by Neal Putnam
Editor’s Note: This new segment will bring you updates on crime stories that have already run, or include short snippets of crimes that have taken place regarding someone within our community which do not require a full story. We will include links back to original stories if we covered them previously, so you can catch up if necessary.
40-year-old homicide determined
A jury has acquitted a Texas man of murder in the death of a gay man 40 years ago in a case La Mesa Police and prosecutors said was solved through DNA.
James Mitchell Boget, now 68, was released from jail by El Cajon Superior Court Judge John Thompson, as he was only being held on the homicide of William Mambro, 43, who was found dead on Dec. 28, 1983.
“It was very surprising. It was odd,” said Deputy District Attorney Brian Erickson, who had asked jurors to convict Boget of either first or second-degree murder.
Mambro had been found stabbed in his chest and abdomen, which injured his liver, and he also appeared to have been strangled, according to his 1983 autopsy report. He also had defense wounds on his hands that suggested he tried to fight back, and he was found unclothed.
Deputy DA Erickson said police found two cigarette butts near Mambro’s body that contained Boget’s DNA. Additionally, Erickson said Boget was in possession of three Buffalo Head nickels from 1936 and 1937 and Asian coins, all from Mambro’s coin collection when he was questioned.
“The jury said they needed more [evidence]. A lot of witnesses had [since] died,” said the prosecutor.
Numerous attempts to reach Boget’s attorney, Madeleine Garber, were made, and she did not return a message seeking comment. Garber did ask jurors to acquit Boget, who did not testify.
Boget did have an alibi for the time of the homicide, according to his attorney, but the people he was with have since died, his attorney told the jury.
La Mesa Police held a press conference on Dec. 16, 2019, to announce Boget’s arrest in San Antonio, Texas, in solving the cold case homicide. When the DNA from the cigarette butts matched Boget’s profile, it was because his profile was in the system as he had committed another crime.
To read the full story of James Mitchell Boget’s arrest for the murder of Mambro, see “66-Year-Old Suspect Held to Answer in 1983 Gay Homicide ‘Can DNA survive for 38 years?’” online bit.ly/48j9UUz.
Point Loma Nazarene Pastor loses appeal and says goodbye
A Nazarene pastor said goodbye to his Point Loma congregation after he lost his license to preach and his appeal to a Church of the Nazarene board was denied on Nov. 20.
Two standing ovations were given to the Rev. Dee Kelley III on Nov. 26, during an emotional service at First Church of the Nazarene, which is located on the Point Loma Nazarene University campus.
“God loves you and I love you,” Kelley said to his congregation, where he was the pastor for 17 years.
Kelley, who is a straight ally of the LGBTQ community and in his 60s, was convicted Aug. 14 by a church jury of being “out of harmony” with the Nazarene manual regarding support of same-sex marriage, as same-sex relationships are considered sinful.
Kelley wrote a three-page essay in the book, “Why the Church of the Nazarene Should be Fully LGBTQ+ Affirming,” in which 89 other writers – including former pastors and others – wrote essays.
The book’s publisher, Thomas Jay Oord, is a Nazarene minister, and the denomination has since filed charges against him, also seeking to revoke his license in 2024, which will be the second church trial related to the book.
Kelley’s appearance at First Church on Nov. 26 drew a sharp rebuke from Southern California District Superintendent Tom Taylor, who sent out notices saying “Rev. Kelley is not a minister in good standing and did not receive the required approval to preach at the Nov. 26 service.”
Taylor wrote that Kelley “has forfeited his right to further appeal” because of “his refusal to suspend all ministerial activity as required.”
Kelley responded by saying the district-appointed senior interim pastor asked him to say some words of farewell to the congregation. Two pastors presided over the service, and Kelley said he was not preaching. He added he did not pray, lead worship, or read Scripture other than passages he remembered in his farewell.
On Dec. 5, Kelley filed an appeal to the denomination’s six general superintendents. A member of the church board said on Dec. 11 they have asked Kelly to stay on as an administrator.
Kelley said he only wrote the essay to spark a dialogue about same-sex marriage within the church and get people to think about it.
Earlier in the Nov. 26 service, Kelley said, “I look out at this sea of faces. I see the wonderful diversity we have. I love that about this place.
“I know that church has not always been a safe place for all people at all times. I’m sorry about that,” Kelley said.
In Kelley’s appeal, he wrote about the challenges within the church.
“Oh, how I wish they would know we are Christians by our love. Instead I think they have come to know we are Christians by our judgements,” he wrote.
When Kelley’s appeal was denied, many supporters wrote, “I Stand with Rev. Dee Kelley” on their Facebook pages. There are hundreds of angry Nazarenes commenting on Facebook regarding Kelley’s treatment by the church.
“I’m at a bit of a loss on how anyone can say it was a correct decision, when a congregation of about 200 people gathered on Sunday, and lament filled the room,” wrote Lainie Alfaro, the former editor of The Point, the student newspaper at PLNU.
“The auditorium was packed, and it was all supportive of Dee,” said First Church Board member Dean Nelson. “But it was so sad because Dee had been taken away from us for no rational reason.”
The church board has allowed Kelley and his wife to remain at the Nazarene parsonage in Point Loma for now.
Kelley’s trial was “like a bad Perry Mason episode, except this isn’t fiction – it’s stranger than fiction,” Nelson continued.
District Superintendent Taylor served at times like a judge in the trial and Nelson described him as “a bully.” Taylor, a former Nazarene pastor himself, has announced he will be retiring in May, 2024. He could not be reached for comment.
“Everybody loves Dee,” Nelson said. “Which makes it all that more mystifying that Tom [Taylor] would object so much to a man who is so Christ-like. It’s like a purge of anyone who thinks independently.”
To read the full story of Pastor Kelley’s fall from grace within the Lutheran church simply because he was an LGBTQ ally, pick up our September 2023 newspaper, Vol. 4, Issue 23, and read “Demonizing what he preaches,” or find it online bit.ly/47rfMK1.
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