deep in some thick woods, officers found not only the vehicle, but also Pourner’s body.
Within 24 hours of finding the truck, the sheriff’s department had a suspect and, in coordination with Tippecanoe county sheriff’s office in Indiana, the suspect David Brown, Jr. was arrested.
In a February 2016 grand jury hearing, more was revealed about what actually happened that night. Brown and Kirksey called Pourner from Kirksey’s home to tell him that someone was “following Kirksey and wanted to kill him.” When Pourner arrived at the home, he and Brown had “a heated argument […] It was there that Brown punched Pourner several times and then bound and gagged [him].”
Using Pourner’s truck, Brown then took Pourner to a remote location, where he strangled him and torched the truck. The court records also indicate that Kirksey witnessed the entire act.
Brown remains in jail with a trial date set for Dec. 18. His indictment lists his charges as capital murder with a felony, which includes his alleged kidnapping of Pourner. Kirksey was not charged with anything at that point.
However, this changed last Thursday, when the the Montgomery county SWAT team arrested Kirksey at his home for assisting in the kidnapping. He is also reportedly being accused of “burning Pourner’s bag and cell phone in an effort to dupe detectives.”
At the time of Brown’s indictment, Pourner’s mother Jolena Pourner told The Wild Hunt: “We knew from the beginning that Daniel was possibly involved because his explanations didn’t add up. We’d been concerned because we felt Daniel was using Marc.”
According to reports, Kirksey was witness to the entire series of events that took place Nov. 12, including the murder:
“Kirksey initially told investigators that [in the apartment was] the last time he saw Pourner alive but later told them he was in the truck with Brown and Pourner, according to court documents. He said he saw Brown take Pourner out of the truck once they arrived at Firetower Road before hitting him again and then strangling him to death, detectives said.”
Kirksey, who was originally set to testify against Brown at the upcoming trial, is now “facing first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping and third-degree felony tampering with physical evidence charges.”
In a Facebook post within a group titled “In Loving Memory Of Marc Pourner,” Jolena Pourner wrote that she was “doing the happy dance.” She added, “The man who betrayed you by helping (or at least watching) David Brown murder you was arrested today. Daniel Kirksey was arrested this afternoon for felony kidnapping & tampering with evidence. He just thought he was going to walk away free by testifying against David Brown. I’m glad the state realized he wasn’t a credible witness & will proceed with the trial next month without Daniel.”
Jolena Pourner said that she will be at Brown’s first court appearance in December, along with friends. Members of the online Pagan community who knew Marc through his various forum administration roles have said that they will be sending their energy and support to the Pourner’s over the next month as the case continues to unfold.