Prom night is supposed to be a time for partying, dancing, and making some of your best high school memories. Unfortunately, when emotions run high, things can sometimes get out of control. We’ve rounded up some of the most shocking prom night crimes that have ended in shootouts, mysterious disappearances — and even murder.
Gunman Opens Fire Outside Wisconsin School Prom
A teenage gunman shot two students outside a Wisconsin high school prom in April 2016. Authorities said that Jakob E. Wagner, 18, showed up at Antigo High School after the party at around 11 P.M. and opened fire with a rifle, wounding two students who were exiting the event. An officer who was on patrol opened fire, hitting Wagner. He was taken to a local hospital, but later died.
Police said Wagner was a “student with a disability” who had graduated from Antigo and been working for a community-based support agency that paid him to volunteer in Antigo’s art department. This meant that Wagner was frequently at the school, and an acquaintance described him as “fun to be around.” A source who knew Wagner also said that he had been dating someone at Antigo, although they’d recently broken up. [NBC News]
Murder of Canadian Man Captured On Cell Phone Footage
Brandon Volpi, an 18-year-old student, was stabbed to death after his prom outside the Les Suites hotel in downtown Ottawa during the early morning hours of June 7, 2014. His killer, 21-year-old Devontay Hackett, who is now 21, was sentenced in April 2017 to life in prison with no parole for 12 years. Key to the prosecution’s case was shocking cell phone footage of the fight between Volpi and Hackett, which showed Hackett stabbing Volpi in the chest and slashing his throat.
Hackett fled to Toronto after Volpi’s death, where he was found with the victim’s blood on his watch about a month later. The judge called the murder “a cowardly, brutal attack on an unarmed man,” and, though he had the option of allowing Hackett to be eligible for parole after 10 years, upped it to 12 because he said that the defendant never took responsibility for his actions. [CTV News]
Prom Date Ends In Death By Strangulation
On May 10, 2014, 17-year-old Jacqueline Gomez and her date, 18-year-old Eddie Herrera, attended their prom at a hotel in Houston, Texas. After the prom, the couple went to a hotel room where they drank whiskey and took hydrocodone pills before engaging in what Herrera claimed was consensual rough sex. Herrera then allegedly strangled Gomez, who he had been dating for three weeks. He claimed that she was alive when he went to sleep — and then when he woke up, he found her dead.
Related: Did Jeffrey Pelley Massacre His Family So He Could Go To The Prom?He called his mother, Melissa Ann Martinez, who had gotten them the hotel room, the alcohol, and the pills. She arrived and dressed Gomez before calling the front desk. Hotel staff called 911. After an extensive investigation, Herrera was arrested on January 15, 2015. He was found guilty of assaulting Gomez, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Herrera’s mother Melissa Ann Martinez, was sentenced to 21 months behind bars for providing pills to her son. [KHOU]
Teen Killed Classmate Because She Wouldn’t Go To The Prom With Him
In 2014 Christopher Plaskon, a teen from Milford, Connecticut, murdered a classmate at his high school hours before the junior prom. Police say Plaskon stabbed Maren Sanchez, 16, to death in a stairwell at Jonathan Law High School in Milford on April 25, 2014. Plaskon’s family and friends have said he was upset Sanchez turned down his prom invitation.
The murder of Sanchez, a friendly and popular student, shocked the community. At the trial the victim’s mother, Donna Sanchez, revealed that her daughter loved music, learned to play guitar using the Internet, started a dog-walking business at the age of nine, and volunteered at the VA Hospital. Plaskon was sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder, and will be eligible for parole in 13 years. Defense attorneys have said Plaskon showed signs of psychosis, and revealed that they considered an insanity defense. [NBC Connecticut]
Teen Gives Birth In Bathroom Stall During Prom, Throws Baby In Trash
On the night of June 6, 1997, 18-year-old Melissa Drexler attended her high school prom with her boyfriend. She reportedly complained about stomach pains on her way to the dance. At some point, she went to the bathroom for a period of time. Concerned, a friend heard something fall into the toilet and asked if she was okay. Drexler said that she was fine and, when she came out, continued to dance. Later, school officials noticed the stall that Drexler had used was covered with blood. But when they asked the teen about it, she claimed that she had just had a heavy period. But a maintenance man discovered the body of a dead newborn boy in a trash bin outside. Faced with the evidence, Drexler admitted that she had given birth, but claimed that the baby had been stillborn.
Shockingly, she claimed that she had kept the entire pregnancy a secret from friends and family and that, after giving birth, she picked the body out of the toilet, put it in a plastic bag, and threw it in the garbage. However an autopsy revealed that the baby had been born alive, and that Drexler had choked him. In June 1997, Drexler was charged with murder. She eventually pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but released after only 36 months. [NBC News]
Four Teens Murdered At Post Prom Lock-In
On the evening of May 21, 2005, Michael Dillon, 17, and Megan Poston, 16, attended a post-prom lock-in party in Huntington, West Virginia. But the couple snuck out and ended up in a house rented by 20-year-old Donte Ward. At around 4:30 A.M., an unidentified person opened fire on Ward, Poston, Dillon, and Eddrick Clark, 18 — killing all of them. It is believed that Ward was the target of the shooting because of a drug dispute, and the three teens were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and were murdered in order to prevent them from identifying the shooter.
Police believe that a Detroit woman named Cherylethia “Bunny” Holmes ordered the hit, which she denies. Holmes is currently serving a life sentence for ordering the murder of another woman who she believes stole money and drugs from a crack house. The shooter has never been positively identified. [NBC News]
Teen Who Went Missing On Prom Night Dies In Car Accident
The Idaho teen who went missing on prom night — and was later found at a friend’s house — met a tragic end when he died in a car accident. Kristian Perez, 17, signed out of the Orofino High School prom at 9:32 P.M. on April 14, 2017, and ended communication with friends or relatives, according to the Orofino Police Department. Authorities said at the time that Perez was driven to the event by a relative, and was later reported missing by his mother. A K-9 tracking team was able to follow Kristian’s scent west of the prom event space, the National Grand Armory, to a nearby parking lot, and police found one of Kristian’s shoes, a tuxedo jacket, and a broken cellphone near the vehicle.Related: Two 16-Year-Old Girls Arrested For Threatening To Kill Students, Staff At Colorado High School
Perez was found a few days later, voluntarily staying at the home of a 26-year-old man. Running away from home is a crime in Idaho, and Perez was arrested, charged, and released. On April 19, Perez reportedly lost control of the Chevy Tahoe he was driving and rolled it down an embankment. Deputies had been called regarding a possibly suicidal person prior to the crash. [CrimeFeed]
Main photo: Eddie Herrera [Houston Police Department]