The fiancée of a father charged with killing a man he claims sold his daughter into sex trafficking has broken her silence to say she is “very proud of him”.
Brenda Kross spoke out a week after her fiancé John Eisenman was arrested on 29 October for the murder of Andrew Sorensen, whose body was found in the trunk of an abandoned car in Northeast Spokane.
In a press release, Spokane Police said Mr Eisenman admitted to carrying out the killing in November 2020 after he claimed Mr Sorensen, 19, sold his teenage daughter into a sex-trafficking ring.
The purported revenge killing sent shockwaves around the country, with many social media users arguing that Mr Eisenman was justified in his alleged actions despite a lack of evidence to support his claims against Mr Sorensen.
Ms Kross told KHQ she was grateful for the outpouring of support as a GiveSendGo fundraising campaign to help cover Mr Eisenman’s legal fees topped $41,700 as of Friday morning.
“John … It was something that a lot of men say they would do for their daughter,” Ms Kross said of Mr Eisenman’s alleged killing.
She called Mr Eisenman “selfless, very giving, loving and loyal”.
“He is the best father I could have ever had for my children,” she said.
“I’m very proud of John and I’m blessed to have had him in my life and I want him back home.”
Ms Kross’ words stand in stark contrast to the police account of the killing.
After his arrest, Mr Eisenman allegedly told investigators he learned his teenage daughter had been sold to a sex-trafficking ring in the Seattle area for $1,000 in October 2020, according to court records. He said he was able to “rescue” her and bring her back home.
Police said Mr Eisenman “obtained information” that his daughter’s boyfriend, Mr Sorensen, was responsible for her sale and tracked him to a trailer park in Airway Heights, Washington, in November 2020.
There, police said, Mr Eisenman “abducted” Mr Sorensen by tying him up and placing him in the trunk of a Honda Accord registered to Ms Kross. He then allegedly killed Mr Sorensen by striking him on the head with a cinder block and stabbing him repeatedly.
After the killing, Mr Eisenman ditched the car in North Spokane County, police said. It remained there until last month, when it was driven to a residential neighbourhood of Northeast Spokane by an unidentified third party who is not believed to have known there was a body in the trunk.
The body was discovered on 22 October when Dane Massie, who lives in the neighbourhood, and his friend went to check out the car to see why dogs kept running over to it. As the men approached they were met by an overwhelming stench that they traced to Mr Sorensen’s body.
Mr Eisenman was arrested for first-degree murder after police learned the car was registered to his fiancée.
He is currently being held on $1m bail at the Spokane County Jail.
Mr Eisenman’s stepdaughter, Ashleye Kross, called him a “hero” in the description of the GiveSendGo fundraising campaign, writing: “This father did the unthinkable for some of us to save his little girl from an unspeakable life that causes long term scars and years of emotional damage.
“He did what most of us as parents would do or think about doing in a situation like this. He does not belong in jail.”
Police have refused to comment on Mr Eisenman’s claim that Mr Sorensen sold his daughter into sex trafficking, and thus far no evidence has emerged to support the allegation.
Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, told The Independent that Mr Eisenman’s claim will not have any bearing on his trial even if it is proven to be true.
“Eisenman may have done what any father would do, but it is not a legal defence to murder,” said Mr Rahmani, who is the president of West Coast Trial Lawyers and is not affiliated with this case.
“Vigilante justice can’t be tolerated in a civilised society, and I expect prosecutors to handle Eisenman like any other homicide case.”
Mr Rahmani said he believes law enforcement will investigate the sex trafficking allegations but they will not affect the outcome of the trial because “the reason why Eisenman killed Sorensen simply doesn’t matter for the purposes of innocence or guilt”.
“The only hope Eisenman has to get off is jury nullification,” he added. “ That is, the jurors acquit even those the law is clear that Sorensen’s acts do not justify murder. This is a possibility when you have a sympathetic defendant and victim who is not.
“But as long as the jurors follow the law, this is an easy conviction for prosecutors because of the sheer weight of the evidence and Eisenman’s own admissions.”
Mr Rahmani said Mr Eisenman’s allegations – if proven to be true – could come into play as a mitigating factor during the sentencing phase.
“I expect a judge to sentence Eisenman to a much lower sentence than other murderers if the sex trafficking is confirmed, because of the arguably noble reasons for Eisenman’s conduct,” he said.
Mr Eisenman faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted. His next court date has not been set.