Arizona | Crime | News | Phoenix

Online Hook-Up Leads to Murder of Phoenix Man

Mark Woodland, a 54-year-old Phoenix man was stabbed to death on Sunday by a 19-year-old man he met using a social network, police say. The victim's roommate discovered their apartment ransacked and called police.

ABC15 reports: Reed  

"When officers went inside to check they found a downstairs bathroom door closed and the lights on inside, according to Holmes. They did not get an answer to a knock on the door. Holmes said when officers looked under the door they could see a body on the floor and when they forced the door open found the victim badly beaten. He also appeared to have been stabbed repeatedly, Holmes said. Phoenix firefighters were called to the home and the victim, 54-year-old Mark Woodland, was pronounced dead. Woodland's roommate reported he had received a text message from the victim around 5 p.m. saying he was going to pick up a male date, whom he met on a social networking application, and bring him home. Woodland apparently asked his roommate to not be at home. The victim reportedly sent a second text at around 6 p.m. to ensure that his roommate had left the apartment. The roommate left and returned around 11 p.m. to find the home ransacked."

A friend of Woodland's provided police with his username, through which police were able to track down the man he met:

"On Tuesday, detectives were able to locate the suspect in the area of 32nd Street and Broadway Road and when detectives contacted three males at the house, one of them apparently fit the suspect description. Tommy Reed, whose telephone was determined to be the same phone used to arrange the date with the victim, was transported to police headquarters for an interview. Holmes said Reed, 19, gave details about the night of the murder that implicated him in the crime. Reed was later booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on one count of 2nd Degree Murder. Holmes said robbery may have been a motive for the murder."

UPDATE: The Phoenix Police Department released this statement:

From the Phoenix Police Dept Press Office:

Hello all. Our detectives have learned through this continuing investigation that it was not the "Grinder" IPHONE application that was used by the victim to make contact with the suspect, it was in fact a different social network. Because this investigation is continuing, I do not have the information regarding the actual site that was used. I would ask that, as you continue to report this grizzly crime to your viewers readers and listeners, you use "unknown social network" in regards to how the victim and suspect were connected.

Watch KTVK's report on the murder, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. I'm sure this will be another case of supposed "gay panic"--with an innocent young heterosexual man merely defending himself y an evil gay man try to take advantage of him sexually. Up next: involuntary manslaughter plea.

    And to gay men--stop thinking you are going to find love by adopting/reforming gay whores, hoodlums, homeless waifs and drug addicts. These strays may be pretty, but so are a lot of poisonous snakes.

    Posted by: Mark | Apr 29, 2010 7:57:46 AM


  2. Exactly, Mark! And let me add that you should always let a friend know your screen names and passwords to accounts like Grindr, just in case.

    Posted by: Michael W. | Apr 29, 2010 8:50:35 AM


  3. And to further the good advice of the first 2 posts, you should either NOT ask your roommate to leave the place, OR make sure he is leaving as the date arrives so they have been introduced with visual ID, OR give your roommate/friend the ID / username / link to any date you do have... and let the date know it.

    Posted by: Strepsi | Apr 29, 2010 8:58:14 AM


  4. ...but he looks so innocent.

    Posted by: JONNY NYNY2FLFL | Apr 29, 2010 8:59:48 AM


  5. It's too bad we can't be more trusting but I am sick of hearing about gay men being slaughtered in their own home by some street trash. It seems like every time we turn around there is some young scumbag going to court with Precious Moments doll eyes and playing the innocent victim of sexual assault after having beaten or killed a gay man. Enough is enough.

    We need to wise up--especially in this economic climate where there are a lot of desperate bottom-dwellers preying on others to get their needs met--scum who will do just about anything to get it. If you still decide bringing tricks home is OK, you better know how to defend yourself---or have something ready to even the score--just in case.

    Posted by: Mark | Apr 29, 2010 9:15:01 AM


  6. Sorry but the Darwin award goes to.... this dead guy. Wanna prevent a homicide? Don't shack up with random people from an app on your phone!

    Posted by: CJ | Apr 29, 2010 9:25:02 AM


  7. poor guy

    wasn't removing the naked pictures from Grindr supposed to make it a "safer" place?

    bad month for Grindr

    hook up sites in general kinda suck - they're like a giant closet that impedes our progress in living as whole human beings... guess it all depends what you're looking for in life

    Posted by: neverstops | Apr 29, 2010 9:37:53 AM


  8. I don't know where it says that this was a hate crime or that the suspect claims that he was sexually assaulted? Way to overreact and victimize oneself.
    I agree with CJ and I'm surprised that this doesn't happen more often.
    How stupid must you be to hook up with a total stranger and to summon them to your own home?

    Posted by: Bernadette | Apr 29, 2010 10:05:01 AM


  9. Another lesson is meet your trick in a public place first. Or, that's supposedly a lesson, anyway. This man evidently did that and he still got offed.

