A convicted rapist on trial on child pornography charges is believed to have fatally shot six people, five of them teenagers, before he died by suicide at the rural Oklahoma property where the kids were having a sleepover last weekend, authorities said Wednesday.
All of the victims were shot in the head, said Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice, the spokesman for a violent crime task force overseeing the investigation into the killings outside the small town of Henryetta.
The suspect, Jesse McFadden, 39, also died of a gunshot wound to the head, Prentice said.
Prentice identified the victims as Ivy Webster, 14; Brittany Brewer, 15; Michael Mayo, 15; Tiffany Guess, 13; Rylee Allen, 17; and Holly McFadden, 35.
Holly McFadden’s mother, Janette Mayo, identified her daughter Tuesday as Holly Guess. She married Jesse McFadden last year, Okmulgee County records show.
Their bodies were found in two groups on the large property where the McFaddens rented a home, Prentice said.
One group that included Ivy, Brittany and Riley was found about a quarter-mile from the home, he said. The bodies were roughly 100 to 150 yards apart in a scene that Prentice described as "staged." He declined to elaborate.
The four others were found in a heavily wooded part of the land, Prentice said.
A possible motive remained unclear, he said.
"Part of the problem when the community suffers with something like this is everybody wants to understand why," Prentice said. "Normal people can’t understand why. People that perpetrate crimes like this are evil."
Jesse McFadden served nearly 17 years in prison for first-degree rape. In 2017, while behind bars, he was accused of sending sexually explicit photos to a 16-year-old girl and acting in a manner that prosecutors described in court documents as “manipulative and controlling of the victim.”
Jesse McFadden was charged with child pornography and soliciting sexual conduct/communication with a minor. A jury trial had been scheduled for Monday, the day the bodies were found after the parents of Ivy and Brittany reported them missing.
McFadden's lawyer hasn’t responded to requests for comment. Court documents show that McFadden planned to argue that he was in touch not with the 16-year-old but with her friend, who was 21.
Brittany Brewer's father, Nathan Brewer, said Jesse McFadden never should have been released from prison after he was charged in 2017. Officials should be held liable for their deaths, he said.
A spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Corrections Department said in a statement that state law requires inmates to serve 85% of their sentences — for McFadden, 17 years.
For most of his time behind bars, the spokeswoman said, McFadden had an inmate classification level in line with “outstanding” evaluations for work, education and other criteria.
When he reached a few months short of 17 years — a term that included time served in a county jail — he was released, she said.
Registered sex offenders are allowed to live with children as long as they don’t commit crimes against them, she said. And McFadden followed sex offender registry rules, checking in with the sheriff’s office every 90 days.
Aside from McFadden's conviction and the 2017 charges, Prentice said he knew of no other warning signs.
The teens' parents have said they didn't know about McFadden's criminal history or that he was a registered sex offender. In interviews, they described the sleepover last weekend as routine and said nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
Nathan Brewer said Jesse McFadden seemed like a "nice, normal person."
Holly McFadden's mother has also said that her daughter didn't know "the truth about Jesse McFadden" and that he "fooled her with his charm."
"Now she and my grand babies are dead," Janette Mayo wrote Wednesday on Facebook. "Stop bashing her."