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Oct 7 09 6:26 PM
The murders in a small town in Virginia late last month were horrifying and, not surprisingly, the
quadruple slayings have shocked the small town of Farmville (and probably anyone who has read about them).
The dead -- all died from "blunt force trauma" -- were a college professor, her estranged husband
(a Presbyterian minister), her 16-year-old daughter and a teenage friend of the girl's. The suspect is a 20-year-old California man who seems to have been
a recent boyfriend of the 16-year-old.
They met online on a site devoted to "Horrorcore" rap, a strange genre of music that, as The
Washington Post put it, "celebrates homicidal lunacy" with grisly lyrics about brutal killings. The suspect was a self-styled
rapper who went by the name Syko Sam.
(Lovely. Never heard of this and now there's another notch carved into my parental worry belt. Not that
I think you can tie music right to a murder, but singing about chopping up bodies, the world needs this?)
The 20-year-old traveled to Virginia to meet the teen and stay with her family. Then he went with them, and
the 18-year-old friend, to a Horrorcore concert in Michigan.
That's right, the parents (a 53-year-old college professor and a 50-year-old minister) went to the
Strictly for the Wicked Festival that featured bands with names like Dismembered Fetus. Sometime after they all returned to Virginia, the four were murdered in
the family home, a gray colonial not far from the college where the Mom taught. You can read CNN's version of the story here.
The mother, a professor of criminal justice (yeah, some sad irony there) hoped her daughter's interest
in Horrorcore music was just a phase and told a friend she took her daughter to the concerts to keep an eye on her, the Post
Which maybe makes sense in some abstract way, and you just ache for them all, how badly it ended. And
obviously there is much about this story, and the suspect, that we don't yet know.
I also realize there are limits to what parents can control about teenager behavior, interests and
fascination. You cannot be everywhere and supervise everything and nor should you..
But I just can't imagine allowing this. Yes, just typing that makes me feel old and cranky and foolish,
like parents of yore who railed against rock in its infancy.
But songs about decapitation, mutilation, bloody mists and burnt flesh? Websites with skulls and daggers,
all dripping blood, and "whaddup sickos!" as the greeting?
It makes me queasy just imagining my kids listening to, much less reveling in, such stuff.
Oct 7 09 6:57 PM
October 07, 2009
Richard Samuel McCroskey Recorded Under the Name of Syko
Oct 7 09 7:07 PM
America is reeling from a shocking quadruple murder in a small Virginia town which is being blamed on a
sub-genre of hip hop - known as horrorcore - and the pervasive influence of the internet.
The bloodstained bodies of a college lecturer, her estranged husband, the couple's teenage daughter and another teenager were discovered at a house in
Farmville, 50 miles west of Richmond, last month. They had been bludgeoned to death.
The man being held for the killings is Richard Alden Samuel McCroskey III, aka Syko Sam (above), a 20-year-old horrorcore rapper from California
who had been staying with the family.
Two of the victims, Debra Kelley, a 53-year-old professor of criminal justice at Longwood University and her 16-year-old daughter, Emma Niederbrock, lived
in the house, a short walk from the campus. Also killed were Kelley's estranged husband, Mark Niederbrock, a Presbyterian pastor, and their
daughter's friend Melanie Wells. All died of "blunt force trauma to the head", according to autopsies.
It appears that the two girls had met up with McCroskey at a Goth event in Michigan called Strictly for the Wicked Festival. The two adults had
accompanied the girls to the festival and all five had returned to Farmville together.
Syko Sam had posted many of his raps on MySpace and YouTube, and it is thought that he was already known to the girls, possibly through the internet. Both
the girls were active on social networking sites.
In one of his videos, McCroskey holds a hatchet and sings about killing people and putting their remains in black bags: "Last night I was the
murderous rage. Now, I gotta get rid of the bodies before the corpses start to get to rotting." In another song - My Dark Side - he proclaims:
"You're not the first, just to let you know. I've killed many people and I kill them real slow. It's the best feeling, watching their last
The killings seem sure to spark another bout of moral outrage in America. Horrorcore is a little-known genre that was born in the mid 1990s and practised
by obscure acts such as the Insane Clown Posse, but could now be paraded on the national stage.
After his arrest McCroskey told reporters "Jesus told me to do it", but members of the church where Niederbrook was a pastor have a different
theory. One member said: "I think it's deeply rooted in Satan, if you want to know the truth." Other residents have been quick to blame the
internet for giving people like McCroskey a global audience.
At a memorial service for the dead girls, Rev Sylvia Meadows told the congregation: "We can no longer live as though certain groups don't exist.
We can no longer pretend that darkness and forces of evil aren't right under our noses."
Oct 7 09 9:09 PM
AP PHOTORichard Samuel McCroskey, aka 'Syko Sam' was charged with the Virginia killings of Emma Niederbrock,
16, her parents and her friend. The gruesome murders mirrored his rap lyrics.