    Maybe the other lesson is to be wary even if it means that you're not going to get that young trick that you think is ready for the taking. If the situation seems too good to be true, it probably is, especially if he's 19, you're 54, and you're meeting on Grindr.

    Posted by: FML | Apr 29, 2010 10:06:32 AM


  10. Robbery? just give the guy money!!First rule of tricking (and life in general) is when there is a big age disparity, the old one pays !! If you want free sex, find someone your own age!!

    Posted by: ty | Apr 29, 2010 10:48:24 AM


  11. I wonder how many gay men have been assaulted, robbed by tricks--or had their homes cased and were later robbed--but never reported it? I bet the numbers would be impressive.

    Posted by: Mark | Apr 29, 2010 10:56:10 AM


  12. This is why a professional escort is always a better deal for those who want to go the paid sex route.

    Whatever may be the circumsatnces it's still a murder and hopefully justice will be done.

    Posted by: SJ | Apr 29, 2010 11:26:28 AM


  13. I hate seeing these reports, but it's important that we're all aware of them so that we don't become complacent.

    I have always thought that bathhouses were more appropriate from an assault safety standpoint than inviting strangers to one's home. Baths have other drawbacks, but if you're going to have a quick hookup, that really is one of the best ways to avoid physical assault.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Apr 29, 2010 11:58:24 AM


  14. Yes, because as we have been reminded many times, it's SO much better to just meet people over the internet! (or in this case, the phone)

    Public parks: bad. Saunas: bad.
    The internet is obviously the way to go!

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Apr 29, 2010 12:19:31 PM


  15. IT WAS NOT GRINDR.

    Joemygod has an update from the detectives investigating the murder that states definitively that the hook up site used was not Grindr. Andy, can you or the editor correct the headline?

    Here's the statement
    --------------------
    From the Phoenix Police Dept Press Office:

    Hello all. Our detectives have learned through this continuing investigation that it was not the "Grinder" IPHONE application that was used by the victim to make contact with the suspect, it was in fact a different social network. Because this investigation is continuing, I do not have the information regarding the actual site that was used. I would ask that, as you continue to report this grizzly crime to your viewers readers and listeners, you use "unknown social network" in regards to how the victim and suspect were connected.

    I will continue to update you on this investigation as information is received. Thanks as always,

    Detective James R Holmes
    Phoenix Police Department
    Media Relations Unit
    --------------------
    That said, be sensible about your hookups and stay safe, guys.

    Posted by: Smartypants | Apr 29, 2010 12:56:54 PM


  16. People who hookup online are so seedy. They don't deserve, of course...

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 29, 2010 1:06:10 PM


  17. Very frustrating! Once again a haterosexual killer gets charged with the lesser second degree murder even though his intention was to kill the victim from the start. Don't buy the bullshit. The haterosexual killer meant to kill this gay man, the robbery was an after thought. But where are gay people saying that? Are gay people going to protest this? Can any other gay person speak up about this injustice? The haterosexual police are working to get this haterosexual killer the least amount of punishment possible.

    Posted by: Bill | Apr 29, 2010 2:00:16 PM


  18. grindr/manhunt/craigslist hookups = disgusting

    Posted by: m.safra | Apr 29, 2010 2:16:24 PM


  19. Sorry, but if you're over 50 and think a 19 year is interested then that should be a HUGE red flag....the ego kills

    Posted by: Marty | Apr 29, 2010 2:46:17 PM


  20. A Grizzly crime? Was the killer a bear now? LOL

    Posted by: Mark | Apr 29, 2010 4:52:13 PM


  21. Marty - I think you got it. If a 54-year-old thinks a 19-year-old is attracted to him for something other than his $$$, it better be pretty impressive.....

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 29, 2010 6:34:18 PM


  22. Mark Woodland was one of my best friends in life. He was a kind, fun-loving, and intelligent person who, like many of us, occasionally used the internet for dating or hookups. To those who say he was in any way responsible for his own death or should have known better, I cringe at what you must say about all the gay men who have died from AIDS.

    Mark did nothing wrong. He did nothing to deserve this. And money was hardly the motive. Apparently the police found a list of judges and politicians who this kid planned to kill in his room. His roommates told authorities they had feared him for some time because he frequently talked about killing people. He brought his own knife to kill with - and it seems he decided to target an unsuspecting gay man for his first practice murder.

    This kid wasn't some bottom dweller looking for money. And Mark wasn't a stupid careless individual who should have been more careful. This is a case of premeditated murder perpetrated by a sick, homophobic psychopath. It is the end result of intolerance --- a hate crime, pure and simple. And given the recent legislation passed in Arizona and the governor's rescinding of domestic partner benefits, we should all outraged by it.

    I miss you Mark and I will always hold a place in my heart for you. Thank you for some of the best times of my life. Peace and comfort wishes to you, your family, and all of us who were lucky enough to have you touch our lives.

    Posted by: ZDawgSF | Apr 30, 2010 3:58:31 AM


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