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INDIANAPOLIS — Bonita Davis said her heart sank when she saw that Jason Rhea had been arrested for the murder of a woman whose body was dumped on I-70 east of Indianapolis this spring.
“I had a fear that he was going to murder again, because he was real smug and arrogant when he was in court. I just didn’t know when,” said Davis. “When I heard about the second killing that he was involved in and this young lady being killed, it just hurt me to my core, and what hurt me the most to my core is the manner in which that young lady was killed. He also shot my son in his head, the same manner in which he shot this young lady.”
Rhea was charged, and found not guilty, in the killing of Lamon Young in December 1998 near the 3300 block of North Arsenal Avenue.
When police arrived to search Rhea’s house, they found him wearing Young’s clothes and driving Young’s car before discovering Young’s body in the basement.
A homicide detective broke the news to Young’s mother.
“He said, ‘Miss Bonita,’ he says, ‘Have you ever heard of the expression player hater?’,” Davis recalled. “He said, ‘Well, that’s the reason why your son was murdered. That’s the reason why he was killed.’ So they killed him for his car and his personal belongings in the house.”
Rhea’s original convictions on gun and theft charges were overturned, and he was later convicted on a charge of armed robbery to which he was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Indiana State Police detectives said that Dai-Ghia Hogan was last seen on March 1 with Rhea leaving a North Shadeland Avenue hotel before dawn and was later found shot to death on the median of I-70 near the 93 mile marker.
Investigators think Hogan was on her knees before she was shot in the back of the head. Shell casings matching Rhea’s gun were discovered at the scene.
Investigators said another woman was present during the killing.
“He has a history of robbing and now killing and I don’t want anyone to feel the hurt and pain that I am feeling right now,” said Davis. “You never forget about your loved one but those memories just resurface just like it was yesterday all over again when I realized he was connected with this last murder.”
In what or may not be a coincidence, one of Hogan’s relatives said Sunday afternoon that the slain woman had family members who live just down the street from the home where Lamon Young was killed more than 23 years ago. The man said that his family was aware of Rhea’s criminal history and would keep close tabs on his current case.
Bonita Davis thinks that is wise advice.
“The courts failed us once and I pray to God that they don’t fail us again,” she said.
Rhea’s murder trial is set for late July.