Satanic Leader Said to Plan Deaths

Associated Press/October 14, 1997
By Gina Holland

Brandon, Miss. -- A teen-ager who led a secret satanic cult that sought the obliteration of its enemies plotted a killing spree at a high school with a follower charged in the slaying of his mother and two students, an investigator said Tuesday.

Grant Boyette, 18, sat hunched over a courtroom desk as prosecutors offered the first glimpse of evidence in Boyette's murder conspiracy case. He is one of six teens suspected of plotting to kill students at Pearl High School.

They were arrested Oct. 7, nearly a week after another student, Luke Woodham, was accused of stabbing his mother to death in their home, then going to school and gunning down two students -- including his ex-girlfriend -- and wounding seven.

Investigator Greg Eklund portrayed Boyette as the undisputed leader of a group named ``Kroth'' after a satanic verse that plotted to kill students over a 10-month period.

Boyette, who called himself ``father,'' urged Woodham to kill his ex-girlfriend and encouraged another, Donald Brooks, to poison his father, Eklund said.

``He was the one who called the shots; no one bucked Mr. Boyette,'' Eklund said at a preliminary hearing.

Eklund said the group's goals were money, power and influence and its motto was ``We cannot move forward until all of our enemies are gone.''

Boyette's fascination with satanism dates back to 1993 when friends said he became obsessed with philosophy and the writings of Adolph Hitler, Eklund said. Boyette also bragged about having access to assault weapons, he said.

On cross examination, defense lawyer John Emfinger got Eklund to admit that much of his information came from some of the five other teens charged as co-conspirators in the deaths of the two high school students.

``He's given nothing but hearsay testimony,'' Emfinger said.

But Judge Kent McDaniel ruled there was sufficient evidence to present Boyette's case to a grand jury. The judge also revoked Boyette's bond, which had been set at $2 million for the two counts of conspiracy to commit murder.

Boyette's former Sunday school teacher testified at the hearing that Boyette was a follower not a leader. But neighbor Rick Brown said Boyette changed in recent years and had admitted praying to Satan.

Boyette ``apparently lives two completely different lives ... (and) must have engaged in extreme deception,'' McDaniel said.

Woodham was being held without bail on three counts of murder.

Eklund testified that Boyette, a Hinds Community College student, and Woodham, 16, were close confidants in the planning of the school shooting spree.

In meetings at Woodham's house, they discussed possible targets and means of killing, the investigator said.

After the attack, Eklund said the group planned to flee to Louisiana, then to Mexico. Ultimately ``they were going to hire a boat to go to Cuba,'' he said.

Eklund said Boyette had urged the 17-year-old Brooks to kill his father when the group clashed with the elder Brooks over using his credit card to buy a computer. The group talked about concocting a fat soluble poison and coating it on door knobs in the Brooks' home, but they never did.

Woodham and the five other teens face preliminary hearings on Oct. 21.

Brooks, Delbert Shaw, 18, and Wesley Brownell, 17, have been released from jail. Justin James Sledge and Daniel Thompson, both 16, are being held in a juvenile facility.

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