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Jesse McFadden’s obsession with sex alarmed his jail cellmate. Why was he released early?

EXCLUSIVE: McFadden’s former cellmate James Fleming tells Andrea Blanco what it was like living with him as he served time for rape

Friday 05 May 2023 15:09 BST
(KOTV-DT)

A man who shared a prison cell with convicted sex offender Jesse McFadden has revealed the deviant sexual behaviour he exhibited in jail, as outrage mounts over the alleged Oklahoma killer’s early release and how he was able to remain free despite facing charges of soliciting a minor.

Oklahoma authorities confirmed on Wednesday that the property near Henryetta where seven bodies were found earlier this week was the scene of a murder-suicide. Investigators determined Jesse McFadden, 39, shot dead his wife Holly Guess, 35, and her children Rylee Elizabeth Allen, 17, Michael James Mayo, 15, and Tiffany Dore Guess, 13.

The children’s friends 14-year-old Ivy Webster and 15-year-old Brittany Brewer, who stayed at the home over the weekend for a sleepover, were also killed. McFadden then staged the grisly scene and turned the gun on himself. He was set to stand trial over child porn charges on the day authorities made the gruesome discovery.

McFadden, a registered sex offender, had already served 16 years in prison following a conviction for the rape of a minor. He was released in 2020, three years before his sentence was set to end, despite being hit with fresh charges in 2017 after he was caught using a contraband cell phone to exchange nude photos with a minor.

Now, a man who claims to have been McFadden’s cellmate at Joseph Harp Correctional Center in 2015 has come forward with shocking details about McFadden’s disturbing behaviour in prison.

“He [was] a very sexual person, you know, like everything that he talked about was just always sexual,” James Fleming, who was jailed at JHCC on drug charges, told The Independent in a phone interview. “Every time we had a conversation, he would always try to lead it up to something sexual ... the way that he tried to push it on me was just very uncomfortable.”

Fleming also recounted often being awoken in the middle of the night by McFadden’s deviant dreams. Fleming, who has since been released on probation, said that McFadden’s odd behaviour left a negative impression on him for years after they were sent to different facilities.

“I remember telling my [new] cellmate ... just how weird he was,” Mr Fleming said. “Like he would say stuff in his sleep. And excuse my language, but he’d be like, ‘Come here, bi***. Give me that ….’ you know, you can elaborate on it.”

It comes as local news station KFOR revealed on Wednesday that authorities left behind a trove of stomach-churning evidence at McFadden’s property after releasing the scene and reportedly claiming that part of the investigation was over. While touring the residence with the owner’s authorisation, a crew of reporters found hand restraints, sex toys and drug paraphernalia that have since been seized by Okmulgee Police.

Fleming said that he didn’t initially know McFadden was in jail for a sex offence, but shortly after they were paired together, he realised that McFadden was consumed by sexual thoughts. When reached by The Independent, a spokesperson with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections confirmed that both McFadden and Fleming were jailed at JHCC in 2015. The state agency declined to confirm or deny they were cellmates citing protocol over security concerns.

Although he first thought the arrangement was a success because they had the same prison job and schedule, Fleming said that learning about McFadden’s previous offences completely changed his mind about the rapist and would-be mass killer.

“[He talked about sex] all the time. I mean, it wasn’t once a week, it was all the time, all the time,” Fleming told The Independent. “And I talked to somebody yesterday and I told him, ‘If I wasn’t mentally and physically strong as I was, I believe that he would have tried to molest me in there.’”

“When you find out that about somebody, it just changes the way you think about them because it’s so horrific,” he added. “He tried to justify the rape but I knew that he got sentenced to 20 years in prison for that and you don’t get sentenced to 20 years if it’s statutory rape and you’re 18 and she’s 17 and the parents got mad at you and called the cops on you.”

A crew of KFOR reporters found hand restraints, sex toys and drug paraphernalia at McFadden’a home (KFOR )
The evidence has since been seized by Okmulgee Police (KFOR/Screenshot)

Fleming, who was released in 2021, said that he tried to warn Henryetta Police Department about McFadden back in February of this year. Screenshots of what appears to be a conversation between him and the department’s Facebook page show that Fleming described McFadden as a “predator with multiple offences.”

