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Friday, April 1, 2011

Websites pay tribute to Cates

As with most matters of social consequence these days, the murder of Kimberly Cates played out online, as well as in the community. Some of the websites have proven more lasting than others.

Within hours after their arrests, The Telegraph and other media turned to Myspace and Facebook pages created and maintained by the killers, conspirators and their friends, to glean what could be found about their background. Those profiles have all since disappeared, with the exception of Quinn Glover’s Myspace page, which was set to “private” but remains online.

Within days, Brett Houle and Michael Longver, then owners of a Manchester website design and development company, created WeAreBetterThanThis.com, on which visitors could light a virtual candle and post statements and prayers of support.

The site logged more than 12,000 messages in the first 24 hours, from all around the world, and topped out at over 25,000 before its creators took it down several months ago.

After speaking with a reporter Thursday, however, the two men decided to reactivate the website, although visitors can no longer add to it.

“The whole experience is probably one of the highlights of my digital life. None of us really expected it to do what it did,” Houle said.

After a time, however, Houle and his business partner came to believe that the site had served its purpose. They kept the domain, and preserved the content, however.

“We felt that it had become sort of salt in the wound, as Mr. Cates tries to heal. ... We decided that we’d let the Cates family move on with their life,” Houle said. “Nobody asked us to take it down.”

After speaking with a reporter Thursday, however, they decided to revive the site, and link to a newer Facebook page, similar in spirit, called “Supporting Kimberly Cates Family.”

A darker sort of support also has turned up on Facebook, with someone creating a fake profile mocking Steven Spader, a violation of the site’s policies. The profile lists him as a convicted murderer, “waiting to die” in the New Hampshire State Prison, and includes an Associated Press photograph of Spader being brought handcuffed into a courtroom soon after his arrest. The fake “Steven Spader” had 27 friends at last count.

Andrew Wolfe can be reached at awolfe@nashuatelegraph.com.