But now that he's been arrested for the quadruple murder of Virginia teens Melanie Wells, Emma Niederbrock and
Niederbrock's parents, it sounds like he was foreshadowing the killings in his songs.
Or is it possible he made the music after the fatal bludgeonings? Some 'Syko Sam' videos were posted on YouTube after the September 18 killings,
apparently not by McCroskey himself but someone with the screen name "SykoSam666.''
Whenever fans of a fringe musical genre--from black metal to Marilyn
Manson--commit a crime, we question whether the violence was influenced by the music or whether violent kids, along with more harmless fans, are more likely
to seek it out.
Horrorcore and similar genres may frighten outsiders--which is what it's supposed to do-but most fans are drawn to the theatrics and understand it's
fiction. Adults were horrified when Alice Cooper sang about necrophilia and staged mock hangings back in the 1970s. But now we can recognize him as the campy
showman he really was. Menacing acts like Gwar and Slipknot will probably look the same in another 20 years.
Horrorcore is a deeply obscure, goth-influenced subgenre of rap. So far, attempts to define it in the light of McCroskey's alleged killings have been
But if you're kid was into it, you'd be worried. Bands
have names like Dismembered Fetus and fans chat online about the occult. In horrorcore, the grotesque imagery has a quality of one-upmanship, as if the
artists were saying, 'you think that's evil, well what about THIS?'
Were the slayings of Neiderbrock and her family McCroskey's
bizarre attempt to gain credibility with other horrorcore artists and fans?
In the annals of 'devil music' murders, this one seems different. It's rare that homicidal fans are performers themselves. And how many shock
rock fans have carried out crimes they foretold in their songs?
Because of Richard McCroskey, parents now have to ask themselves whether extreme 'entertainment--from gory rock to homemade slasher films-- could ever
When the creepy garage band next door starts posting morbid fantasies on YouTube, you have to wonder whether any of it happened--or is about to happen. To
Oct 8 09 6:20 PM
Oct 10 09 6:26 PM
A pair of heinous crimes allegedly committed by fans of so-called "horrorcore" music has people re-examining the link between entertainment and
Last month, after attending the Strictly for the Wicked 2009 Festival in Southgate, 20-year-old Richard McCroskey -- an aspiring rapper who goes by the name
Syko Sam and who bragged in songs about killing people and the joy of "watching their last breath" -- was accused of killing four people in
Farmville, Va. A week prior in Pennsylvania, four fans of infamous Detroit rap duo Insane Clown Posse confessed to beating a 21-year-old man to death with
metal baseball bats.
The two incidents are shedding light on horrorcore, its artists and its fans, and raising questions of whether there's a link between the music and the
killings. The events also are spotlighting Detroit's role as a mecca for the music, a brutally violent subgenre of rap.
While artists say horrorcore -- also known as "acid rap" and "wicked s---" -- is a cathartic, non-violent way to express anger and
frustration with everyday life, some experts contend that not everyone can separate the lyrics from their actions.
Esham, a Detroit rapper, is known as a pioneer of the genre that traffics mostly in gruesome fantasies of murder and mutilation, where anything goes and
extreme rules. He defends the art form as strictly entertainment and said he's no different from film directors Wes Craven and Quentin Tarantino, who are
known for their violent and bloody imagery on screen. There's a clear separation, he says, between the music and any real-world consequences.
"I'm totally against if anybody thinks listening to the music and going out and hurting somebody is what it's all about, 'cause it's
really not," said Esham, who has released more than a dozen albums over the course of his 20-year career. "A lot of people get it. I would say 99
percent of the culture gets it. But there's always that one guy."
No subject is taboo in horrorcore. Conversely, the more taboo the subject matter, the better. It's a genre where rapping about cannibalism and
necrophilia are commonplace.
Horrorcore is basically the rap music equivalent of death metal, and shares that genre's distaste for organized religion. The music is built on a
foundation of two things teenage boys love: hip-hop and horror movies, said Jeremy Wallach, an associate professor in the department of Popular Culture at
Bowling Green State University.
"This is an adolescent music that appeals to suburban teenagers, mostly male, who feel alienated by the high school social structure," said
Wallach, adding fans tend to grow out of the genre by the time they reach their 20s.
Insane Clown Posse is perhaps the most successful example of a group with ties to the horrorcore genre, though Eminem, D12 and the Geto Boys have dabbled in
horrorcore-type material. ICP and its label, Psychopathic Records, declined to comment for this story.
The genre has never achieved much mainstream success, as its boundary-pushing subject matter and disturbing imagery make it difficult for many listeners to
stomach, and nearly impossible for radio programmers to embrace. Even Eminem had problems getting airplay for "3 A.M.," his horrorcore-leaning single
from this year's "Relapse" album, which contained lyrics about dismembering family members and drinking their blood.
