Rainbow camping retreat on mountain turns violent
By Jon Johnson
Eastern Arizona Courier
Published on Friday, April 10, 2009 2:40 AM MST
A camping retreat for members of the Rainbow Family at the old Cluff Dairy Farm on Mount Graham turned violent Wednesday evening as one member was allegedly beaten with a frying pan.
The Rainbow Family is a counterculture group that has gatherings of its followers to create temporary communities. The gatherings are usually held in outdoor locales and spread a message of peace, love, harmony and community. The largest Rainbow Gatherings have attracted 30,000 people. According to a Web site dedicated to the Rainbow Gatherings, the next scheduled gathering will take place in New Mexico later this year.
According to police reports from the Graham County Sheriff's Office, a small group of Rainbow members were camping at the old dairy farm when a confrontation arose at about 10:40 p.m.
Cory Alan Joyner, also known as 2Tall, told officers he was arguing with his girlfriend, Candise Marie Olten, aka Candy, when the rest of the group got mad at them because arguing is not allowed. Joyner told deputies that another member of the group, Amanda Rudder, aka Memphis, attacked Olten with a rock. He said he attempted to help Olten and other members of the group attacked him.
Olten also told deputies Rudder had attacked her. She was found below the picnic area known as Wet Canyon by University of Arizona officer Jerry Garcia, who called Graham County deputies. The U of A has a police unit on the mountain to protect the property of the Mount Graham International Observatory.
Joyner said another member, Marc Constantine Alexander, hit him in the head with a frying pan. Joyner said he and was hit and kicked repeatedly as he fell to the ground. When he got up, Joyner said he was still mad at Rudder so he picked up a rock and broke out the rear and passenger windows of her car his on way out of camp.
Joyner began having a seizure during his police interview and paramedics from Southwest Ambulance transported him to the forest boundary line. There, Joyner was airlifted to the intensive care unit at the University Medical Center in Tucson. According to a public affairs officer from UMC, Joyner has been releaed from the hospital.
Deputies received mixed stories from the group members, who had been drinking alcohol.
Alexander told deputies he heard Joyner breaking the windows and had a physical confrontation with him. According to the police report, Alexander admitted striking Joyner multiple times but denied using anything other than his own hands.
Other members of the group stated Joyner had been the one beating up on Olten and that Joyner assaulted them when they tried to stop him.
The Graham County Sheriff's Office investigation is ongoing, and multiple assault charges and criminal damage against Joyner are pending the investigative review.
Alexander was taken into custody at the scene and was booked into the Graham County Jail on a charge of aggravated assault against Joyner.
"I don't believe I'm where I'm going, not by many a mile." -Tom T. Hall