The Short Family Massacre: Unthinkable Suspect

Holly Alexis
3 min readAug 6, 2021

[Upatoi, Georgia]

On January 4th, 2016, Robert Short placed a panicked 911 call explaining that he found his wife, Gloria Short (54), his son, Caleb Short (17), and his granddaughter, Gianna Lindsey (10), murdered. “They’ve been beaten!” he cried.

Police arrived at the scene to find all three victims severely bludgeoned to death. Gloria’s body was left sprawled out in the hallway in a thick pool of blood while Caleb was found taped and bound in the master bedroom closet. Gianna was located in the living room with the same tape around her body.

A bloody 20 pound weight was next to her which led police to believe that it was most likely the weapon used on her. An autopsy concluded that Gloria and Gianna had also been stabbed.

Robert told police that clothing, jewelry, 600 dollars in cash, and both family vehicles were missing from the home. Police concluded that this was a plan that was acted upon by more than one person. During the investigation, Caleb’s phone was searched and that is where police saw the name Javarceay Tapley (16).

He was Caleb’s close cousin who would often sleepover and spend holidays at the Short residence. Upon initial questioning, Javarceay explained that he had no clue who would want to target Caleb and his family because he was such a good kid.

After the interview, police caught onto a new lead after a worried mother called 911 to report that her son Raheam Gibson (19) was involved in the burglary and murders.

Raheam was brought in for questioning where he admitted to participating in the crime, but not before mentioning another name, Javarceay Tapley.

According to Raheam, his friend Javarceay devised a plan to rob his cousin of many valuables so he could sell them. The two boys acquired the help of a third named Rufus Burks (15) and rode their bikes to Caleb’s home on January 3rd.

Javarceay knocked on the door knowing that he could easily lure his cousin outside while Rufus stood close by and Raheam worked as a look out. As Caleb opened the door, he was ambushed with an intense beating followed by being dragged back inside the home. One by one, Javarceay and Rufus took the time to wrap tape around and beat each victim.

Javarceay continuously denied his involvement in the incident yet he was still arrested and housed in jail until his trial. While he was awaiting trial, a cellmate of his came forward to offer police some valuable information. The inmate explained that Javarceay bragged on multiple occasions about murdering three people, even saying that he would kill them again if he had the opportunity.

Javarceay was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for three counts of malice murder. Raheam was sentenced to 30 years for kidnapping and motor vehicle theft. He will be eligible for release in December of 2046. Rufus was the only one who stood trial. He was given 2 concurrent life sentences plus 15 years for one count of felony murder.



Holly Alexis

25. Sociology & Criminal Justice Major. True Crime Fanatic. Cheap Shopper. Writer. All articles are tossed together from the comfort of my couch.