“Demonic drawing,” Slipknot album linked to grandparents’ murder

Kyle Smith, 17, is accused of killing his grandparents and setting their house on fire in Midwest City, Oklahoma.

Kyle Smith, a 17-year-old from Midwest City, Oklahoma, is behind bars after being arrested for allegedly murdering his grandparents, David and Rose Garrick, and then setting their house on fire March 23. Two of Smith’s friends, 18-year-old Dustin Martin and 17-year-old Jacob LeBlanc, are also in jail for allegedly helping cover up the crime, but much of the media focus has rested on Smith and the “evidence” found in the home he shared with his grandparents.

Among that evidence, according to Oklahoma’s News 9 broadcast, is a “demonic drawing,” hinted at in this video. Out of context, a “demonic drawing” means almost nothing: Was it a pentagram (as the broadcast suggests) or something else? (Not all pentagrams are “demonic.”) If so, how do we know which way it was pointing? Do we know if it was Smith’s? Did it have any other writing on it? Was it clear it had anything to do with the occult, or was it inspired by an album cover or other piece of art? Did Smith draw it? Was it hidden away, or was it scribbled on a school-book cover? And what does this have to do with the crimes he allegedly committed?

The newscaster in the video actually gets a few things right, probably more by dint of the fact that she had to produce something about this supposed “demonic drawing,” but didn’t have any information on the drawing itself: she went to someone who knew more than she did about occult symbols and instead had him talk about what it means if a teen has one of these in his/her bedroom. This someone is private investigator Robert Smart, who says he’s had “training on how to read these kinds of drawings.” (Hope his training isn’t from Don Rimer.) His descriptions of the various symbols is less than illuminating, but his encouragement that parents should talk to their kids about these things is spot-on.

Unfortunately, all this is hinged on Smith’s crime, creating the impression that the described “demonic symbol” had anything to do with the murders. (Though Smart does rightly point out that Satanists don’t generally commit murder.)

Another Oklahoma broadcaster, NewsChannel 4, doesn’t do much better:

Inside the walls of the burned home, investigators seized a demonic drawing, a heavy metal CD with a pentagram, along with a hatchet, a samurai sword, a dagger, knives and two gas cans.

… “A heavy metal CD with a pentagram.” That doesn’t really clarify things. Antimusic.dom dug deeper and learned that the album in question was by Slipknot, probably All Hope Is Gone, which features a nine-pointed star, or nonagram, not a pentagram. According to the band’s own Web site, each of the points on this nine-pointed star represents one of the members of the band. How is this relevant to the crime? How many other ways would the reporters like to get their facts wrong? The mind boggles.

So far, there’s been little on Smith’s actual mental state, or his relationship with his grandparents. Was he violent? Disturbed? Abused? Why was he living with his grandparents and not his parents? NewsChannel 4 does stick in one speculative line: “We don’t know why. There’s been questions about the psychological welfare of this 16-year-old suspect. That ‘s up to the experts, we have no idea,” said Chief Clabes. But that comes after this one, which has as little to do with the crimes as the “demonic drawing” or the Slipknot album:

“We’ve been told by residence [sic] in the area they’ve seen him dress in all black, Gothic. Well, we’ve been told they saw him in the backyard throwing daggers at the fence. We’ve been told he listens to heavy metal. That was his own admittance, that he does listen to heavy metal. Is that significant in this case? I don’t know. Does it mean anything in this case? I don’t know,” said Chief Clabes.

All of these comments trivialize the nature of this crime, whether Smith or someone else committed it. This was an awful, brutal homicide, likely committed either by someone in a deeply disturbed state or by someone pushed too far by trauma and circumstance. The fact that reporters continue to grasp at speculative straws — particularly when the suspect is a teenager, gets us no closer to understanding this crime — or any violent crime committed by a minor. And this is something we, as a society, both desperately want and desperately need to undersand.


5 responses to ““Demonic drawing,” Slipknot album linked to grandparents’ murder

  1. Theses are great points. There has to be more going on. It’s a shame that’s not the story.

  2. Its just the press don’t get your facts straight, unbelieveable. Just because someone listens to groups like slipknot, korn, distrubed, does not mean they are satanic people. Rap music is not the same anymore alls it talks about is how girls are ho’s and sex objects and money. I listen to slipknot and the rest of the other heavy metal groups and yet I go to school to become a nurse. Does that make me a satan worshipper? I don’t think so!!!!! So the reporters NEED to make sure you get your facts and your shit together before you start to assume about someone. And besides, this young man has some serious psychological problems. It sounds to me he has authority issues meaning he does not like grown ups telling him what to do. I remember I watch on TV, actually it was the VH1 Behind the Music: Judas Priest. And the band was on trial because a young and his friend commited suicide. And the families try to sue the band because they believe that the band was responsible for their sons’ death. But the band was not found guilty, so they did find it a tragedy that these young men killed themselves. People need to realize that teenagers need to take responsiblity for their actions, regardless if it is right or wrong. In this case, they are looking for a scape goat and right now slipknot is the group to fault for. It needs to stop all away around.

  3. I knew Kyle 3 years ago, we even dated for a short time. He did live with both his parents and little brother when I knew him. I never knew him to get into serious trouble other than the normal being on the phone to late or not doing his homework. His parents seemed to be very nice people. He never listened to metal he was into R&B. He was always happy. I didnt even know this happened til a girl that was in his class and I was friends with texted me and said u have to watch the news, Kyle is on it. And when I saw him look at the camera, for one that is not how he looked. He looked very depressed and mad. And the evil smirk he gave was not him. I can say that metal is not bad in a sense. It all depends on how a person takes the message a song says. Some people to relates their emotions, some ppl like the heavy beat, and some people get very angry and out of control when they listen to it. I havent talked to kyle since december of 07. But I hope If he did this he gets his punishment. May the Lord be with his family.

  4. Pingback: “Demonic” teen pleads guilty to grandparents’ murder | Backward Messages

  5. Pingback: Iraqi youth stoned to death after leaders link emo culture to Satanism, homosexuality | Backward Messages

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