The suspect in the murder of 17-year-old Bianca Devins appeared in an upstate New York courtroom and entered a not guilty plea on Monday. Brandon Clark, 21, is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing, after posting gruesome images of Devins’ body on social media.
According to Utica police, Clark allegedly stabbed Bianca to death in the early morning of July 14, after attending a concert together in New York City, then uploaded graphic photos of Bianca with her neck slashed to Instagram, 4chan, and gaming chat platform Discord. Clark stabbed himself in the neck when officers arrived at the crime scene after receiving a number of 911 calls from people who saw the social media posts. Police confirmed to Refinery29 that the images that spread were real.
In a grim reflection on our culture, some on social media shared the gory images in an effort to gain followers and social media clout, as well as making misogynistic memes celebrating the teen’s death. Social media platforms were criticized for not taking down the images fast enough, and Bianca’s friends and family urged people to stop sharing the photos.
“Instead of repeatedly sharing and saving these sick pictures, you report them so they can be taken down. And instead you post about what a beautiful young woman she was,” Bianca’s stepmother Kaleigh Nicole Rimmer pleaded in a Facebook post.
Investigators believe Clark was jealous and angry after Bianca allegedly kissed someone else "We have reason to believe an incident occurred either at the concert they attended or before it where she kissed somebody else and he was upset about that,” District Attorney Scott McNamara told Syracuse.com. Refinery29 has reached out to Utica police for an update on the investigation.
Rumors and theories circulated online after the images of Bianca’s body went viral online that Clark was an incel and a stalker, which Utica police disputed, saying the pair met on Instagram a couple months before. "They were definitely in an intimate relationship, and he referred to her as his girlfriend," Lt. Bryan Coromato told Refinery29. Coromato said investigators spoke with the victim’s mother, who confirmed the two had been hanging out.
The family laid the teen to rest with a wake and funeral earlier this month. According to the obituary, Bianca wanted to pursue as a career helping other young people dealing with mental illness. Her family created a scholarship fund in her name for students pursuing a degree in psychology.
Clark is being held without bail and will return to court September 16. The decision is scheduled for September 23.
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Source: Refinery29 – Tiffany Diane Tso