Keith Loker - A Victim of the Message Cult:
Many members of the "Message," William Branham's mind control cult, are unaware of the evil that went on in Prescott, Arizona at the hands of Gene Goad and Leo Mercer who Branham nicknamed his "tape boys." Though the pastors of the cult appear to be fully aware, the information is controlled and seldom given to the followers. To date, nothing has changed to assure that what happened before will not happen again.
When we mention the "Park" on this website, we usually focus on the sexual misconduct of Gene and Leo, who Branham's close associate "Doctor" Lee Vayle admitted in sermon were homosexuals with issues far beyond their sexual preference. It is so shocking to cult followers to learn that William Branham knowingly travelled the country with homosexual men that after examining this information and other supporting information, we are often asked, "Was William Branham also homosexual?"
But we seldom pause to study the victim. While we discuss the slayings of a killer and the sexual crimes of recognized names in the "Message" cult, we overlook the true victim and the pain that it must cause for his family.
On November 27, 1991, the headlines of newspapers were filled with news of a killer on the run. Very little was known by the man, other than the fact that he was a twenty-year-old man named Keith Loker. San Bernardino County Sun ran a large article complete with map describing the crime spree entitled, "Arizona man sought in 3-day crime spree." According to the report, Loker had killed and wounded people inside the California "Robin Hood Adult Book Store," and then made his way back into Arizona robbing, raping, and shooting. Inside the adult bookstore, Loker had proven that his motive was not simply robbery; he paused to enter the pornography stalls and shoot and kill a man engaged in self pleasure. At his trial, he was accused of shooting to death two men in the adult bookstore, wounding two others in the same location, rape, and attempting to murder another. His crime spree ended in a 49-minute high-speed chase with 20 police officers pursuing in Arizona. Loker waved at TV cameras as he ran from police.
His murder trial went as expected, and sentencing trial went much the same. Convicted of murder for killing two men in the adult bookstore, the jury took less than a day to find Loker guilty of his charges and sentence him to death. But this trial was highly unusual, unlike other robbery and murder cases tried in the United States court system. Though the result of his crime spree could be compared to the outcome of any other, the motive of his crime made big news: The motive of this entire killing spree was suicide. Loker had decided that there was no hope left, and he would end his life by forcing the United States legal system to punish him by death.
The sentencing trial focused on Loker's childhood in a Prescott, Arizona trailer park that was a commune for what the newspapers called a "religious sect called The Message Church." His childhood far from normal, the result of a forced marriage that led to a family feud. Leo Mercer had ordered Roger Loker, a homosexual, to marry Marietta Daulton. According to newspapers, when it was discovered that Roger was homosexual, church elders physically assaulted Roger and forced him to have sex with his wife. The result of this forced sexual encounter resulted in Keith Loker, who many in the cult then believed to be a "demon child," marked with the evil spirit of his father. By the time Keith Loker was seventeen years old, his father refused to continue. Keith and his mother were kicked out of their home, and his father chose to replace them with his boyfriend.
The trial included testimony by several witnesses in the commune. Describing children being raped by elders of the church, the physical and sexual abuse of both children and adults, and even what appears to have been sexual slavery or the attempt of creating a sexual slave to the elders. Loker's defense attorney focused the jury's attention to not only the terrible childhood of the young killer, but also the environment that led to that terrible childhood.
"Among the mitigating factors: Loker's lack of a prior criminal record and the physical, psychological and emotional abuse he suffered during a bizarre upbringing. 'Shame, embarrassment and humiliation were common forms of punishment for even minor transgressions', Smith Said. According to family members, Loker was considered to have been 'born in perversion' in a trailer park that was home to a religious group. Loker was conceived after church elders discovered his father was homosexual, beat him up and forced him to have sex with his wife. The father never accepted his son. Although Loker clearly had severe emotional problems, there was no evidence that he received help, said his attorney Arthur Katz of the public defender's office."
- San Bernardino County Sun, Feb 11, 1995
While examining the shocking details of the sexual misconduct of the men Branham praised and put into power, we must never forget the victims of those same stories. Still awaiting execution, Keith Loker is a victim. His family, their lives devastated by a situation they cannot fully understand, are victims. Some of that family still clings to the "Message," looking for answers to their problems. Answers that will never come. Others, changed by the impact this had on their lives, fled the cult and never looked back. They remember the testimony given during the trial, and the tragic events that inspired that testimony.
Leo Mercer, a self-proclaimed minister, ran the park. After Brother Branham's death in 1965, Mercer gradually became more authoritative, employing various forms of punishment. He would ostracize people from the community and separate families. Children were beaten for minor infractions like talking during a march or not tying their shoes. Mercer would punish girls by cutting their hair, and force boys to wear girls' clothing. There was also evidence that Mercer sexually abused children.
- People vs. Loker, S045060
Doris Scott, defendant's aunt, moved to the park in 1962 when she was 18, and left in 1975. At the time of her testimony, she had recently learned that Mercer had molested one of her sons. Hugh, her youngest son, was raised in the park and had trouble with violence as an adult. Doris turned her own anger inward, and tried to commit suicide twice.
- People vs. Loker, S045060
Cult members defend this situation by (ironically) comparing the cult's sexual misconduct to that of the Catholic Church. For years, the Catholic Church denied that there was a problem with the priests, and disgraceful situations were swept under the rug. But for the Catholic Church, those days are now far behind. The Catholic Church has reformed with regards to this type of issue, and there is no control of information. Members of the Catholic Church are made aware, and every precaution is put into place to prevent another incident.
Why has the "Message" cult not reformed? Why do they still control information? Has the Catholic Church progressed more into truth and righteousness than William Branham's following? Should Catholic priests teach cult pastors how to properly run their churches with regards to protecting their sheep?
The video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rePAnvvx8g
Newspaper articles and quotes by William Branham: http://seekyethetruth.com/resources-deep-loker.aspx
Government Records: http://scocal.stanford.edu/opinion/people-v-loker-33137 http://seekyethetruth.com/files/awareness/People%20Vs%20Loker%20-%20Victim%20of%20Gene%20Goad%20And%20Leo%20Mercer%20Commune.pdf