Deaths and disappearances under investigation

 

The case of the karate champion is one of 14 homicides and disappearances that investigators suspect are connected to Yahwehs.

1 Aston Green, 26, a mechanic.

Nov. 13, 1981: Someone severs the head of Green, a member of a Yahweh defector group. A jogger finds the body in West Dade. A medical examiner says the killer apparently used a machete while Green was still alive.

According to court testimony, approximately 10 sect members took Green into a back room of the temple, beat him, bound and gagged him, wrapped him in a carpet or a blanket, and drove off with him in a red Galaxy owned by Enoch Israel, a "goon squad" security man for the Yahwehs.

Attorney Ellis Rubin, representing the Yahwehs, says, "I had my own investigation of that incident . . . I couldn't verify it."

Case unprosecuted.

2 Carlton Carey, 34, an accountant.

Nov. 14, 1981: Also a member of the defector group, Carey and Mildred Banks, 30, a postal clerk, make statements to homicide detectives about the beheading of Green, their roommate.

The couple tell police they fear for their lives and are thinking about buying a gun for protection.

Early the next morning, as they arrive home in Carol City from the police station, two hooded gunmen ambush the pair. Banks, shot and suffering from a massive neck wound, survives. Carey dies of bullet wounds. Police say the killers apparently intended to decapitate the couple.

The Yahwehs deny involvement in the 1981 homicides.

From a tract: "There were hundreds of people who left our group and decided that they didn't want to follow Yahweh and because somebody, a person is killed, we have been blamed with absolutely no proof. They tied it into us as if we are guilty. They say there is no clue but they still link us."

Case unprosecuted.

3 Leonard Dupree, 22, former U.S. karate champion.

Autumn 1983: The karate expert, branded a dissident, is killed in the Temple, according to public records. His body is never found.

Case unprosecuted.

4 "Melchildechic, " a Rastafarian opposed to the Yahwehs.

1983 or 1984: Yahweh defector Lloyd Clark testifies that a killer confessed to him: "He caught him in like with a headlock and took a knife and ran it across the neck . . . and cut him, and they took him out and buried him somewhere." His body is never found.

Attorney Rubin says Clark is disenchanted, not to be trusted. "I don't put much credence in this guy, " he says.

Case unprosecuted.

5Attillio Scalo, 50, a New Jersey vagrant.

July 3, 1984: Someone stabs Scalo to death on South Orange Avenue in Newark, on the same block as a Yahweh temple. Clark testifies that the killer took him to "a big blood spot" and confessed to him, labeling the victim a sacrificial goat and white devil. Says attorney Rubin: "I know nothing about that . . . I never heard the name."

Case unprosecuted.

6,7 Glendell G. Fowler, 52, a hospital technician. Kurt Doerr, 44, a waiter.

April 19, 1986: A neighbor discovers their bodies, stabbed to death in bed, in a Coconut Grove apartment.

Attorney Rubin says he heard about the double stabbing as a "story" during his defense of a former Yahweh accused of murder.

"I don't know any of the details, and I don't know if it occurred, " Rubin says.

Case unprosecuted.

8 Clair Walters, 36, an unemployed carpenter.

May 22, 1986: Someone slashes his throat and amputates his left ear. The ear is missing from the crime scene. A Miami SWAT team, training in an abandoned motel on Biscayne Boulevard, finds the body.

Metro-Dade detective Daniel Borrego testifies that Walters' murder is one of five so-called "ear cases."

In another ear case, the detective testifies he suspects -- but cannot prove -- that a Yahweh disciple was ordered "to go out and kill some white people or whoever, and he found the victim, and he had to bring back some sort of a trophy."

"I have no knowledge of (ear amputations), I have no proof of it, " the sect leader testifies. He says when he first heard about it, he told his devotees: "Anyone who would do that is stupid . . . I hear perfectly well. What could I do with someone else's ears?"

Case unprosecuted.

