Jason Horsley and his girlfriend, Deborah Loiselle, relocated to Denver, Colorado, to purchase and refurbish a house for resale at a profit. When Malaika Tamu Griffin became their neighbor, tensions escalated between Deborah and Malaika, leading to heated confrontations frequently. However, one night, the sound of a gunshot echoed, and Jason was discovered dead. The events surrounding Jason’s death are explored in ‘Vengeance: Killer Neighbors: Nightmare Next Door’. The episode delves into the details of the case and focuses on how the police eventually linked the crime to Deborah and the challenges they faced in capturing her, a pursuit that spanned several years.
How Did Jason Horsley Die?
Raised in Sheridan, Wyoming, Jason’s educational journey led him to Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he discovered his true passion for manual craftsmanship. Opting to pursue carpentry, he swiftly ascended to the role of a foreman. Jason and his girlfriend, Deborah, epitomized urban pioneers when they relocated to a residence on Humboldt Street in City Park West, Denver. Their shared ambition was to renovate the house and strive for a better quality of life. Accompanied by their two dogs, their household embodied the pursuit of big dreams and a fulfilling lifestyle.
At approximately 9 p.m. on May 18, 1999, Deborah was startled by the sound of a gunshot. Reacting swiftly, she joined her neighbor Beverly Grant in investigating the source of the noise. To their shock, they discovered Jason lying in the front seat, confirming their fears that he had been shot. Jason succumbed to his injuries before the arrival of the first responders. The investigation later revealed that he had been shot at close range with a bullet passing through him and lodging itself in Jason’s truck.
Who Killed Jason Horsley?
Shortly after Jason’s murder, Deborah promptly informed investigators that she believed their neighbor, Malaika, was the perpetrator. However, when the police interviewed Beverly Grant, Malaika’s landlady, she portrayed Malaika as a model tenant. Undeterred, the police delved deeper into the case and discovered crucial information from another neighbor, Monique Thomas. Monique, who was at home with her toddler at the time of the attack on Jason, revealed that Malaika had visited her residence a few hours after the incident. Malaika demanded the keys to Monique’s car, and when Monique refused, Malaika resorted to wielding a gun, forcibly taking possession of the vehicle.
As the police delved into Malaika’s background, they discovered that she originally hailed from Mississippi and had relocated to Denver while working at a pharmacy. Information provided by Grant revealed that Malaika initially resided in a hostel but later opted for a more affordable living arrangement in the neighborhood. Malaika shared her new residence with a roommate named John. Trouble arose shortly after her move when Malaika expressed discontent with Deborah and Jason’s dogs, citing their constant barking as a source of irritation.
Grant attested to witnessing escalating tensions between Malaika and the couple, noting heated confrontations and the exchange of harsh words from both parties. According to Deborah, on the night of the murder, Jason had parked his vehicle and was engaged in his routine of cleaning his car, a regular practice for him given that he often carried most of his tools and performed this task nightly. On this particular evening, Jason happened to be cleaning his car in front of Malaika’s residence, which led to an altercation. Malaika emerged angrily, confronting Deborah about her boyfriend’s belongings being outside her house.
Jason stepped in, urging Deborah to leave, and this intervention escalated into a heated argument between Jason and Malaika. Deborah retreated indoors, only to hear the fatal gunshot shortly after. The police quickly realized the severity of the situation when they entered Malaika’s room and discovered alarming items. Among them were a 9mm carbine and a stash of hand grenades, raising the stakes in their pursuit of the fugitive. A distinctive red jacket, identified as Malaika’s, lay abandoned in the yard, while a black bag belonging to her was located in the neighborhood.
Upon inspecting the bag, law enforcement found a journal containing disturbing entries that revealed troubling ideas about terrorism and a potential race war. The contents indicated a deep-seated hatred toward white people and men, leading the police to the realization that Jason may have embodied all that Malaika harbored animosity toward. The police initiated a widespread manhunt for Malaika, prompting the FBI to join forces in the pursuit, expanding the search to multiple states. However, efforts to trace her were complicated when the stolen car she had commandeered from Monique was found abandoned.
Malaika’s trail seemed to go cold after she was last seen boarding a bus to Chicago. Her evasion tactics continued, with Malaika becoming a repeat feature on ‘America’s Most Wanted,’ appearing on the show nine times. It wasn’t until 2005 that a crucial tip led authorities to a woman matching her description working in an office. Further investigation by the FBI revealed that she had adopted the alias “Lake Griffin” and was employed as a law assistant at a biotech firm. The FBI swiftly acted, knocking on her door and charging her with first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, and aggravated motor theft, culminating in her arrest.
Where is Malaika Tamu Griffin Now?
Malaika Tamu Griffin was extradited to Colorado in June 2005, steadfastly denying the charges leveled against her. Her trial commenced on February 27, 2006, and during her defense, Malaika claimed that she believed Jason was reaching for a gun during their argument, prompting her to act in self-defense. However, the prosecution successfully demonstrated that at the moment of the shooting, Jason’s back was turned to Malaika, refuting any immediate threat. Regarding her incriminating diary entries, Malaika asserted that they were merely works of fiction, akin to plays she was writing.
Nevertheless, the jury rendered a verdict of guilt on all charges. Malaika received a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the first-degree murder charge, and an additional 10 years, to be served consecutively, for the aggravated robbery conviction. In 2009, she pursued an appeal, but the court upheld her conviction. Presently, Malaika Tamu Griffin is at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility, where she continues to serve the terms of her imprisonment.