Michael Gaffney is a 21-year-old man from New Jersey who has been arrested and charged with reckless manslaughter in connection to the death of 19-year-old Francis Victoria Garcia. Garcia allegedly died after she was being choked during sex with Gaffney.
Per The New York Post, court documents say Gaffney later told a friend that Garcia “wanted to be choked.”
Here’s what you need to know about Michael Gaffney:
1. Gaffney Claims to Have Met Garcia Through ‘Mutual Friends,’ Per an Affidavit
People Magazine acquired an affidavit of probable cause filed by police, in which Gaffney explained how he met Garcia: they met through mutual friends and spoke online in the week leading up to the night of Garcia’s death. The affidavit reads in part, “Gaffney and Garcia made plans to hang out with those friends as a group on the evening of [Nov.1].”
It further states that Garcia picked Gaffney up that night and they went to meet friends. “At some point during the evening, Gaffney and Garcia went to her car to hang out,” the affidavit continues, per People. “There, the two engaged in sexual intercourse for approximately 20 minutes. At some point, Gaffney placed his hands around Garcia’s neck. She subsequently lost consciousness.”
2. Gaffney’s Family Created a GoFundMe on Gaffney’s Behalf; the Fundraiser Was Soon Taken off of the Site
Shortly following Gaffney’s arrest a GoFundMe was set up to him to help with legal fees. The GoFundMe was initially created by Skye Guggino, who wrote, “During this tragic time for our community and the families of all involved, we pray for strength and peace. We are raising money so that Mike gets fair representation in a world where the media is able to spin anything to match their agenda.” She asked for donations to help him receive fair legal representation. The GoFundMe was later changed to show the creator as Samantha Gaffney, Michael’s 22-year-old sister.
The updated GoFundMe summary read, “We are raising money so that Mike gets fair representation in a world where the media is able to spin anything to match their agenda. Please donate so that Mike’s legal expenses can be offset. My brother is a great 21 year old kid. ANYONE who knows him will say so. This tragic accident is awful for everyone involved and my heart goes out to everyone.'”
The account was soon shut down by GoFundMe, though. A GoFundMe spokesperson said to online site TooFab, “I can confirm that we removed the campaign and all donors have been fully refunded because it violated our terms and conditions. It’s also important to know that the platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means funds are guaranteed to go to the right place or donors will get a refund.” The spokesperson did not explain which term the GoFundMe account had violated.
3. Gaffney Has a Musical Alias Called ‘Gaff the Reaper’
Gaffney’s Facebook reveals that the man is involved in a number of creative pursuits. At one point he ran a SoundCloud account under the alias “Gaff the Reaper.”
However, that account has since been shut down. It’s unclear when the account was disabled or shut down. His “Gaff the Reaper” alias link is still present on his Facebook, though.
4. Gaffney Designs a Clothing Brand Called ‘Frontal Clothing’
In addition to his musical pursuits, Gaffney appears to be a fledgling clothing designer. His Facebook links to an apparent clothing site run by Gaffney and called “Frontal Clothing.”
There’s one shirt available on the site, as seen in the image above. It costs $15. The description for the shirt reads, “This piece was designed by your very own Mike Gaffney. u can wear this at school, church, family gatherings any where this is a great short sleeve shirt.”
5. Gaffney’s Relatives Have Spoken Out on Behalf of Gaffney Online, Saying He Deserves to Be Considered Innocent Until Proven Guilty
The response to Gaffney’s arrest was immediate, with many online condemning him and some of his family members coming to his defense. In addition to his sister’s attempt at a GoFundMe account, one of Gaffney’s cousins rose to his defense on Facebook, as well.
“My cousin Michael was involved in an unfortunate tragic accident, please pray for him and the victim’s family,” one of Gaffney’s cousins wrote on Facebook, linking to the now-defunct GoFundMe page. In response, many wrote on that status attacking Gaffney, with one user writing, “Since when did putting your hands around a teen girls throat and choking the life out of her become an accident?”
That cousin responded, “You people are all screwed up. You are the judge and jury here I guess. I hope you never find yourself in a very public situation like this.”