Murder and the furry community – the untold story of ‘Night Horse’.
by Patch O'Furr
Every community has its crimes. This story is not unusual in that way. It’s just sad in a human way.
This small subculture has suffered at least a handful of murder stories – mostly on the victim side. This week, there’s word going around that an especially deadly mass shooting in California took a friend of the community.
There were unsolved double drive-by murders of Rrroofus and MetalHead in 1996 – considered a case of mistaken identity. In 2010, there was the death of “Starblade”. He was the inspiration for the “fuck you I’m a dragon!” meme, and an outcast who suffered fatal acquaintance violence after nobody believed his claim to be in danger. In 2015, domestic violence took the life of Sasha Tigress.
Some were more dramatic than deadly: In the UK in 2009, there was an absurd murder plot by two young lovers (all lived to tell, but some went to jail). The 2014 MWFF chlorine incident got at least one headline calling it attempted murder.
And then there’s a story so brutal and pathetic, that I’m sad to put it back in anyone’s memory since it ended in a murder conviction in 2011. If there’s anything good to see here, let it be loving family memories of the victim shining through.
Why now? It’s been over since 2011, and I don’t know anyone who has to do with it. It just came up as part of a short list of tragedies in the past. It seems like news reports left some things unclear. And the victim suffered disrepute and might deserve to have the story told right. This has bugged me for a long time.
The murder of Jon Dargis
The story has four characters – two men, and two women. They were young and geeky (just past high school). One woman was a witness and girlfriend of the murderer. The other woman was intimate with both men. That was the motive for one man to murder the other. We’ll look at her involvement.
The bloody details are very upsetting. The murder was done by tricking the victim to come out to the woods, stabbing him, then slowly killing him over 20 minutes while he asked for help. It was snowy and difficult to bury the body, so it was easily found. I feel like avoiding saying anything else about that.
An introduction for readers from a furry community point of view:
About the victim:
Reports about the murder that Joshua Hambley was convicted for:
- Funeral for Zeeland area homicide victim Jon Dargis is Wednesday
- Prosecutor to seek first-degree murder in Zeeland case
- Zeeland murder suspect who stabbed, beat friend with a shovel will go to trial
- Michigan Court of Appeals upholds first-degree murder conviction for Joshua Hambley
Here’s the parts to give attention for what doesn’t add up.
- Witness says assault was motive in Zeeland teen killing
- Defense attorney grills self-described ‘furry’; judge sends Hambley case to felony court on murder charge
The testimony ventured into some strange territory with a 19-year-old woman who claimed Dargis sexually assaulted her recently in a pickup on the grounds of the former Holland Country Club.
The woman also revealed on the stand that she is a “furry” – someone who believes they are an anthropomorphic being. In her case, she said she believes she is part human and part horse and has named her “furry” persona “Night Horse.”
When “Night Horse” accused Jon Dargis of sexual assault, she made a motive for murder. But among many dubious statements, she admitted lying to police. The second news report said she was shown not to be credible in court.
More than any other story has done, let’s try to tease apart the reported facts, to uncover what seems like involvement hidden by Night Horse. It’s likely that some would prefer to let sleeping dogs lie, to keep a happy face on this community. But dead people are easy to slander. If the story wasn’t told right, then it’s unjust to let it stand after it brought disrepute to this community and the victim.
Reconstructing a story from public reporting requires reading between the lines. Doing it carefully leads to what are, in my opinion, unavoidable conclusions. Some of them are very touchy subjects that often cause high drama. Get upset, but don’t attack the messenger.
Night Horse used a fursona name to others. There’s no clue that anyone else was a furry, but it hints about comfort with others that makes it possible.
Night Horse was the ex girlfriend of Joshua Hambley. His new girlfriend was Amanda Tapley.
Hambley was into airsoft. So was Jon Dargis, a loved member of his school robotics team. Dargis got involved with Night Horse.
Dargis and Night Horse got together in a parked truck. She called Hambley with her phone on the speaker function so he could pick up what was happening.
It stopped short of sex, according to her later messages of appreciation to Dargis.
Afterwards, Night Horse claimed that Dargis had sexually assaulted her. She hadn’t called police, and said this only to Hambley.
Meanwhile, after the alleged assault, she sent flirtatious texts to Dargis saying that he was cute, she wanted him to kiss her, and implying sex in the future.
That’s two conflicting stories she told separately to the two men.
Hambley met her and they started to get sexual in a bathroom, until she told him to stop because it reminded her of Dargis’s supposed assault.
Night Horse told Hambley that she had feelings for him, still wanted him as a boyfriend, and was jealous of his new relationship with Tapley.
She testified that she said she should kill Hambley to stop the jealousy, and “He knew I was trying to make him jealous.”.
