Two men embarked on a mission to murder a pregnant woman because a self-style "witch" convinced them the victim was an evil enchantress. Instead, she was simply the evil woman's love rival.
Oscar Eck, who went by the nickname Rick, later admitted that he had been drawn to the occult though his fascination with Harry Potter stories. He had linked up with “witch” Irenia Cotner in the hope that she might cast spells that would make him rich and popular.
In a candle-lit séance, Cotner told Eck and another man, David Lindner, that 16-year-old Lindsey Kasinger had “put a hex on them.” She claimed the only way to clear it would be to kill Lindsey and her unborn baby, before opening a gate to Hell and casting their souls into it.
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“Eck had been inspired to become a witch and join Cotner’s coven after watching the Harry Potter movies, and so he was hopeful that tonight would go something like Harry Potter,” podcaster Mr Ballen explained. “He knew David the guy he had brought along was this very powerful warlock."
In the early hours of August 23, 2005, the two men burst into the home of Jacqueline Bennett – where Lindsey Kasinger was staying with Cotner’s ex Jackie Jackson. Chaos instantly erupted, with the family dog barking wildly as the two masked men smashed their way into the house.
Jackie’s son Josh happened to be home on leave from the army at the time and rushed down to see if he could help. The two attackers were armed with knives, but in the melée, Eck managed to stab himself in the leg.
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Lindsey Kasinger fled to a neighbour’s house to get help, as Eck used pepper spray to blind Josh before stabbing him in the chest. Meanwhile Lindner was “going nuts with his knife and being a total maniac”.
Jackie Jackson had a 12-gauge shotgun, which he quickly loaded and ran upstairs to confront the attackers. He clubbed Eck with the butt of the weapon and then Lindner tried to grab the gun.
In the struggle the shotgun went off, and Lindner was shot in the stomach. By this time, Josh had also bled to death. Eck limped out of the door straight into the arms of police, who were responding to Lindsey’s emergency call.
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Illinois State Police Sgt. John Waggle spoke to Eck’s roommate, 22-year-old Misty Gangloff who claimed to know nothing about the attack. In their home, however, investigators noticed a book on witchcraft.
“Upon seeing witchcraft literature in the residence, it would confirm suspicions I had that this was witchcraft related,” Waggle said. Another member of the coven – Jenny Wolfe, tried to set up a ritual to curse the police investigation. She was also arrested.
Eck eventually confessed the details of the séance, saying that Cotner had told him she wouldn’t come with the two men to the house but would “summon demons” to protect them. When his case came to trial, Eck pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He is scheduled for release in 2027, when he will be 60 years old. His accomplice Lindner died from his wounds before he could face trial.
Cotner the “witch” who had sent them to kill her rival was found guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy of first-degree murder, and home invasion and sentenced to 57 years in prison. She will be eligible for parole in 2063 at the age of 93.
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