Horrorcore was on the precipice of mainstream acceptance in 1994 when "6 Feet Deep," the debut album from Gravediggaz -- a group featuring hip-hop
production maestros the RZA and Prince Paul -- was released, but the album stiffed at retail. Since then, horrorcore -- the musical equivalent of the
"Faces of Death" video series -- has existed in an increasingly underground capacity.
The genre has a zealous fanbase online on sites such as MySpace. In the wake of the McCroskey case, horrorcore rapper Sicktanick -- who headlined the
first-ever "Strictly for the Wicked" festival -- released a statement on MySpace where he said his music was going to get "more blasphemous,
more violent and more (expletive) brutal," as his way of honoring the tragedy's victims.
Meanwhile, entertainment being blamed for inspiring bad behavior in wayward youth is as old as entertainment itself. Music has been especially at the
forefront of the debate, from shock-rocker Marilyn Manson catching heat for supposedly inciting the Columbine killings to Judas Priest going on trial in the
1980s for allegedly encouraging a fan to kill himself through subliminal messages in the band's music.
Comedian Chris Rock addressed the issue in his 1999 stand-up special, "Bigger and Blacker," performed not long after the Columbine High School
killings. "Everybody is wanting to know what music were the kids listening to, or what movies were they watching. Who (cares) what they was watching!
Whatever happened to crazy? What, you can't be crazy no more?"
Esham, a noted influence on Insane Clown Posse and others, says the music and its imagery is nothing more than a reaction to society -- an extreme reaction,
sure, but a reaction nonetheless. And he said his music is therapeutic for some listeners.
"People hear my records and they run up and they say, 'Yo E, man, that record changed my life,'" Esham said. "They say, 'A lot of
things you were saying, I was really frustrated inside, and once I listened to your record, it calmed me down and got me back on track.' It's like
venting for some people, without actually acting out on some of those things."
Charles Wilson, a Southgate horrorcore rapper who goes by the name Ikkurruz, goes so far to include disclaimers inside some of his songs. During a spoken
word interlude in "I Will Kill You All" -- which sounds like a threatened murder spree but actually details the action inside a mosh pit -- he
recites, "Don't be confused by the music, I mean no harm. This is therapy, follow me and release the energy."
"There's some kids out there that are really screwed up and I think they misinterpret a lot of things," said Wilson, who also performed at the
Southgate concert McCroskey attended. "I just try to entertain 'em, give them a place to go and have fun and make new friends. Our shows ain't
violent, there are no fights."
Wilson said he's a lifelong fan of horror movies and gore, and said he never enjoyed writing until he began writing rap lyrics. He said it helps cool
him off and air his frustrations with the world.
But not everybody agrees with the theory that the music is therapeutic for listeners. In a 2003 study, Iowa State University's Craig A. Anderson found
exposure to violent lyrics increases the accessibility of aggressive thoughts and affect. "In sum, listening to angry, violent music does not appear to
provide the kind of cathartic release that the general public and some professional and pop psychologists believe," Anderson wrote.
Likewise, Dr. Gerald A. Shiener, a psychiatrist who works with Wayne State University, says some aren't able to successfully separate the music from the
real world. Teenagers, especially, are susceptible to be influenced by artists they listen to, he said.
"Kids get carried away, and get mixed up between what's cool and what's real," said Shiener. He said studies show teenagers are more
immature than people realize.
"Teenagers tend to act like little adults, but they think more like children than adults, and it's hard to remember and to appreciate that,"
Shiener said wayward teens looking for some sort of belonging can easily latch onto a scene and begin identifying themselves with it. Music, in particular,
is absorbed by an "emotional, visceral" part of the brain and is more easily internalized than other forms of sensory stimulation.
Still, Shiener said, there's a danger in placing blame on art or musicians, and adds that parents need to look for warning signs in their children, such
as isolation, social withdrawal and a preoccupation with disturbing content.
Producer Mike E. Clark, who has worked with Insane Clown Posse for nearly 20 years, believes it's "absurd" when the finger gets pointed at
musicians in the wake of violent crimes.
"I think people are generally crazy, no matter what they're into, whether it's God, classical music, country, horrorcore, horror movies or
comedies," he says. "If he was into Whitney Houston, would she be responsible? If music inspires someone to go out and kill someone, then you're
screwed up to begin with and I'm sure you were going to do it regardless, whether or not there was a song made about it.
"I just think people should be responsible for their own actions."
