'My son was loved;' Family mourns teen as 2 Lewis Co. brothers charged with rape, murder
CHEHALIS, Wash. - Lured by friends, then raped and murdered. Those are the new allegations in the murder of 16-year-old Ben Eastman.
Jonathan Adamson, 21, and younger brother Benny Marquez, 16, walked into court on Monday and faced a room full of family and friends of the boy.
In the front row, waiting to face the brothers sat Ben's father, Benjamin Eastman. He leaned in on the court railing making sure the brothers couldn't miss him, flanked by his best friend and mother.
"I wanted them to look at me, I wanted to look them in the eye," said Eastman.
Court documents said the brothers invited Eastman camping, then brutally beat, raped and murdered him. The brothers then buried his body on their family's property.
"When I heard they were charging them with rape and that process, that really blew me hard," said Benjamin Eastman.
The court paperwork alleges the brothers kicked and beat the boy. Adamson estimated Eastman was kicked 100 times.
Afterwards, the prosecution alleges the pair hit him some more with a large rock to ensure he was dead and then buried him, and burned his clothing.
The court documents allege the brothers worried the gravesite would be discovered, removed the body and buried it elsewhere on the property.
The Medical Examiner determined Eastman died from blunt force trauma and had extensive injuries to his head and torso.
While investigating, detectives discovered a shallow grave on property belonging to the brother's relatives in Randle.
"He had no idea but they did, he was going over there to be happy, cause that is what he was about, his joy," said Ben's father.
Ben's joy, and happy-go-lucky attitude is what Ben's family wants to focus on rather than the brothers.
Eastman said he considered his son a best friend.
They loved to camp, fish and dirt bike together.
Outside the courthouse, he said that he could never stay angry at his son for more than five minutes because he had a way of turning a negative situation into a positive, just with a smiling smirk and a look.
"It's easy to get caught up in the negative aspect of this, but I remember my son and his smile," said Eastman.
"That's all he was, happy no matter what. It didn't matter," said Derek Dunaway, Ben's half-brother.
He said Ben, an incoming Junior at White Pass High School, was the kid who had a knack for making you laugh and he had a penchant for teasing people, especially his dad and Derek.
"You'd be in a bad mood and he'd just walk in you'd just be mad as mad as you could be and he'd just crack a smile and make you giggle just over anything always," said Dunaway.
"There is evil people out there. I don't know what makes them tick. I don't want to know. I'm loved, and my son was loved and that's all I'm about," said Ben's dad.
Ben was reported missing on Sunday, his father hadn't seen him for a couple days, but said he wasn't worried because Ben toggled between his house, his mom's house and his step brother's place.
The charging documents said text messages linked Ben to Marquez, but when investigators talked to him, they said the teen told them he planned to meet up with Ben but that he was a no-show.
On Thursday, the Lewis County Sherriff's Office discovered the body and on Saturday the brothers were arrested. The State Patrol found them in Eastern Washington.
The Lewis County Prrosecutor said Marquez is automoatically being tried as an adult because of his age and the nature of the crimes.
Bail was set for each brother at $10 million. They'll be arraigned on July 12 in Lewis County.
Ben's family said the community support has been overwhelming; a fireworks show will be dedicated to Ben on the Fourth and local businesses have held an improptu fundraiser and reached out to the family to offer financial and emotional support.
On Tuesday night Eastman says they'll hold a vigil to honor his son at White Pass High School. It begins at 6 p.m.