A spokesperson with Henryetta Police Department told The Independent that McFadden’s address was located in an unincorporated part of Okmulgee County, where his registration was up to date, and deferred to Okmulgee Police Department.

“Due to his home address. Henryetta Police Department would have no records kept of his registration,” Henryetta Police said in a statement.

After his release in October 2020, McFadden was arrested the next month and then released on a $25,000 bond pending trial, which was repeatedly delayed, partially due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Relatives of the victims have expressed disbelief after learning about McFadden’s early release, especially in light of the seriousness of the new charges against him.

Ivy and Brittany’s parents have said they did not know McFadden had been convicted of raping a minor, while Guess’ mother has said she only found out very recently. McFadden was on the state’s sex offender registry, but it is unclear whether local registries are readily available for the public.

According to Oklahoma law, registered sex offenders are not allowed within a 2,000-foot radius of schools or facilities caring for children. The Independent has reached out to Okmulgee County Sheriff’s Office.

Tiffany Dore Guess, 13, Michael James Mayo, 15, and Rylee Elizabeth Allen, 17 (Associated Press)

McFadden’s 2003 rape victim Krystle Strong also told The Independent earlier this week that she had tried to stop his early release.

“I called the jail,” Ms Strong said. “I believe I left a voicemail and tried to get transferred and I kept getting the runaround. I told them, ‘Look, I’ve called you guys over the years several times trying to get updates and I’ve seen that you guys are still going to let him out even after you found contraband child porn on his phone. If this doesn’t show that somebody isn’t rehabilitated, then I don’t know what else would.’”

Ms Strong said she was violently attacked by McFadden at knife-point when she was just 16 years old, and he was 19. Guess’ family told NewsNation on Wednesday that McFadden reportedly paid a woman to impersonate Ms Strong and tell Guess that “it was all a misunderstanding” and she was 19 when the rape took place.

“He paid people to lie to her. He literally found somebody, whoever, and he paid that person to go to Holly and say that I made up the whole story,” Ms Strong said. “And I don’t believe the knife that he held in my throat was ever brought up either.”

Brittany Brewer, 15, and Ivy Webster, 14 (Brewer family / Webster family via Facebook)

Defence attorney Lee Berlin told the Associated Press on Wednesday that he’s shocked by what he described as a “panoply of errors” in the McFadden case. He said they include releasing McFadden from prison despite serious charges pending against him as well as “low” bail for McFadden once he was arrested on the new charges.

“I’m a sex-crimes defence attorney — this is all I do all day every day — and I’m like, how the hell does that happen?” Mr Berlin told the AP.

“And they rushed him out of prison. How?” Guess’ mother Jannette Mayo also told the AP. “Oklahoma failed to protect families. And because of that my children, my daughter and my grandchildren are all gone ... I’m never going to get to see ’em, never going to get to hold them, and it’s killing me.”

McFadden had vowed not to return to prison in a series of ominous messages with the teenager whom he had allegedly been texting while behind bars. According to screen grabs of the messages by KOKI in Tulsa, McFadden said his “great life” was crumbling and blamed the teenager for the latest set of charges against him that could put him back in prison for decades. A solicitation conviction can mean a 10-year sentence, while a pornography charge could mean 20 years behind bars.

A memorial is placed at the home of Brittany Brewer in Henryetta, Okla., on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 (OKLAHOMAN)

“Now it’s all gone,” McFadden texted. “I told you I wouldn’t go back.”

“This is all on you for continuing this,” he said.

The victims all suffered between one to three shots to the head. McFadden used his wife’s gun to carry out the attack.

The outrage sparked by the handling of McFadden’s case has prompted local residents to create a Change.org petition demanding for harsher sentences and no early release for convicted sex offenders. More than 700 people have signed the petition as of Friday morning.

“We are also asking that it be mandated that all city police stations and schools in Oklahoma have a board set up with all local sex offender’s pictures and information on them and kept up to date,” the description of the page read.

“This is so important so we can help our local people, police, and school staff [stay] aware of offenders in our area because the man responsible for these horrendous murders, like other offenders, [was] able to manipulate people into believ[ing] false information.”

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