Some key artists in horrorcore include:
Horrorcore originator Esham is a Detroit native. (Courtesy of Esham)
Insane Clown Posse (Robin Buckson The Detroit News)
Detroit rapper Eminem dabbled in horrorcore with his single "3 A.M." (Courtesy of Eminem)
McCroskey (Courtesy of Eminem)
The Detroit rapper is one of the genre's originators, writing the blueprint for horrorcore on early efforts such as 1989's
"Boomin' Words from Hell" and 1993's "KKKill the Fetus." Insane Clown Posse
Proud disciples of Esham, the ICP turned lyrics about serial killing into big business. For 10 years, they've hosted their own festival called the
"Gathering of the Juggalos," weekend-long celebrations of all-things ICP. They also own their own Farmington Hills-based record label, Psychopathic
Records, which houses a roster of like-minded artists.
These ICP disciples have released seven albums over the course of their 12-year career, and 2009's "W.I.C.K.E.D." (short for Wish I Could Kill
Every Day) debuted at No. 11 on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart.
This group ushered the word "horrorcore" into the music mainstream -- prior to Gravediggaz, the genre was known as "psycho rap,"
"wicked s--- or "acid rap" -- but their music never caught on with listeners.
The Detroit rapper fashions his hair into devil horns and refers to himself as the "King of Horrorcore."
One of demented rapper Kool Keith's many alter egos, Dr. Dooom's 1999 album "First Come, First Served" is a horror movie set to beats.
This Houston rapper takes the violent sensationalism of gangsta rap and adds a slasher film twist to it.
Oct 12 09 8:25 AM
While Richard "Sam" McCroskey claims "Jesus made me do it", the media suspects his choosen genre of
Horrorcore is a more like culprit. McCroskey know to friends as Lil Demon Dog and to fans of his music as Syko Sam, was an aspiring rapper with ties to the
underground label Serial Killin Records. McCroskey was arrested this week for the murder of an entire Virgina family.
Here is an excerpt from the official statement issued on Serial Killin Records website:
"We would like to firstly and most importantly send our deepest regards, respects, and condolences to all of the families involved. This was as much of
a shock to us, as were sure it has been to everyone else involved, and this tragedy will forever impact the rest of our lives as we are sure it has impacted
yours."At this time, it is not our place to disclose any details (out of respect not only for the legal issues, but more importantly the families
involved). Both Emma & Melanie were HUGE SKR/WIR Supporters and it breaks our hearts to know such acts were commited to them, both of these beautiful
peoples lifes were cut short (along with Emmas Parents), and we will miss them dearly and whole heartedly."We would also like to add, that neither SKR or
WIR condone the actions commited in any way shape or form, people make their own choices in life, be it right, be it wrong, it comes down to a individuals
choice to make a decision, and in no way did we have a part of the decision nor do we condone it."
The label has since released another statement which in part states:
"I am Done talking to the Media about this situation, i believe that the focus has been turned to simply the music instead of the loss of life to which
we have had to endure. I have said my piece, defending the Victims, Defending Sam & defending this Genre, and i believe i have done the right thing, but at
this point im not interested in doing any more Interviews, e-mail's, etc etc, i have said and givin all the information that i possibly could, my main
points being that these were all great kids and we loved them dearly and whole heartedly, and secondly, that this genre should not be scapegoated and these
kids should not be judged for the music they listened too, the clothes they wear, and us as Horrorcore/Wickedsh*t artists should not be judged or scapegoated
for our choice in business ventures and entertainment."
While SKR may not condone his actions, or wish to speak of the situation further in public, some artists and fans have embraced this situation. Websites have begun popping up, tribute songs such as "IM GOIN SAM ON IT" have been release, and there is
talk of T-shirts.
Fangoria Musick editor James Zahn recently appeared on CNN to discuss the topic. Here is a excerpt:
COOPER: James, do you agree with that? That it provides a language or way of thinking to a kid who has a pre-existing problem?
JAMES ZAHN, EDITOR, "FANGORIA MUSICK": I think that the bigger problem is that they have that predisposed penchant for violence or whatnot. But I
don't feel that the music is that match. I think that entertainment as a whole -- and there is horror in many forms of entertainment -- looked at by that
small percentage of people, maybe it could cause something. But I don't see it that way.
Oct 28 09 5:32 PM
Nov 3 09 11:24 PM
Media General News Service
Richard Samuel Alden McCroskey III
FARMVILLE - Details related to the quadruple homicide in Farmville emerged today,
including a description of two weapons believed to have been used in the killings.
Also today, a young California man who recorded violent rap music using the name
"Syko Sam" has been indicted on six counts of capital murder for the slayings of four people found dead Sept. 18 in the home of a Longwood
Richard Samuel Alden McCroskey III of Castro Valley, Calif., was indicted on six counts of
capital murder for the slayings of four people in the Farmville home. McCroskey also faces a charge of grand larceny that accuses him of stealing a car that
belonged to one of the victims. Indictments in the case were returned Oct. 19 but were not unsealed until today, when they were served on
Found bludgeoned to death inside the home Sept. 18 were Longwood University professor
Debra S. Kelley, 53, who lived there; her estranged husband, Mark Niederbrock, 50; their daughter, Emma Niederbrock, 16; and a friend from Inwood, W.Va.,
Melanie Wells, 18.
