Man charged in Va. gay murder worked as escort on Rent.Men

Joshua M. Hunter, gay news, Washington Blade
Joshua M. Hunter, 22, advertised his escort services on Rent.Men. Hunter is charged with first-degree murder in the death of a gay Virginia man.

Woodbridge, Va., resident Joshua M. Hunter, 22, one of two men charged with First Degree Murder in the July 8 shooting death of a gay man in Sterling, Va., has worked for at least two years as a male escort who promoted his services on the gay male meeting site Rent.Men, according to one of his former escort customers.

The former customer, who contacted the Washington Blade anonymously, provided a link to Hunter’s page on the Rent.Men website, which was still up and running as of Friday afternoon. Hunter used the name Anthony Adams on the site rather than his actual name of Joshua Hunter.

His Rent.Men page included as of Friday multiple photos of him, some in the nude, in which he is unmistakably the same person whose mug shot photo was released on Wednesday by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. The office released the photo when it announced that Hunter and Gavin C. Collins, 21, of Sterling Va., were arrested in connection with the murder of gay Winchester, Va., resident Jose I. Escobar Menendez, 24.

In its announcement, the Sheriff’s Office said Hunter and Collins were also charged with Conspiracy to Commit Robbery and two counts of Using a Firearm while in the Commission of a Felony (Robbery and Murder) in connection with Menendez’s death.

Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Michele Bowman said the investigation into Menendez’s murder was ongoing and the office would not comment on whether or not investigators were aware that Hunter worked as an escort through a meeting site catering to gay men. Bowman would say only that Menendez first met the men charged with his murder “online.”

The Sheriff’s Office has also declined to confirm or deny an assertion by one of Menendez’s friends to a local Loudoun County newspaper that the murder was a hate crime that targeted Menendez because of his sexual orientation.

The former customer of Hunter’s told the Blade he was shocked to learn that Hunter has been implicated in a murder.

“He was a gentle and friendly guest, so this just astonishes me,” he said. “Except maybe he was more of an accessory to the crime (as wrong as that is) rather than the trigger man,” the former customer said.

The announcement of the arrests by the Sheriff’s Office says that during the early morning hours of July 8, Menendez agreed to meet Collins in the area of Emerald Point Terrace and Winding Road in Sterling. It says both Collins and Hunter showed up and in the course of their encounter a “dispute occurred and the victim was shot and killed when Collins and Hunter attempted to rob him.” Collins and Hunter then left the area, taking Menendez’s car, according to the announcement.

Arrest warrants for Collins, Hunter and a third man implicated in the case, Handy N. Colindrez, 24, of no fixed address, who was charged with auto theft, accuse the three men of engaging in a conspiracy to steal Menendez’s car, identified as a 2019 Nissan Sentra. The warrants were filed in court by the Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the case.

A Criminal Complaint filed against Hunter by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office states, “Hunter and Collins communicated with the victim a planned location to meet. Upon meeting in the area of Emerald Point Terrace (Loudoun County), Collins and Hunter used a handgun to demand Menendez’s vehicle. During the commission of the robbery Menendez was shot and killed.”

Neither the Sheriff’s Office nor the charging documents filed in court so far by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office disclose whether investigators know which of the two men charged with the murder shot and killed Menendez. Under the criminal laws of most states, including Virginia, someone involved in a criminal act such as a robbery that leads to a murder is responsible for the murder even if that person did not shoot, stab, or commit another violent act that led to someone’s death.

In his page on Rent.Men, Hunter, using his escort name Anthony Adams, tells about the services he provided.

“Currently serving the DMV area (Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia),” he stated in a message. “I love meeting new people, and having relaxing and enjoyable meetings with great people! 🙂 All of my photos and statistics are recent, up to date, and accurate,” he wrote.

“I’m a very open person with no hang ups. I’m open to all genders, and am open to meeting with individuals, same sex couples, and heterosexual couples. I‘m also available for travel as well.”

His Rent.Men page states that he is available for, “Escorting, modeling, erotic massage, bodywork” and “available for videos, boyfriend experience, stripping.”

About a dozen former customers posted reviews on his page giving him glowing reviews and saying they would retain his services again.

A spokesperson for the Rent.Men site could not immediately be reached for comment.

The site states in a section describing its purpose that it “is a service for adult gay men to meet each other online and is owned and operated by RM Media GmbH of Hamburg, Germany.

“You understand and acknowledge that your use of the Site is at your own risk and that we are not responsible for any incidental, consequential, special, punitive, exemplary, direct or indirect damages of any kind whatsoever that may arise out of or related to your use of the Site, including any personal meetings or encounters you may engage in that may arise out of or relate to your use of the Site,” an “Assumption Risk” messages on the site says.

Published at Fri, 17 Jul 2020 23:40:14 +0000