Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another NBK Murder

There appears to be another copycat murder due to the motion picture, Natural Born Killers.

Eric Tavulares was fascinated with the movie Natural Born Killers.

He told police he has seen it 10 or 20 times. He told police, according to a complaint filed Monday, July 21, 2008, that he had been watching it Friday night, July 18, the night he strangled his childhood sweetheart, 18-year-old Lauren Aljubouri.

According to the complaint: Tavulares, also 18, told police he has had known Aljubouri since the second grade and that they had been dating on and off since the sixth grade. Aljubouri, who graduated in January from Arrowhead High School in Waukesha County, got home around 10:45 p.m. Friday.

She and Tavulares lived in an apartment in the 2400 block of N. Frederick Ave., not far from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where Aljubouri planned to study graphic design. Tavulares planned to study fire science at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Tavulares told police they began watching Natural Born Killers, a 1994 movie directed by Oliver Stone in which the murder spree of two psychopathic lovers becomes a media obsession.

They stopped the movie about halfway, Tavulares said, and went to bed.

“He stated he does not recall exactly what happened next,” the complaint says, “but something caused him to switch mentally and he rolled over on Lauren Aljubouri and he began strangling her.”

Within three or four minutes, Tavulares said, Aljubouri was dead.

“I just never dreamed this could happen to my daughter and that he would ever hurt her like this in a million years,” said Lauren’s mother, Debbie Aljubouri, sobbing during a phone interview Monday night. “We’re just absolutely devastated. She had so much promise in the future, and it’s such a tragic loss.”

Debbie Aljubouri said her daughter was independent, driven and intelligent, determined to pursue her passion for the arts at UWM.

Lauren Aljubouri had worked at Hartbrook Cafe in Hartland from the time she was 15 until June, painting a mural at the business just before she finished working there, her mother said. Lauren Aljubouri graduated early and with honors from her high school, she said.

Lauren Aljubouri handled her search for colleges on her own, telling her mother that all she needed to do was attend the registration session at UWM, Debbie Aljubouri said.

“There isn’t anything that girl couldn’t do, no matter what it was, and do it well,” Debbie Aljubouri said. “She just handled everything.”

Lauren Aljubouri moved into her apartment within the past few weeks, her mother said.

She had worked at Umami Moto, a Milwaukee restaurant, for about a month, said Omar Shaikh, an owner of the business.

“She was a wonderful girl, rather quiet, but a very dependable, hard worker,” Shaikh said. “She seemed like a young, happy girl.”

Lauren Aljubouri and Tavulares had been dating steadily for the past few years, Debbie Aljubouri said.

“I knew him,” Debbie Aljubouri said. “He was turning his life around more this year, I thought.”

Tavulares has convictions for resisting or obstructing an officer, possession of an illegally obtained prescription drug and bail jumping, according to online court records.

According to the criminal complaint:

Tavulares told police that when he realized Lauren Aljubouri was dead, he jumped off her and attempted to resuscitate her.

A police officer arrived at their apartment shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday.

Tavulares answered the door.

“I did it,” he told the officer, according to the complaint.

“I can’t believe it. I did it,” he said.

The officer followed Tavulares into the kitchen. Without being questioned, according to the complaint, he again told the officer, “I killed her.”

Lauren Aljubouri was pronounced dead at the scene. Tavulares is charged with first-degree reckless homicide. He faces up to 60 years in prison.

Debbie Aljubouri said she was upset Tavulares was not charged with first-degree intentional homicide.

“I don’t understand this,” she said.

Source: "‘Natural Born Killers’ fan charged with strangling girlfriend," by Crocker Stephenson and Ryan Haggerty, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 22, 2008.

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