Investigators recovered several possible weapons, including a ball-peen hammer and a
wood-splitting maul, according to the court papers unsealed today. Authorities believe both the hammer and the maul were used on each of the victims,
according to a source close to the investigation.
A maul is a tool with a long handle with a head like an ax on one side and a hammer on the
other. All four victims were bludgeoned beyond recognition, the source said, adding that the bodies were not dismembered.
Among the other items taken from the home were a meat cleaver and a knife, but authorities
do not believe either was used in the killings, the source said.
Three of the four bodies were found in a downstairs bedroom, the source and court
documents said. The other was found in a room upstairs. Authorities believe it is plausible that one or more of the victims might have been attacked while
asleep, but they don't know that for sure, the source said. McCroskey has given no statement to police.
Authorities also might never know on what day the three female victims died. Investigators
believe Mark Niederbrock was killed after the other three. Charging documents say he died Thursday, Sept. 17, the day before the bodies were
At least 98 items were recovered from Kelley's home, including sketchbooks, a note to
Wells found on a kitchen table and electronic equipment. Documents also show items seized from Niederbrock's stolen car and from a satchel McCroskey had
with him when he was arrested Sept. 19 at Richmond International Airport.
Investigators also have sought to search various electronic devices for images, text or
other useful evidence. According to an affidavit for a search warrant, investigators were seeking to determine whether the suspect had documented his
activities while at Kelley's home using a computer, cell phone or video camera.
McCroskey, 20, met Emma Niederbrock online through their interest in horrorcore rap music
and flew to Virginia on Sept. 6 to meet her for the first time.
In Virginia capital murder is not a single crime. For example, a person can be charged,
tried, convicted and sentenced to death for capital murder in the furtherance of terrorism as well as capital murder for committing more than one
The indictments charge McCroskey with six counts of capital murder because he is alleged
to have killed multiple people within three years.
His next court date is Jan. 19, when a trial date is scheduled to be set.
FARMVILLE-A young California man was indicted today on six counts of capital murder for
the slayings of four people found dead in a home here.
Richard Samuel Alden McCroskey III of Castro Valley, Calif., was also indicted on charge
of grand larceny, said Wade Stimpson, acting Farmville police chief.
Found bludgeoned to death inside the home were Longwood University professor Debra S.
Kelley, 53, who lived there; her estranged husband, Mark Niederbrock, 50; their daughter, Emma Niederbrock, 16; and a friend from Inwood, W.Va., Melanie
In Virginia capital murder is not a single crime. A person can be charged, tried,
convicted and sentenced to death for capital murder in the furtherance of terrorism as well as capital murder for committing more than one murder in a
Nov 4 09 8:39 PM
FARMVILLE -- Authorities believe two weapons -- a ball-peen hammer and a wood-splitting
maul -- were used to bludgeon four people to death inside a Longwood University professor's home in September, a source close to the investigation
Also yesterday, Richard Samuel Alden McCroskey III of Castro Valley, Calif., was served
with indictments on six counts of capital murder in the bludgeoning deaths of professor Debra S. Kelley, 53; her estranged husband, Mark Niederbrock, 50;
their daughter, Emma Niederbrock, 16; and Melanie Wells, 18, Emma's friend from Inwood, W.Va. All four were discovered dead Sept. 18 in Kelley's
McCroskey, who recorded violent rap music using the name "Syko Sam," also faces
a charge of grand larceny that accuses him of stealing Mark Niederbrock's car.
Indictments in the case were returned Oct. 19 but were not unsealed until
Investigators recovered several possible weapons from the home, including a ball-peen
hammer and a wood-splitting maul, according to the court papers unsealed yesterday. A maul is a tool with a long handle with a head like an ax on one side
and a hammer on the other.
Authorities believe both the hammer and the maul were used on each of the victims,
according to the source close to the investigation. All four victims were bludgeoned beyond recognition, the source added.
Officials also removed from the Kelley home a meat cleaver and a red-stained knife, but
authorities do not believe either of those weapon was used in the killings, the source said.
Three of the four bodies were found in a downstairs bedroom, according to court documents.
The other was found in a room upstairs. Authorities have not said which bodies were found in which room.
Authorities believe one or more of the victims might have been attacked while asleep, but
they don't know that for certain, the source said.
McCroskey has not discussed the crimes with investigators.
Authorities say they might never know on what day the three female victims died, although
investigators say they believe Mark Niederbrock was killed after Kelley and the two teens. Charging documents say Niederbrock was killed Sept. 17, the day
before the bodies were found.