Later, she said that Hambley’s behavior was assault, like the alleged one by Dargis. But she admitted lying to police about still having sex with Hambley.
Again, that makes two conflicting stories.
In a series of phone calls, Hambley told Tapley that he would kill Dargis because he needed to “get even”. Tapley said she asked him to reconsider.
He planned the murder, and called Tapley while it happened. Tapley didn’t tell anyone until his arrest days later.
Neither Tapley or Night Horse were charged with crimes. Night Horse stayed anonymous under protection for alleged sex crime victims.
Who is Night Horse?
This is all public or published. There isn’t very much info, and no obvious active profiles.
- News report: a “Freedom Christian High School senior” in 2011.
- 2011 “Night Horse” facebook profile (unused):
- “I’m a furry. A horse. Be careful what you say to me…
I’m friendly and nice. Please dont annoy me…
I”m a baby fur and an adult fur. Depends on my mood.
I’m hyper with ADD, but I also can be easily hurt. Be careful…
Ask me what you wana know…please no yiff!”
- 2011 Christian Furs forum post mentioning a Pounced profile (don’t assume any profiles are hers.)
- 2011 Furry News Network report of the murder has comments from Night Horse.
- 2011 art commission for Night Horse, by Crafty Andy on Furaffinity.
- 2013 Yahoo Answers post, by Night Horse’s ID for the FNN comments.
- The rest of her Yahoo posts (saying she is a 19 year old female.)
If necessary, go back to the news articles for a deeper look at her allegations (because it’s confusing). About her testimony:
The woman agreed with Smith that her behavior was unusual for a person who was the victim of a sexual assault.
Frantz said today that the woman’s behavior “falls short of being criminal,” so no charges are being sought against her.
When she was allegedly assaulted by Dargis, why did she not call the police, but only Hambley – then not tell her mother or the police later?
When she accused Hambley of the same kind of assault, why would she lie to police and say they were like “brother and sister” when they were still having sex?
If she knew she was making Hambley jealous, did he really tell her that he needed to be away from her because he was a danger… and could she have helped Dargis then? Was it just convenient to blame both men as a cover to avoid blame?
The plot thickens.
Here’s followup discussion from Furry News Network in 2011. Pardon the repost of harsh words, but I believe it shows a reasonable reaction to her involvement in the story: skepticism and anger.
(CraftyAndy): “Furries” are part of a subculture who believe they possess both human and animal characteristics.” stupid bitch. Yeah I know that’s not very articulate but really what better way to describe this woman. She’ll probably get sent to the psych ward with a ignorant statement like that. (March 18, 2011)
(Horsecrazygirl787): Hey. Dont talk to me like that. I was pressured. And THATs what I believe about furries. SO you just watch your mouth. Cuz you can cause harm and hatrid. I am a furry b/c I believe we are part animal and human. I also said in the mind we are our “animal” and physical…are human bodies… and yes. I am Night Horse. (March 19, 2011)
(Monfang): Ok, I tried to read the story, but I can’t understand what is going on. Can someone explain it to me? Who killed who and how is Night Horse involved? (March 20, 2011)
(CraftyAndy): I was with you there for a while, the article confused the hell out of me. Nighthorse’s first ex killed her second ex after claiming first ex sexually assaulted her but was exchanging texts with first ex suggesting they meet up again. Could of been second ex using phone, could be her letting him use it, could be her letting him use it knowing his intent, could be her doing it not knowing or plotting the whole thing. The plot thickens. (April 15, 2011)
(Horsecrazygirl787): Well I’ll tell you whats going on. b/c I (Night Horse) is involved. My ex bf Josh, killed Jon dargis, b/c Jon had sexually assaulted me, So Josh got mad b/c me and Josh were considered “bro and sis”, some say he was possesive of me, but I thought he cared for me. He told me that he was pissed at Jon for what he did to me and that if he saw him (Jon) again “it will be a miracle if he still is alive”. Its crazy event and I really wish I didnt have to go through this. Why my furry name is mentioned is b/c when me and Josh would write letter to each other, I would sign my name as “Night Horse”, idk y, but I just did. That is why “night Horse” is mentioned. :/ (March 22, 2011)
(Monfang): Right.. and I do hope you will assist the prosecution in putting your ex away. Though I wonder if you did everything you could to prevent Jon Dargis’ murder? Did you call the cops about the sexual assault? Did you tell them that Josh threatened to kill Jon? Did you tell anyone? This might sound a bit harsh, but if I was the DA and I didn’t find that you did nothing to prevent the murder or tell the cops about what he said, then I’d have YOU arrested for contributing to the murder. (March 29, 2011)
From the newspaper reports about what happened in court:
Under questioning by Smith, the Freedom Christian High School senior admitted she lied to police about her relationship with Hambley saying the two were like brother and sister when in fact they were having sexual intercourse not long before the slaying.
