By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
CRIME, SOCIAL DISTORTION
One puts it out on Facebook
It goes without saying that it's not a good idea to commit another violent felony — specifically, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — while you are already on probation for a violent crime.
And you would think it would also be inadvisable to broadcast still more crimes on your public Facebook wall, but apparently some people, including 19-year-old Jason Merksamer of Spring, did not receive that memo.
Let's meet this brazen fellow, shall we?
"My name is Jason," begins his Facebook page. "Im 19. Im a mutta Fuckin JUGGALO and i say it proud. I respect evry1 who respects me."
(For the uninitiated, Juggalos are fans of the psycho-clown spatter-rap group Insane Clown Posse.)
Our tale begins in August of this year when Merksamer was convicted of misdemeanor assault/ bodily injury in a case that was initially filed as a felony charge of retaliation.
According to investigators, the complainant in that case was a 19-year-old former schoolmate of Merksamer's. A few months previous to the incident we are about to describe, this man had pressed a charge of criminal mischief against Merksamer, who was alleged to have kicked the complainant's car, causing damage in the range of $500-$1,500.
While out on bail for that case, a probable-cause report has it, Merksamer came upon the man at a Shell station on Spring-Steubner Road. While the man was pumping gas, Merksamer allegedly got in his face and screamed, "You cop-calling pussy-ass motherfucker, I'm going got [sic] kill you, you little bitch."
The man shoved Merksamer, who responded by punching the man in the left ear, causing the man "pain and visible injuries."
That case was decided in October. The DA's office dropped the criminal mischief charge and agreed to reduce the felony retaliation rap to one of misdemeanor assault, for which Merksamer accepted guilt, three days in jail and 18 months deferred adjudication.
Lots of people would try to turn their lives around at that point. Others would at the very least keep their more "injurious and vicious habits" and attendance at places of "low and disreputable character" on the maximum down-low. But Jason Merksamer is not most people.
Because this is when Merksamer's Facebook antics got really stupid. Actually, he was plenty dumb even before his conviction. Defendants on bail are ordered to stay off drugs while their cases are pending, and are even drug-tested weekly in some courts, but Merksamer was hinting that he was gonna be in "orbit" at RenFest in early October, and then swear off the stuff later for two months. We are not sure what "orbit" is, but a friend of Merksamer's had this to say about his Wall post:
"Hahah sorry i had to delete your comment cuz i cant have stuff about drugs on there loll, but yeahh my friend sold all 20 of his too hahah." The 19-year-old also boasted of attending a beer pong party and groaned one morning that he played "to [sic] many games of quarters" the night before.
But it was in November that his stupidity kicked into high gear. First, while out on the town, he lost a prized possession and an important document:
"if anyone has found a black red and yellow hatchet man wallet with two forms of identification in it... one is a new york id the other is a harris county probation id.... i know i lost it at deep for sure so let me no wat comes up....... leave me a message or call 832XXX-XXXX"
(Hatchet Man is the Juggalo icon — it depicts a silhouetted clown brandishing a meat cleaver. Just in case any of y'all found this wallet.)
And then, three days later, he advertised a felony:
"GOT MUSHROOMS FOR SALE HIT ME UP"
His friends thought this was an ill-advised post. "dnt put this on fb >.<," one advised. "True dat," chimed in a second. "yeah dude!! delete this shit," echoed a third, but there it remained three weeks later when we looked.</p>
In his next questionable post, he did at least get a little more cryptic. "who got some fukkin handles" he asked on November 29. ("Handles" is slang for Xanax bars.) "You don't need them," answered a friend. Another friend disagreed, and told Merksamer that two mutual acquaintances — both of whose (first) names he furnished — might have some. Merksamer evidently approached these guys and was not persuaded by the merits of their wares. "na they got some bullshit .25 mg's goin 2 for 3 dollars wen u need to take 8 of them to equal 2 mg's that only cost 3 dolls."
So in a few short months of being on bail and/or on probation, Merksamer boasted of drinking underage (misdemeanor), inquired about obtaining Xanax (had he obtained it, a serious misdemeanor) and offered mushrooms for sale.
Possession of even a half-gram of 'shrooms is a state jail felony. Anything more than that gets you into varying degrees of straight felonies that can garner you years and years in prison. More than 400 grams of 'shrooms can net you five to 99 or a life sentence. And then the fool went and declared an intent to sell the 'shrooms, too.
On his Facebook wall. Which he chose to keep public. While out on probation for a violent crime.
On December 10, Merksamer, his girlfriend and another man were arrested for allegedly using a gun to rob a man. All three were charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Merksamer's girlfriend has already accepted 25 days in jail and four years deferred adjudication in the case. The male alleged accomplice has made his $30,000 bond and awaits his next court date.
Merksamer, on the other hand, is still being held without bond in the Harris County Jail.
There he might have time to ponder the wisdom (or lack thereof) of his self-penned "Favorite Quote" on his Facebook page: "Y Go through school to get smart if when you die all the knowledge u had goes nowhere."
Here's a hint: The reason Y some of us "get smart" is so we don't have to go to jail and stay there. And while it may not be in the official curriculum, some of us also learn not to brag about breaking the law on our Facebook pages, too.
Doing It Daily
Theres tons of stuff each day on the Houston Press blogs; youre only getting a taste of it here in the print edition. Head to blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs (or /rocks or eating or /artattack).
State Rep Debbie Riddle, fresh from making a fool of herself on CNN and camping out to pre-file her anti-immigration bill, wrote a book that she said would help readers "make a lasting and profound difference" in America. It's 96 pages long. One-third of the Texas House announced themselves as members of Dan Patrick's Tea Party Caucus, leading Keith Olbermann to proclaim our legislature something "The Nuge would be proud of." And the City of Houston raised fees on strippers to close a budget gap — how will those hardworking gals afford their grad-school tuition?
We listed 25 things of note that happened in the sports year of both UH and Rice. We helped people hoping to apply for the Longhorns' offensive coordinator job and, of course, kept track of the train wreck that is the Houston Texans season.
Unusual murders in Montrose and near River Oaks sparked comments among readers. We listed the ten worst neighborhoods for robbery in Houston. And a former popular meteorologist here was charged in New York City with making a false claim to police that she had been raped.
We reported on the sad and shocking news of MFAH director Peter Marzio's passing and talked to his colleagues about his legacy. We offered a selection of great gift ideas from the Contemporary Arts Museum gift shop. We counted down our list of the top ten underrated Christmas films. And Houston Press staffers bravely demonstrated (in photography) how NOT to behave at your office Christmas party.