At least 98 items were recovered from Kelley's home, including sketchbooks, electronic
equipment and a note to Wells found on a kitchen table. The search warrant return did not indicate what the note said or who wrote
Documents also show items seized from Niederbrock's stolen car and from a satchel
McCroskey had with him when he was arrested Sept. 19 at Richmond International Airport. Police believe he spent the night at the airport awaiting a return
flight to California.
Investigators also have sought to search various cell phones and other electronic devices
for images, text or other evidence. According to an affidavit for a search warrant, investigators were seeking to determine whether the suspect had
documented his activities while at Kelley's home using a computer, cell phone or video camera.
McCroskey, 20, met Emma Niederbrock online through their mutual interest in horrorcore rap
music. He flew to Virginia on Sept. 6 to meet her for the first time and to attend a horrorcore show with her and Wells in Michigan. Kelley and Mark
Niederbrock accompanied the teens and McCroskey to Michigan.
In Virginia, a person can be charged with capital murder when there are certain
aggravating circumstances such as the murder of a police officer; murder in the commission of a rape or robbery; or more than one murder in a three-year
period. A defendant can be charged, tried and convicted of more than one count of capital murder for the same murder.
Each of the capital-murder indictments against McCroskey charges him with killing multiple
people within three years.
Nov 16 09 7:26 PM
Richard Samuel Alden McCroskey III of Castro Valley, Calif. faces multiple capital murder charges in the slayings of a Longwood University professor,
her estranged husband, their daughter and a friend of their daughter.
FARMVILLE-Juggalos, Wiccans, Satanists and vampires are all subcultures of the occult
that are on the periphery of the mainstream.
But the recent quadruple homicide in Farmville at the home of a Longwood University
professor has thrust these lifestyles into the headlines.
Don Rimer, a retired member of the Virginia Beach Police Department who studies ritual
crime and the occult, spoke yesterday about these cultures and ritual crime to about 100 people at Farmville United Methodist
"This is all about education. This is awareness and recognition about all of
these behaviors, and the crimes associated with them," Rimer said, although he was quick to point out that not all people associated with Satanism
and the occult are violent criminals.
His four-hour talk drew a diverse crowd to Farmville, where Longwood professor Debra
S. Kelley, 53; her estranged husband, Mark Niederbrock, 50; their daughter, Emma Niederbrock, 16; and Melanie Wells, 18, Emma's friend from Inwood,
W.Va., were found bludgeoned to death Sept. 18 in Kelley's home.
Emma Niederbrock met Richard Samuel Alden McCroskey III of Castro Valley, Calif., the
man charged with six counts of capital murder in the killings, online through a mutual interest in horrorcore rap music. Emma Niederbrock and Kelley
attended the church where yesterday's workshop was held.
While the instructional talk was aimed at educating community members about different
religions, it had other purposes, too. "It's about healing and understanding," said Nancy Haga, a church member.
Wanda Whitus said the September slayings served as a wake-up call to the community.
"This is really happening in our society," she said.
Several members of the Farmville Town Council attended Rimer's presentation.
Councilman David Whitus said he was unfamiliar with some of these subcultures before the September killings, and he attended to learn
Rimer didn't specifically address the Farmville killings, but he discussed the
growing group called the Juggalos, followers of the horrorcore rap group Insane Clown Posse. Two Juggalos were charged in last month's slaying of a
New Hampshire woman who was killed with a machete and knife.
On one of McCroskey's MySpace pages, he referred to himself as "a
juggalo," and a video posted on his YouTube page that was filmed inside his California bedroom shows at least one large Insane Clown Posse poster on
the wall. In his own music, posted on a MySpace page under the stage name "Syko Sam," McCroskey rapped about murder and
These subcultures "survive and prosper because their ceremonies are filled with
secrets, sins and sex," Rimer said. "Their rules are mysterious and elaborate."
Rimer has immersed himself in these cultures, observing their rituals and conducting
interviews. He said teenagers may spiral from dabbling in these cultures to acting out violently..
"By educating people and coming together as a community, we can help prevent
tragic endings for any of our young people," said the Rev. Sylvia S. Meadows, pastor of Farmville United Methodist Church. "Be aware of when
they are in need, [we] can intervene and offer them the support networks they need to have healthy lifestyles."
Nov 21 09 8:58 PM
By Mike Parker
A SICKENING rap offshoot known as
"Horrorcore" has been blamed for creating a bloodthirsty monster who murdered four people and cut up their bodies.
Robert McCroskey, 20, who calls himself Syko Sam, butchered two
girls after befriending them in a Horrorcore chatroom.
He accompanied pretty Emma Neiderbrook, 16, and Melanie Wells,
18, back to Emma's house before hacking them to death with a saw.
He also murdered Emma's parents Debra and Mark, who had
waited up to check the girls arrived home safely.
Detectives were physically sick when they witnessed the scene in
rural Farmville, Virginia.
