Two brothers in Washington state were sentenced to varying prison terms earlier this week for their respective roles in the murder and subsequent dismemberment of their cousin.
In late November 2020, 27-year-old Derrick Ray Wily was choked to death by Jareau Afo, 28. The month before, the two had apparently gotten into a fight, Jordan Afo, 31, would later tell police. Lingering tensions from that incident, shared by all three men, still remained.
“Jareau said that Jordan never really dropped it and would always step up for him when Jareau thought Jordan had backed down,” a detective with the Shelton Police Department wrote in an incident report obtained by the Shelton-Mason County Journal in December 2020. “Jordan said that Jareau thought he had backed down from Derrick and that Derrick was being disrespectful.”
Wily was reported missing on Nov. 23, 2020, three days before Thanksgiving, according to the report. That same day, Jordan Afo led law enforcement to his remains – cut up and placed in several different black trash bags, and dumped in the swampy woods near Isabella Lake in Mason County, Washington.
The day after the gruesome discovery, both of the Afo brothers were arrested and charged by officers with the Shelton Police Department and deputies with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office.
At first, Jordan took all the blame.
In his initial interview with police, at the scene in swamp, the older brother said he killed Wily and placed his body in the woods. Quickly, however, cracks in the narrative appeared. During a custodial interview at the police station, Jordan Afo next said he blacked out after Wily hit him in his parents garage and then woke up to find Wily dead roughly a week prior, but that he had no idea how the victim had died. Then, he said, he dismembered the body and placed the man’s remains in the black bags and a white cooler.
Those statements led to a warrant being executed at the Afo brothers’ property. Jareau was arrested after trying to leave the house.
Jordan Afo finally settled on an account where he was doing some home improvements on the bathroom. Sometime that day, the brothers and the victim smoked together. But eventually, Jordan Afo returned to the garage and found Wily lying face up, unresponsive after being shaken. He told detectives he wanted to call 911 but didn’t want his brother to get in trouble. Instead, he just left.
Jordan Afo returned home a few days later.
Wily’s body had already been dismembered, he told police, and stored in the cooler. A few days after that, he said, he left the cooler outside the fence of a scrap yard. Later, he returned to try and bury his cousin because “he felt bad about and did not want to just dump the parts,” so he did “the best he could,” according to the incident report.
Jareau Afo, meanwhile, confessed to choking Wily to death.
In late November of this year, both pleaded guilty, according to the Journal. Jareau Afo pleaded guilty to one count of murder in the second degree; Jordan Afo pleaded guilty to one count each of criminal assistance in the first degree, and unlawful disposal of human remains.
According to Seattle Fox affiliate KCPQ, the killer was sentenced to 20 years in prison. His accomplice brother was sentenced to five years.
Wily’s foster mother, Malynn Foster, excoriated the legal system in a statement to the TV station.
“It’s unbelievable in this day and age that there is no crime against dismemberment and mutilation if you come across a dead body or kill someone,” she said. “That rendering criminal assistance is the best they could do for Jordan for unlawful disposal of human remains, which are subject to standard sentencing guidelines. In the shadow of plea deals, the judge doesn’t know how heinous the crimes are unless the victims and survivors are strong enough and informed enough of the facts, then state the facts in their impact statements. Which we did, as a family today.”
In separate comments to Seattle NBC affiliate KING, Foster appeared more at peace with the outcome.
“I feel like the judge heard us today,” she said. “I feel like the system worked today. And while I feel like the system doesn’t always work, not just for our people, but people of color, but all people, today, it worked.”
Wily was a member of the local Squaxin Island Tribe. He was mourned outside the courthouse during the Afo brothers’ sentencing hearing by way of a ceremony that included drum-playing and prayers.
“We have a responsibility as Indigenous people to sing our songs, to gather, and do all of those things,” tribe member Jaimie Cruz told KING. “He was a young warrior, and he’ll never be able to experience that or fulfill what he was here to do.”
[image via screengrab/KING]
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