The family and friends of a 17-year-old budding model whose vicious murder was widely broadcast on social media are hoping to keep her memory alive through the teenager’s art and her love of fashion.
Bianca Devins, who was killed last July by her friend, Brandon Andrew Clark, will be remembered this weekend at a gala in her name in Utica, New York. The Bee Gala, named for Devins’ nickname, “Bee,” will host a fashion show and exhibit the slain teen’s “completed and unfinished pieces” of artwork.
The show comes days after Clark pleaded guilty to her grisly murder. Less than a year ago, the then-21-year-old cut the Instagram star’s throat and uploaded photos of her body to Discord, an online messaging platform for gamers. He also posted the images to Instagram and Snapchat. Police arrested Clark after he attempted to slit his own throat and took a selfie with Devins’ corpse.
Investigators said Clark carried out the gruesome killing because he was jealous of another boy who had supposedly kissed Devins at a New York City concert they'd attended hours earlier.
"This is a truly disturbing case,” Adam Scott Wandt, an assistant professor of public policy at New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told Oxygen.com. “He had such an obsession with this woman that she didn’t stand a chance. He felt rejected by her and for one reason or another, he wanted to die, and he wanted her to die, and he wanted an audience for all of this.”
Prosecutors expect Clark will receive a maximum prison sentence of 25 years to life behind bars.
“There’s never going to be closure for her family but it’s just one step closer to justice,” talent agent Mae Scialdone, a mentor and friend of Devins’, as well as the gala’s organizer, told Oxygen.com. “He needs to spend his life in jail. You just can’t have a person like that not in jail for the rest of their life.”
The 31-year-old is organizing this weekend's gala in Devins' name. Scialdone, who met Devins’ shortly after the teen’s 16th birthday, said she still gets chills thinking of the moment when she learned the young model had been murdered last summer.
“I just want justice for Bianca,” she said. “When it comes to [Clark], my thought is justice.”
Authorities said that Clark’s guilty plea on Monday will at least spare the teen’s family the anguish of watching footage of Devins’ killing in the courtroom.
“Her murder was videotaped and we would have had to play that,” Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara previously told Oxygen.com. “I don’t think that would have been healthy for anybody. It sure hasn’t been healthy for myself and my assistants handling this case."
The county’s lead prosecutor called the 10-minute recording “the most disturbing video I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Now, roughly half a year after the teen’s death, those who knew Devins best are focused on pushing for her to be remembered differently.
“She would have been a famous model hands down,” Scialdone explained. “She would have gone to the top quickly. Her future was just so bright. A she was just next level in so many different ways.”
Scialdone described her former protégé as a “super sweet,” “soft spoken,” but “totally outgoing” teen with a “really beautiful smile.” She said the fashion runway portion of the Utica gala is “just another way to honor her from a different side of things.”
Devins’ was also a prolific artist, Scialdone said. Her paintings and digital art, often appearing to be self-portraits, the modeling agent said, were a form of “self-therapy” for the 17-year-old. Portraits of Devins, many featuring her signature pink hair, created by friends, family, and other artists — most being total strangers to the family — will be on display at Saturday’s gala.
Proceeds for the gala will be donated toward the Bianca Michelle Devins Scholarship Fund, Scialdone explained, which provides scholarships to prospective students working toward a degree in psychology. It was Devins’ dream to work with teenagers with mental issues, her family said.
The gala begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Utica.
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