One said: "Those four bodies lay mutilated for four days
before Melanie's mother raised the alarm and we searched the property.
"The stench was unbelievable and there were sawn and
hacked-off body parts and blood everywhere.
"It was like a scene from the worst horror movie you could
It later emerged Debra had chaperoned the girls weeks earlier
when McCroskey invited them to meet him in person at a Horrorcore festival called Strictly For The Wicked in Detroit. Now US politicians and church leaders
want to outlaw the fast-growing cult.
It has spawned bands with names like Mental Ward, Stitch Mouth
and Dismembered Foetus.
And their twisted lyrics feature subjects including rape,
torture, murder, cannibalism and necrophilia.
A close friend of Emma and her parents, the Rev Sylvia Meadows,
has joined the campaign, saying: "We have looked evil in the face."
McCroskey posted stomach- churning home videos on YouTube,
posing in a hoodie and holding a hatchet.
Some of his artwork features spine-chilling slogans including:
"I kill people for real." In one Horrorcore song he raps: "Last night I was the murderous rage. Now I gotta get rid of the bodies before the
corpses start to get to rotting."
He faces trial and, if he is convicted, could be
Nov 22 09 11:59 AM
Nov 22 09 12:59 PM
I totally agree I don't think it was the style of music
either he was evil and would of found another way to unleash his murderess ways.
getting a visual of Satan banging his horns on the wall and getting stuck there
Nov 22 09 5:13 PM
Nov 23 09 9:51 PM
Apr 10 10 9:38 AM
Jun 23 10 7:15 PM
Jun. 23 , 2010 FARMVILLE, Va. (AP) â€” An aspiring rapper who sang about the thrill of killing before being charged in the bludgeoning deaths of his girlfriend and three others is feeling remorse about the deaths, his attorney said after a hearing Tuesday.
Richard "Sam" McCroskey, 21, of Castro Valley, Calif., faces capital murder charges in the Sept. 18 deaths of his girlfriend, 16-year-old Emma Niederbrock; her parents, Presbyterian minister Mark Niederbrock and Longwood University professor Debra Kelley; and Emma's 18-year-old friend Melanie Wells of Inwood, W.Va.
McCroskey has yet to enter a plea to the charges. On Tuesday, Prince Edward County Circuit Judge Richard Blanton set a Sept. 20 motions hearing in the case. McCroskey's attorneys said he could go to trial as early as October.
"He's still feeling remorse about this whole thing," McCroskey's court-appointed attorney Cary Bowen said after the hearing. "It's a bad situation for everybody.
"Sleep doesn't come easy."
McCroskey, dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit and a slouchy white undershirt, smiled as reporters yelled questions outside the courthouse and again inside as he approached his seat, shackled at his feet. Bowen called it a nervous smile.
"This isn't something that he's real proud about," Bowen said.
McCroskey has remained in isolation at Piedmont Regional Jail since he was apprehended at the Richmond airport Sept. 19 while attempting to fly back to California.
McCroskey met Emma Niederbrock online through their interest in "horrorcore" music, which sets lyrics about rape, murder and mutilation to hip-hop beats. McCroskey, a Web site designer and music promoter, had recently began rapping under the name "Syko Sam."
On his MySpace page, McCroskey stands before a Gothic church in a lightning storm, a hatchet in his raised hand with his face obscured by a skull bandanna. He sings of killing people slowly and watching them die. In one song, he growls about the "evil voices inside my head."
McCroskey flew to Virginia to visit Emma, and her parents drove them and Wells to a horrorcore music festival in Michigan Sept. 12. Police found their bodies six days later after Wells' parents became worried that she didn't return home.
Court papers show investigators recovered several possible weapons, including a ball-peen hammer and a wood-splitting maul. Three of the four bodies were found in a downstairs bedroom and the other was found in a room upstairs.
Attorneys are still awaiting DNA, cell phone and other evidence.
McCroskey has not made a statement to police, but Bowen said he had been cooperative with his attorneys.
At first McCroskey didn't understand the "total gravity" of the situation, Bowen said, but "every day it's still sinking in."
Commonwealth's Attorney James Ennis has not said whether he would seek the death penalty. Ennis refused to comment after the hearing.
"Everybody recognizes that in this case he may see fit to do that," Bowen said.
Attorneys are awaiting a mental health evaluation, but Bowen said he thought he had no reason to doubt McCroskey's competence.
McCroskey's attorneys have asked that the trial be moved away from Farmville, a small college town about 50 miles southwest of Richmond.
Jun 23 10 7:18 PM
The Castro Valley man who is accused of brutally killing four people in Virginia last fall was back in court Tuesday.
Richard "Sam" McCrowskey, 21, is an aspiring rapper in the little-known horrorcore genre. The people he's accused of killing are his 16-year old girlfriend, her parents and her friend. McCroskey wore an orange jail jumpsuit and had his feet shackled during the hearing. He smiled as reporters shouted questions outside the courthouse and again inside as he approached his seat. His lawyer later called it a nervous smile.
