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In early November, Yolanda Walker was shot and killed, allegedly by her girlfriend, after Walker broke up with her.
Someone posting under the name "Baby Girl" left heartbroken messages. "I miss you so much already," Baby Girl wrote on November 13. "I love you to pieces. ... God please continue to wrap your arms around all of us because we need you ... more than ever."
Ten days later, Baby Girl left another comment. "Well sweetheart it's been a couple of weeks and I still find myself calling your phone just to hear the one voice that made everything ok for me.... I miss you so much. I wish you were here."
One thing that didn't surprise us: Racist screeds quickly infected many threads.
The most obvious example of this disgusting but common phenomenon occurred after we reported on the April "execution style" murders of Justin K. Budreau and Andrew J. Eli, both white and both killed in an apartment in the 1300 block of East 59th Street after men looking for some marijuana allegedly decided to rob them. The accused — 17-year-old Michael G. Gunn, 20-year-old Larry Marshall and 19-year-old Eria L. Doss — are black. The race war dragged on for 275 comments.
As it turned out, our biggest surprise was how people who were immersed in the violence were willing to discuss it publicly on our Web site. Anonymity enabled and encouraged the discussions, but it was clear that many of the feuding partisans knew exactly who they were talking to and about, regardless of whether they were using fake names.
This was most obvious after Jackson County prosecutors filed charges against 21-year-old Vincent R. Muzquiz, also known as also known as Big V.
In late April, Rebecca Amparan-Chacon was killed and another woman wounded at Jesse's Tavern and Restaurant at 2853 Southwest Boulevard. Police concluded that Amparan-Chacon, who died from a bullet to the head, had been caught in the crossfire of a gunfight.
Prosecutors charged Muzquiz with unlawful use of weapons and armed criminal action. On Monday, April 27, we reported that court records said Muzquiz had shown up at Jesse's around 11:25 the previous Friday night. "A witness told police that Muzquiz was upset, wouldn't talk to him and then pulled out a gun and fired it at another customer who was standing outside the business. A woman tried to calm Muzquiz, but he shot her."
According to court records, Muzquiz told detectives that he may have shot someone while running out of the business, but "he wasn't positive."
Muzquiz's trial is scheduled for June 1, 2010.
In the post's comments section, Muzquiz's family members and friends defended his honor.
Someone posting under the name "Eddie Muzquiz" wrote:
"This is Muzquiz little brother and I'm so sorry for the lost but my brother did not and i repeat did not shot becca. he was also shot how come they didn't put that in there read this."
Someone claiming to be Big V's girlfriend and calling herself "Ms Bigg Vee" posted on behalf of "the only father my babies have" and wrote that Muzquiz "is a loving caring person."
Chacon's friends left comments expressing their sadness and anger. "I don't really care who shot first," an anonymous poster wrote. "All I care about is that there are 3 babies with out a mom because you dumbass people don't care about no one but your self. ... I hope he gets everthing coming to him. She lost her life for NO REASON AT ALL!!!! We miss you Rebecca:( "