30-year-old Jeremy Meeks is still riding high on the wave of Internet popularity that crested last week when his mugshot – and by extension, his piercing blue eyes and arching cheekbones – was posted on Facebook by Stockton, California, authorities.
The problem is, according to his mother, that that notoriety isn’t helping his case. So she’s trying to raise funds for her son’s defense the new-fashioned way: By asking strangers on the Internet.
Meeks’s mother, Katherine Angier, wrote on GoFundMe that her son “has a job and he was on his way to work. With no gang affiliations as per two of the charges [sic]. He has old tattoos which causes [sic] him to be sterotyped [sic]. He’s my son and I’m just trying to raise funds to help him in anyway [sic].” At three days in, the campaign has raised over $3,000 of its $25,000 goal. (When this post was first written, the GoFundMe page had Katherine Angier’s name on it. It has since been updated to “Leanna Rominger”.)
The rest of Meeks’s family isn’t amused by the attention Meeks’s mugshot has gotten online, either. “He’s a man who learns from his mistakes,” brother Bryan Varela told CBS Sacramento. “With his past history, he got out of being incarcerated and put his mind on focus to his family and started doing what he had to do.”
Meeks, who was arraigned on Friday on 11 felony counts related to firearm possession, street gang membership and parole violations, served two years in prison for grand theft in 2002. According to the San Joaquin County District Attorney, a search of the car Meeks was driving (which had two passengers in it; one of them, Terry Bailey, 23, was on probation) “yielded a 9mm round of ammunition and a small amount of what is believed to be marijuana.”
“A search of the trunk located an unregistered and loaded Springfield Armory .45 caliber XD(M) semi-automatic handgun along with two extended magazines for the firearm.” The DA did not specify who the weapons belonged to.
A Facebook page created by Angier and other friends and family of Meeks has been created, though with just over 500 likes, it’s not as nearly as popular as the presumably non-family-sanctioned fan page, which hit 170,000 likes over the weekend.
At least one person is optimistic about the online buzz surrounding Meeks: “It’s better than the attention my clients usually get,” Meeks’s public defender Sam Behar told CBS Sacramento.