9 James Lee Myers, 30, an unemployed janitor.

July 20, 1986: Someone stabs him to death, cutting, but not severing his right ear. A male prostitute finds the body at 5995 Biscayne Blvd.

Detective Borrego testifies that victim 9 is similar to victim 8. "Aside from the ear itself, the two city cases were pretty common in that they occurred on Biscayne Boulevard, general location was the same . . . The victims were, I guess you would call them, vagrants of some sort. They didn't have anywhere to stay. They were both white males . . . They were stabbed."

Case unprosecuted.

10 Raymond Kelley, 61, a motor-pool mechanic for the city of South Miami.

Sept. 6, 1986: Someone stabs him to death, severing both ears. His body, spectacles still on, is found in his car, parked at the Teepee Lounge on South Dixie Highway. The left ear is missing; the right ear is found near the car.

Case prosecuted. Yahweh Robert Rozier, 33, a former professional football player, confesses to the murder.

He testifies that the ear was brought back and presented to the sect leader as a symbol of "confirmed kill." Rozier says he and another Yahweh -- never charged -- were ordered to pick a white victim at random to avenge the death of a black man. The victim "just happened to be there."

The sect leader "always taught that we keep the law against the devils, the white devils, " Rozier testifies. "When they kill one of us, we kill one of them . . . He teaches that since white people believe that all black people look alike, we believe all white people look alike."

In court testimony, Rubin depicts Rozier as a "serial killer" who would lie to work his way out of the death penalty.

11 Cecil Branch, 45, a garbage man known as "Big Man."

Sept. 21, 1986: Four men -- three in turbans -- approach Branch's house, witnesses testify. The killers stab him 25 times, severing the top of his right ear. The ear is missing from the crime scene. The landlord, a cop, finds Branch's body, bound and gagged, in his house.

Prior to the murder, Branch confronts Yahwehs soliciting donations, witnesses testify. He pushes a Yahweh woman, who becomes hysterical. She writes down his license tag as other devotees scream "Yahweh! Yahweh!"

Three Yahweh men -- a state prosecutor calls them "bone crushers" -- show up briefly. Later, Branch chases Yahweh women away from his home. Case prosecuted. Rozier pleads guilty. Three accomplices are never charged.

12 Harry Byers, 68, a street person with a drinking problem.

Oct. 2, 1986: Someone stabs Byers to death, severing and taking his left ear. The ear is missing. A cop, exercising his K-9 dog, finds the body in front of a park bench at Legion Park on Biscayne Boulevard.

"Another ear case victim also on Biscayne Boulevard, " Borrego testifies.

Case unprosecuted.

13,14 Rudy Broussard, 37, a tenant opposing a Yahweh takeover of an Opa-locka apartment complex. Anthony Brown, 28, a tenant opposing the same takeover.

Oct. 30, 1986: Yahwehs lure Broussard out of his apartment. He is shot in the head. The killers chase Brown, force him to the ground and shoot him as he pleads for mercy, witnesses testify.

Case prosecuted.

Rozier pleads guilty to both murders, though he denies he shot either victim. He names two accomplices, Aher Israel and Seth Israel. Aher is never charged. In December 1987 Seth dies of a gunshot wound during a drug dispute at a Miami motel.

Attorney Rubin says Yahweh and "his people" are unaware of sect members named Seth and Aher.

On March 4, 1988, Rozier pleads guilty to four murders in exchange for his cooperation. Judge Ellen Morphonios sentences him to 22 years.

In a civil case against the sect's Temple of Love Inc., federal Judge James Kehoe finds that "Aher" is one of Rozier's accomplices in the Opa-locka killings.

Rozier, now in the federal witness protection program, testifies that about a dozen so-called "death angels" admitted to him that they killed people.

According to a stenographer's transcript, he identifies them as: "Absalom, Anaher, Ahenadab, Aberi, Jesse, Obed, Emry, Isaiah, Solomon, Elijah, Isaiah, Dan, Zardock."

Rubin declines to locate them. "My clients are in real jeopardy, " Rubin says.

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