Frantz said that no one has been given immunity, but Tapley was told that since she played no active role in carrying out or encouraging the slaying, she would not be charged criminally.
Saying that “no one had been given immunity” isn’t the same as saying they charged everyone involved. It may be a weaselly way of saying that “immunity was not explicitly offered” but someone has it unofficially with cooperation – and they just couldn’t discover enough evidence to move forward. That’s called prosecutorial discretion. But we can still raise skepticism and try to set the story straight.
Let’s return to some very interesting and puzzling interactions that emerge, following the above conversations.
- Crafty Andy called out Night Horse for acting suspiciously: maybe “plotting the whole thing” and using very negative words.
- YET, in 2011 (following this first interaction?) he was apparently commissioned to draw her fursona.
- Yeah… you figure that one out. Did she manipulate his opinions to quell suspicion?
Then there’s this 2013 post from Night Horse to Yahoo Answers. It appears to involve the next relationship she started, after having one ex murder another:
“I am in a abusive/controlling relationship, can you help me? … I have had a couple friends warn me that my boyfriend for two years has been controlling me. At that time I did not know he was, I just thought he liked spoiling me by buying me stuff I want and/or need. Lately, I think his control on his controlling of me is going out of control, because I started to notice something different in his behavior and didn’t like hearing him say, “If you leave or cheat on me, I’m going to kill myself.” What person would hear that and want to leave for fear of having a person die because of you?? I’m also scared that if I break the relationship off, he will take every gift he gave me (which is a LOT). I also believe I am carrying his child and that worries me.
ISN’T THAT A COINCIDENCE? It must be a very interesting world to live in, where accepting gifts is “abuse”, while you’re taking and taking until fearing losing them is scary, and you’re the common denominator in relationships that so easily raise the topic of death three times in a row. It almost seems scripted.
I’d like to minimize judgement, because I’d like to trust the court system – but I think Night Horse has blood on her hands.
Youthful mistakes happen (apparently even stupid, cruel murder.) Cold calculations are one thing (which Hambley was convicted for). Narcissistic personality disorders are yet another. Are you familiar with them? I think her comments scream narcissism. I would sooner tell a guy to date a black widow spider. And the child comment is worrisome. But the story ends with the 2013 post… so far.
This makes zero defense for the man who did the murder. He deserved conviction. This would just widen the focus of blame and vindicate the victim.
Compare her claims to the way she was having sex with the murderer and lying about it to police. She made two coinciding assault allegations with highly dubious circumstances. Both were contradicted by her actions. Her 2013 post is just too coincidental. I have no doubt that she was hiding manipulation.
Intentional or not, claiming sexual assault was provocation to cause one man to do violence to another. If it goes far enough, they call it “violence by proxy”. Men were manipulated with sex – she clearly had control over how sex happened, stopping it and inviting more afterward and admitting causing jealousy on purpose. What do you call that? If it’s paid out like a commodity, it can be hiring. Did she have more control over violence than she admitted?
Consider if manipulation was just a game without believing anyone would go too far. That still leaves room for negligence. I’m pretty sure that even asking someone to kill another person is attempted murder. Knowledge or helping is accessory. Refusing to stop danger is criminal negligence. If crime can’t be proven, there’s still room for civil liability. But the family of the victim would know that a recent high schooler has nothing to sue for.
She claimed that she was just a victim and forgot most of what she said to the men before the crime. It’s unavoidable to find that highly dishonest, and find her lying to police suggestive of a guilty mind. Lack of conclusive proof, prosecutorial discretion, and prevailing discourse about victims would help to escape blame. Charging a supposed assault victim could have hampered building a solid case. Of course, Hambley was motivated by such belief. Enabling someone to manipulate sympathy for their advantage with deadly results is very undermining to other victims. It’s shocking if goodwill to them can excuse this.
There’s typically high drama when questioning sexual assault claims, which nobody should dismiss lightly. Or take for granted. I completely agree that those are very complicated, where many victims may not act as you expect and may get injustice. But I reject that for this case. If I’m criticized for calling an assault claim a lie, remember the consequences. Beware of denying it over the cold body of Jon Dargis.
Joshua Hambley is serving life for first degree murder in Michigan prison. If there’s karmic justice in the world, let it follow Night Horse.
This is just one opinion made after spending many hours to compare all visible sources, except one… writing to Hambley. If there’s some reason curiosity compels you to find his address, inmates are public and searchable. Whatever your opinion, we can probably all agree on one thing – let’s all work to have a positive community where we don’t want crimes like this again.