McCroskey's court-appointed lawyer Cary Bowen said Tuesday that his client is feeling remorse about their deaths. "Sleep doesn't come easy," Bowen said.
The motive for the killings remains unclear. McCroskey flew to Virginia to visit Emma Neiderbrock and her parents drove them and her friend Melanie Wells to a horrorcore music festival in Michigan Sept. 12. Police found all of their bodies six days later after Wells' parents became worried that she didn't return home.
McCroskey has remained in jail in isolation since he was apprehended at the Richmond, Virginia airport Sept. 19. He was waiting for a flight back to the Bay Area at a time.
Last fall McCroskey's sister, Sarah, described him as a kind person who never fought back when people picked on him.
"He was extremely passive," Sara said, "so just hearing that my brother is the main suspect just really blows my mind."
McCroskey's father played guitar in a band called S&M. Sarah McCroskey says the family was not a "lovey-dovey ... 'Leave It To Beaver' kind of family." She said she thought something might be wrong after she heard a voice mail her brother left at the family's house last Thursday that ended with "I love you guys."
McCroskey posted video of his Castro Valley bedroom just three weeks before the killings. His walls were plastered with posters that celebrate bloody, gory imagery of music centered on killing, suicide and violence. Family members said he spent most of his time in his room on his computer.
McCroskey was known as "Syko Sam" to the Web world because of what is being described as an obsession with notorious serial killer "Son of Sam." His MySpace page features his raps about killing, maiming and mutilating people. On his YouTube channel, McCroskey goes under the name "Lil Demon Dog." That is another reference to serial killer David Berkowitz.
Commonwealth's Attorney James Ennis refused to comment Tuesday whether he is going to seek the death penalty in this case.
Jun 23 10 7:24 PM
FARMVILLE, Va. -- An aspiring rapper who sang about the thrill of killing before being charged in the bludgeoning deaths of his girlfriend and three others is feeling remorse about the deaths, his attorney said after a hearing Tuesday. Richard "Sam'' McCroskey, 21, of Castro Valley, Calif., faces capital murder charges in the Sept. 18 deaths of his girlfriend, 16-year-old Emma Niederbrock; her parents, Presbyterian minister Mark Niederbrock and Longwood University professor Debra Kelley; and Emma's 18-year-old friend Melanie Wells of Inwood, W.Va. McCroskey has yet to enter a plea to the charges. On Tuesday, Prince Edward County Circuit Judge Richard Blanton set a Sept. 20 motions hearing in the case. McCroskey's attorneys said he could go to trial as early as October."He's still feeling remorse about this whole thing,'' McCroskey's court-appointed attorney Cary Bowen said after the hearing. "It's a bad situation for everybody."Sleep doesn't come easy.''McCroskey, dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit and a slouchy white undershirt, smiled as reporters yelled questions outside the courthouse and again inside as he approached his seat, shackled at his feet. Bowen called it a nervous smile."This isn't something that he's real proud about,'' Bowen said.McCroskey has remained in isolation at Piedmont Regional Jail since he was apprehended at the Richmond airport Sept. 19 while attempting to fly back to California.McCroskey met Emma Niederbrock online through their interest in "horrorcore'' music, which sets lyrics about rape, murder and mutilation to hip-hop beats. McCroskey, a Web site designer and music promoter, had recently began rapping under the name "Syko Sam.''On his MySpace page, McCroskey stands before a Gothic church in a lightning storm, a hatchet in his raised hand with his face obscured by a skull bandanna. He sings of killing people slowly and watching them die. In one song, he growls about the "evil voices inside my head.''McCroskey flew to Virginia to visit Emma, and her parents drove them and Wells to a horrorcore music festival in Michigan Sept. 12. Police found their bodies six days later after Wells' parents became worried that she didn't return home.Court papers show investigators recovered several possible weapons, including a ball-peen hammer and a wood-splitting maul. Three of the four bodies were found in a downstairs bedroom and the other was found in a room upstairs.Attorneys are still awaiting DNA, cell phone and other evidence.McCroskey has not made a statement to police, but Bowen said he had been cooperative with his attorneys.At first McCroskey didn't understand the "total gravity'' of the situation, Bowen said, but "every day it's still sinking in.''Commonwealth's Attorney James Ennis has not said whether he would seek the death penalty. Ennis refused to comment after the hearing."Everybody recognizes that in this case he may see fit to do that,'' Bowen said.Attorneys are awaiting a mental health evaluation, but Bowen said he thought he had no reason to doubt McCroskey's competence.McCroskey's attorneys have asked that the trial be moved away from Farmville, a small college town about 50 miles southwest of Richmond.
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