Grant Steven Charboneau
Multnomah County - Oregon
Sentenced to death: 1994
Charboneau, leader of a gang of Portland street kids, was involved
in three murders in 1992. He paid two youths to kill his father, double-amputee
Hal Charboneau, 45, so he could inherit his St. Johns house. He
participated in the torture-murder of Misty Largo, 19, a street kid he
claimed was spreading rumors about him. And he ordered the killing of
Michael Leon Stanton, 15, to keep him from talking about killing Largo.
The Supreme Court overturned Charboneau's aggravated murder
conviction in 1996 because prosecutors made improper remarks to the jury
about the testimony of a co-conspirator.
Interesting fact: Among Portland street kids, Charboneau called
himself "X.O.," for executive officer.
Status: Serving a life sentence.
Street killing sets off grisly
By Jim Redden - The Portland Tribune
June 17, 2003
The alleged leader of a
Portland street kids “family” that is charged with killing a 22-year-old
woman last month is a convicted murderer whose street name is Thantos, a
variation on Thanatos, the Greek god of death.
Eleven years ago, James Daniel
Nelson was a 16-year-old Sacramento, Calif., runaway who called himself
“Highlander,” a name used in a series of fantasy films about an ancient
race of humans called the Immortals, who can only be killed by their own
As part of a complicated conspiracy
among a family of Portland street kids and homeless adults, Nelson
stabbed a 15-year-old runaway to death under the west end of the Marquam
After serving more than 10 years
for the teenager’s murder, Nelson returned to Portland and became leader
of the Thantos street family. It is suspected of killing one of its
members Ñ Jessica Kate Williams, a developmentally disabled Gladstone
woman whose brutalized body was found under the east end of the Steel
Bridge on May 23.
Norm Frink, senior Multnomah County
deputy district attorney, is struck by the common features of both
“The similarities are remarkable,”
said Frink, who helped prosecute the earlier family members for their
crimes, which included two murders in addition to the one committed by
According to court records, after
the 27-year-old Nelson was released from prison March 24, he began
hanging out with Portland street kids Ñ first at the Peace Camp across
the street from City Hall and then at a camp under the west end of the
Marquam Bridge. That was roughly the same area where he stabbed and
killed 15-year-old Leon Michael Stanton 11 years ago.
Court records say Nelson became the
leader of the informal street family at the Marquam Bridge. One law
enforcement official familiar with the case said his previous murder and
prison sentence gave him credibility among the younger family members.
Last week the district attorney’s
office charged 12 members of the street family with a variety of crimes
related to Williams’ death. Three teens have been charged with
aggravated murder, and 10 other people Ñ including Nelson Ñ have been
charged with assault, kidnapping and coercion.
According to an arrest warrant
affidavit released in the case, one of the young women arrested on the
kidnapping and assault charges told police officers that Williams “had
angered the family by spreading lies to family members and that the
family, under the direction of Nelson, was going to punish her.”
According to the affidavit, family
members attacked Williams under the west end of the Marquam Bridge.
Williams was then led across the Willamette River on the Steel Bridge,
where she was stabbed to death and set on fire with lighter fluid, the
Plots and punishments
Nelson was not the leader of the
family that committed the 1992 murders, according to court records and
published accounts at the time. The leader was Grant Charboneau, 20, a
Portlander who lived with his mother but hung around Portland street
Charboneau’s best friend was
Gregory Paul Wilson, a 30-year-old transient who went by the street name
“Whisper” because of his raspy voice.
Charboneau and Wilson impressed the
younger street youths by pretending to be undercover military operatives.
Charboneau called himself “X.O.,” for executive officer, while Wilson
referred to himself as “C.O.,” for commanding officer.
Most of the followers lived in a
homeless camp along the west bank of the Willamette River under the
Marquam Bridge, just a couple of hundred yards south of the RiverPlace
Charboneau’s estranged father, Hal
Charboneau, was a double amputee who owned a house in St. Johns. In
early 1992, Grant Charboneau persuaded two of his followers to kill his
father so that he could inherit the house.
The two family members broke into
the house on May 1, 1992. Public records say two runaways from
Vancouver, Wash. Ñ Stanton and Joel Michael Seaquist, 16 Ñ stabbed the
senior Charboneau to death and stole his rare coin collection. Portland
police began investigating the killing as a botched robbery.
Grant Charboneau moved into the
house approximately one month after the killing. He began letting family
members visit or stay there, including Stanton and Michelle Woodall, 19,
an Arizona runaway who went by the name Misty Largo.
By late July, Charboneau heard that
Woodall was telling other street kids that he and Wilson were not
soldiers. Angered by the betrayal, he ordered family members to take her
by force from the Marquam Bridge camp and brought to the house. She was
bound to a wheelchair, tortured and finally strangled on July 26 by
several family members, including Wilson, Marvin Al-Tai-Juan Smith, 24,
and Angela Marie Kincaid, 16.
presented to the jury is set forth in the district
court's opinion: The victim, Misty Largo, was a
homeless teenager who had been living in Portland
for 6 to 12 months at the time of her death.
On July 25, 1992,
defendant, along with Greg Wilson and two other men,
drove to an area under the Marquam Bridge where
Largo then was living. Defendant and Wilson were
concerned that Largo was spreading rumors about
Wilson's having stabbed someone.
The group found Largo and
escorted her back to their vehicle at knifepoint.
They drove to defendant's house. Defendant took
Largo into the house, also at knifepoint. Many
people were there. Largo was taken into a back room.
Wilson instructed several of the people present to
hit Largo in the face, and they did. Largo was kept
in the back room, where she was repeatedly
interrogated and slapped.
The next day, defendant and
Wilson left the house and told others in the house
to make sure that Largo did not leave. When
defendant and Wilson returned later that day, Largo
was interrogated and slapped for several hours. Then
she was taken again to the back room. At some point
that evening, Wilson, in defendant's presence,
decided that he would kill Largo.
Largo was tied to a wheelchair.
Wilson and defendant first tried to kill Largo by
poisoning her with a glass of water in which they
had dissolved a nitroglycerin pill. When that act
failed to kill Largo, defendant found a plastic bag
and placed it over Largo's head. After about five
minutes, Largo was still breathing. Defendant then
located a piece of speaker wire and wrapped it
around Largo's neck.
Defendant and Wilson took turns
choking Largo with the speaker wire for five to ten
minutes. Still not convinced that Largo was dead,
Wilson hit Largo on the sternum and throat. She 'gurgled
and choked and stopped breathing.' After Largo died,
defendant said that he would dispose of her body.
Defendant and Michael Leon Stanton, another man at
the defendant's house, left with the body. Defendant
later said that he had hit Largo twice in the head
with a splitting maul and that he and Stanto[n] had
stabbed her in the heart.