Justin Boxom was just a sweet and innocent 12 year old boy from Stonewall, Louisiana. The middle schooler had a fondness for football, socializing, and was really starting to like girls; he’d had a little girlfriend named Tyler who he had yet to meet in person. While most of his friends were using MySpace, Justin’s mother, Amy, wouldn’t allow her son access to social media. Justin had made an account, but mom forbid him to use it. The boy did have a cell phone, and usually communicated with his buddies through text message instead.
It had been spring break on March 30th of 2010, and Justin had been staying the night with his best friend, Dustin. Dustin went to sleep in his room around 10 pm in the top bunk, while Justin had been using the bottom bed; the next morning, Dustin woke up and Justin was gone. Justin’s Mama, Amy, was contacted; she hadn’t heard from her son that morning, and the police were notified immediately.
While combing the neighborhood police spoke with a person who recalled having seen a taxi in the middle of the night. Upon hearing this, one of the police officers at the scene remembered seeing a taxi driver sitting on the side of highway 171 earlier that morning. When spoken to, the cabbie had acted strangely, and claimed he’d somehow lost the keys to the taxi. Having put two and two together, the officer drove back to the exact spot where the cab had been in order to take a good look around. The boy’s remains were discovered in shallow water in a wooded area near the highway; it did appear that Justin had been sexually abused by a man and strangled to death.
The cab was quickly traced back to a 34 year old driver named Brian Douglas Horn, a two time sex offender. Once at the suspect’s home, Police found a computer with not only images of child pornography but photos which depicted asphyxiation. The biggest piece of evidence was a SIM card which contained text messages between the young murder victim and someone by the name of Amber. This card had all of the info police needed to know that the taxi driver had killed Justin, and to piece the night’s terrible events together.
At Around 11 pm, Justin began to receive strange messages from a number which he had not recognized; the texter claimed to be a girl named Amber who had known him from school. The two messaged back and forth for 4 hours; it had started off innocently enough, and ended with the so-called Amber person talking about sex and sending dirty photos to the child. When the porn was sent to Justin, his response had been, “You gotta remember, I’m only 12”.
Amber had originally stated that she was coming to get Justin so that they could hook up, then she texted that she was sending a cab to bring Justin to her. Justin had been extremely leery at first, the preteen had known that he should not be going to meet with this person, but “Amber” continued to pressure Justin until he agreed. Just before 3 am, Justin had been inside the cab. The kid’s last text message to Amber had been at 3:13 and it read, “the cab just died”; it is believed that this is when the preteen was physically attacked. Maybe Justin heard the cabbie’s phone beep when he messaged, there’s no telling for sure exactly how it went down, but the kid must’ve been terrified.
Further damning evidence included that lost key to Brian’s taxi cab found at the scene of the murder, and Justin’s fingerprints were found in the cab. It was determined that the killer had obtained Justin’s phone number from a stolen phone which had belonged to his step daughter’s friend.
Brian was charged with 1st degree murder. At trial his defense claimed that he’d wanted to watch a male child lose his innocence, and that he had intended to bring Justin to a woman to deflower. He had somehow accidentally strangled Justin to death, it had all been a big accident. In April of 2014 the jury found a weeping Brian guilty of murder; he was sentenced to death via lethal injection and sent to Angola State Pen to await his fate. So end of story, right? Sadly no, not quite.
In 2018 Brian’s verdict was overturned due to lack of effective counsel! Brian claims that he hadn’t wanted to admit to the murder, he’s somehow innocent! The killer has stated that while he is a 2 time sex offender, he “doesn’t rape boys” – his offenses are in relation to females only! Brian’s excuse is that he’d been a swinger, he’d only lured the 12 year old out in the middle of the night in order to watch him have relations with his wife and/or girlfriend. His attorney had wanted the jury to find Brian guilty of a lesser charge such as second degree murder or manslaughter, he had not gone for an innocent plea as his client had wished. It appears that his new trial is set for March of next year.
The cab company, “Action Taxi” has been sued by Justin’s mother. Within two weeks of hiring the known sex offender as a driver, a child lost his life. The owner of the company has apologized profusely for his mistake; the company has changed their name, and the cab used to pick Justin up that night has been destroyed. The child’s mother reportedly witnessed the destruction of the vehicle, hopefully this helped with the healing process. Bless her heart, just imagine how she must feel knowing she’s gonna have to sit through her baby’s murder trial again.
I promise to update as soon as there’s more.
*The texts are just heartbreaking. This case is showcased on an episode of Web Of Lies, titled Sender Unknown. If you haven’t seen it yet, especially you have kids that age, I definitely recommend. Some of the details are off and it was made before the verdict was overturned, but still very much worth the watch.