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Title: 'Strange' Deaths Tied to Game

Source: Arizona Republic, August 16th, 1992

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      -Satanism also linked to state woman's slaying, 2 others-

By Jonathan Sidener and Mary Tolan  
August 16, 1992 The Arizona Republic
Section B, pp 1 and 6

Misty Largo talked of running away from Flagstaff and her troubled life. She had problems with the police, problems with other students. And some say she worshiped Satan.

She got as far as Oregon.

Last Tuesday, Portland police found the 18-year old's body stuffed into a storm culvert. She was slain several weeks ago, the third death in a strange case that police say may involve a group of homeless young people linked by drugs, Satanism, and the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons.

And, police say, that Largo may not be an innocent victim, that she may have been involved in one of the other slayings.

"It's a pretty weird one," Portland police Sgt. Derrick Foxworth said. "It's possible that (Dungeons & Dragons) had something to do with it. It's possible that there's drug involvement. We believe that these people knew each other, that there may have been some kind of leader, someone who was charismatic."

Foxworth said that there are unconfirmed reports that the members of the group all had some involvement in worshiping Satan.

In Flagstaff, Largo is remembered as a lonely young woman with a startling appearance and a frightening interest in the occult.

"She used to be into heavy metal and Satanism," said Melissa Reyes, a 15-year old Coconino High School student who lived a few blocks from the Largos until about a year ago.

"She wore heavy black eyeliner and all dark clothes. She seemed lonely and scary. The way she dressed, the way she looked, even the way she acted made her an outcast."

The first of the three slayings linked to the group occurred May 1, when the body of paraplegic Harold Charboneau, 45, was found in his home in a quiet Portland neighborhood.

Police say they had no suspects in that case until this month, when two more bodies turned up.  First, they found an unidentified 16-year old boy buried in a shallow grave. Then, they found Largo's body in a Portland industrial area.

By then, the picture had begun to come together, Foxworth said.

He gave the following details:

  *Largo and the 16-year old may have been involved in the slaying of Harold Charboneau before they were slain.

  *Charboneau's son, Grant S. Charboneau, 20, was arrested last Tuesday and charged with killing Largo.

  *The younger Charboneau may have had some role in the slaying of his father and the 16-year old.  "We consider him a person of interest in both cases," Foxworth said.

  *Four other members of the group have been arrested in connection with the slaying of Largo and the 16-year old, police said.

  *There is some evidence that fantasy role-playing from the game Dungeons & Dragons is a factor in the slayings.

Grant Charboneau's grandmother said her grandson was part of a group that was involved in mystic or medieval role-playing games.

"There's a sort of thing that started quite some time back," she said, "I guess it was a game at first."  

A juvenile who has been arrested in the case used the name "Highlander," which comes from two films about an immortal race whose members can be killed only by other immortals in elaborately staged sword fights.  

Largo and the two others were stabbed to death.


In Dungeons & Dragons, players enter a fantasy world to take the role of mystical characters armed with such qualities as magic, strength and intelligence. A "dungeon master" controls the story line, and the players respond in character.  

Records say the game has been linked repeatedly to slayings and other crimes over the years, with players losing sight of the boundaries between fantasy and reality. Many of the cases involved drugs.

"The game is structured as a heroes game in the ideas that you can buy for story lines," said David Bennett, a fantasy-game specialist at the Hobby Bench at Paradise Valley Mall.

"You can play it as a bunch of demon hunters going out to try to save a village, but I've seen people playing it the other way, some guys trying to bring a demon into the town."

The Dungeons & Dragons game has been linked to other crimes:

   *Daniel Kasten, 20, of Long Island, N.Y., who argued in court in June 1988 that he was not responsible for shooting his parents because he believed he was under the spell of a character in the game. The jury found him guilty.

   *Authorities in Fayetteville, N.C., suspected that two soldiers charged with killing a retired couple in December 1986 may have been acting out a fantasy from the game.

   *A 16-year old Watertown, N.Y., boy was convicted of killing an 11- year old neighbor while acting out a Dungeons & Dragons fantasy in 1985. Prosecutors said David K. Ventiquattro apparently became caught up in the game and shot Martin T. Howland because the boy "had become evil."

   *Drug abuser and avid Dungeon & Dragon player Christopher Pritchard, 19, planned the murder of his mother and stepfather in Washington, N.C., in July 1988. He was convicted. CBS made a television movie, _Cruel Doubt_, about it.

   *Five men in Lake City, Fla., were charged with robbing a grave and using the body of a suicide victim as the centerpiece of a black-robed ceremony in a game of Dungeons & Dragons.

Largo never played Dungeons & Dragons while in Flagstaff, as far as her neighbors knew. Residents also are not sure whether she ran away or simply went to live with relatives.

Her mother and two of her three brothers still live in Flagstaff. Thursday, they boarded a bus, headed for the funeral in Oregon and were unavailable for comment. 

People who knew Largo say that she frequently was in scrapes with the law and that she seemed headed for some sort of trouble. 

Largo was frequently in a juvenile detention center for stealing little things, or clothes or cheap jewelry, Reyes said.

"Lots of people didn't like her too much because the police were always at the house," said Ray Slim, 13, who lived across the street from the Largos before the Largos moved. 

Largos often talked about her problems and about escaping them, Reyes said. 

About a year ago, she left. 

"She was always talking about running away," her former neighbor said, "And getting into trouble."

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